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Database Development with Microsoft Access

So, you want to know how to use MS Access to create a powerful, flexible, business database. The first question is:

What is Microsoft Access?

MSAccess is a Database Management System. It handles data management tasks the same way as MS Word handles document management and MS Excel handles statistics ...

A database is a collection of objects that allow you to store data, organize it and retrieve it in any way you want.

What this means is that, with MSAccess you create structures called tables that allow you to organize the data so that it's easy to find later, you create forms that let you input the data into the tables and then you create reports that print selected information from the tables.

For example, if you run a store, you would create a Customers table, a Products table and an Invoices table. Then, when you open an account for a new customer you would have a Customer form to input a customer's data into the Customers table and an Order form to input the purchase information. Later, you could print any number of Sales reports, grouping and arranging the information from the Invoices, Customers and Products tables to analyze daily or weekly or monthly sales in all kinds of combinations.

To help you along, Access contains a whole series of Wizards to guide you through the process.

Course description

This MSAccess tutorial follows a step-by-step approach to the creation and development of a commercial database application.

We'll start with database modeling. That means that you have to design the database before you actually start to write it. There are several basic techniques that must be learned to ensure that the database structure will be solid. Design is an absolutely essential part of creating a database.

If you're already past the rookie stage and you want to delve deeper into the database modeling aspect, even before you start with Access, you might want to take a look at our Database design and SQL/MySQL language tutorial. In a normal sequence of courses, SQL would be the next database subject you would learn after Access. Whereas MS Access is meant for the smaller user, SQL with MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server, lets you into the domain of the power-user.

Once we're done with the design we'll develop the objects one by one and learn how to use them.

As we go along we'll use a simple application to illustrate the power of a Microsoft Access database in business. The application is a Video Rental Store and it's well suited to showing how a small businees could put into practice all these notions of management with databases.

What's next?

After this Microsoft Access tutorial, you may want to go on to bigger and better databases such as Oracle, SQL Server or MySQL. The training you get from this tutorial will qualify you for the more advanced stuff.

You may also want to look at connecting your Microsoft Access database to a Visual Basic application.

By the end of this Microsoft Access database course, you will have made a good start towards becoming a full-fledged business applications programmer.

Welcome to the club!


This may come as a shock but, if you're working with the same version of Access as was used to produce these tutorials, you are still in 2003. But that's not as bad as it sounds!

Since 2003, Microsoft has come up with Office Access 2007 and Office Access 2010. The 2007 version completely redesigned the interface and 2010 just tweaked it.

The important thing is this: the concepts of relational database design, the tables, fields, primary keys, relationships, the SQL language for queries and the VBA code behind the objects, all of that is unchanged. The interface is different, meaning that it may be easier to create forms or reports in some cases and you edit objects differently but the main fact is that the essential material that you have to learn is behind the interface anyway.

So, where do we go from here?

The Professor suggests that you study these tutorials diligently, no matter what version of Access database you are using.
Here you will learn the basics of relational databases and Access tools that will serve you well when you get to other subjects. All databases that you create or download can be used directly in later versions of the language. Every new version of Access is downward-compatible, i.e. compatible with earlier versions.

Then, go on to study our other tutorials: Office Access 2007,
followed by: Office Access 2010,
and eventually you will want to get to the more advanced: Database design with SQL and MySQL


We have many more tutorials to help you with your I. T. studies.

To learn computer programming, start with Visual Basic:
And, Microsoft Project is immensely popular with people at all levels of project management, notably in the High Tech sector: