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Basic Microsoft Access Data Entry Knowledge

February 03, 2010 By: lilybird Category: Software

When we use Microsoft Access, we need to store all the information somewhere. In traditional databases all the data is stored in flat files, whereas, in Microsoft Access the data is stored in tables. Access tables contain series of columns, which are called fields. So, if we build a database with contacts, we will have fields with first and last name, address, telephone number, date of birth, etc. Every table field has a data type you can enter there and this field will accept only this data type. So, if you need to enter a price, you shouldn’t use a field with text data type and use numeric data type instead. If you need to store a lot of text in the field, the better choice would be memo data type, which is perfect for storing descriptions and notes.

The most important MS Access field in the table is probably the primary key. It is used as a table identifying field. Auto number data type is the best one to use in this case. This data type will increase by one every time a new record is entered into the table. It is not allowed to change the auto number. You can and should turn the identifying field into a primary key field. It is easy to do in Microsoft Access. When you make a field the primary key, you will avoid data duplication, as it will accept only unique values. You will be able to see a small key symbol in the design view, which will indicate that it is a primary key.

If you need to enter the date of birth, it is best to use Data/Time data type. You can set an input mask, which will ensure the date is always entered in one accepted format. In the latest version of Microsoft Access, there is an attachment field, which is useful for storing documents related to the record. You can store many documents this way, but you should do it with caution because too many attachments can harm your database. Very often it is better to provide a link to the necessary documents.

We can also create relationships between tables. You can create these relationships by linking the primary key to the foreign key.

Forms, created in Access database, are usually based on tables. It is useful, because any data entered into the form will be saved to the table and the form will also display all the data contained in the table. Forms are the better ways to enter information into the tables.

Tables are probably the most important parts of the Access database that is why they need to be deigned with caution. If you create correct design and relationships of the tables, you will save yourself a lot of stress later.

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