We have been busy at Microsoft Press! We’re pleased to announce that another Office 2010 book has hit the shelves! Microsoft Access 2010 Step by Step (ISBN 978-07356-2692-8, 448 pages) is available for purchase.
Like the other Office 2010 Step by Step books we’ve recently published, you can expect an improved experience by accessing the practice files online rather than on a CD. You can review the table of contents and the Introduction in this previous post.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2, “Create Databases and Simple Tables.”
Create Databases and Simple Tables
In this chapter, you will learn how to
✔ Create databases from templates.
✔ Create databases and tables manually.
✔ Manipulate table columns and rows.
✔ Refine table structure.
✔ Create relationships between tables.
Creating the container for a database is easy. But an empty database is no more useful
than an empty document or worksheet. It is only when you fill a database with data in
tables (known as populating a database) that it starts to serve a purpose. As you add
forms, queries, and reports, it becomes a useful tool. If you customize it by adding a
startup page and organizing the various objects into categories and groups, it moves
into the realm of being a database application.
Not every database has to be refined to the point that it can be classified as an application.
Databases that only you or a few experienced database users will work with can remain
fairly simple. But if you expect someone without database knowledge to enter data or
generate their own reports, spending a little extra time in the beginning to create a solid
foundation will save a lot of work later. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself continually repairing
damaged files or walking people through seemingly easy tasks.
Microsoft Access 2010 takes a lot of the difficult and mundane work out of creating and
customizing a database by providing database applications in the form of templates that
you modify and populate with your own information. Access 2010 also provides templates
for common elements that you might want to plug into a database. These application
parts consist of sets of objects—a table and related forms, queries, or reports—that
together provide a complete, functioning part of a database. All you have to do is fill in
your data. If none of the templates meet your needs, you can create tables manually.
In this chapter, you’ll create a database from a template and create a table manually.
Then you’ll adjust the display of a data table to fit your needs. By the end of this chapter,
you’ll have a database containing a few tables and you’ll understand a bit about how
the tables in the databases you will use for the exercises in the remaining chapters of the
book were created.
Practice Files You don’t need any practice files to complete the exercises in this chapter.
For more information about practice file requirements, see “Using the Practice Files” at
the beginning of this book.
Creating Databases from Templates
A few years ago (the distant past, in computer time), creating a database structure involved
first analyzing your needs and then laying out the database design on paper. You would
decide what information you needed to track and how to store it in the database. Creating
the database structure could be a lot of work, and after you created it and entered data,
making changes could be difficult. Templates have changed this process, and committing
yourself to a particular database structure is no longer the big decision it once was.
A template is a pattern that you use to create a specific type of database. Access 2010
comes with templates for several databases typically used in business and education, and
when you are connected to the Internet, many more are available from the Microsoft
Office Online Web site at office.microsoft.com. By using pre-packaged templates, you
can create a database application in far less time than it used to take to sketch the
design on paper, because someone has already done the design work for you.
Using an Access template might not produce exactly the database application you want,
but it can quickly create something that you can customize to fit your needs. However, you
can customize a database only if you know how to manipulate its basic building blocks:
tables, forms, queries, and reports. Due to the complexity of these templates, you probably
shouldn’t try to modify them until you’re comfortable working with database objects in
Design view and Layout view. By the time you finish this book, you will know enough to be
able to confidently work with the sophisticated pre-packaged application templates that
come with Access.
In this exercise, you’ll create a database application based on the Tasks template. This
template is typical of those provided with Microsoft Access 2010, in that it looks nice
and demonstrates a lot of the neat things you can do in a database.
databases, and then with the New page of the Backstage view displayed, follow
1. In the Available Templates area, click Sample Templates.
Access displays a list of the templates that shipped with the program and are
installed on your computer.
2. Click the Tasks template icon.
In the right pane, you can assign a name to the database and browse to the location
where you want to store the database.
3. In the File Name box, type MyTasks.
Tip Naming conventions for Access database files follow those for Windows files. File
names cannot contain the following characters: \ / : * ? “ < > |. By default, file name
extensions are hidden, and you shouldn’t type the extension in the File Name box.
(The extension for an Access 2010 database file is .accdb. For information about this
file format, which was introduced with Access 2007, search for accdb in Access Help.)
4. Click the adjacent Browse button, and then in the File New Database dialog box,
navigate to your Chapter02 practice file folder.
You use the same navigational techniques in this dialog box that you would use in
any Open or Save dialog box.
5. With Microsoft Access 2007 Databases selected in the Save as type box,
The path to the specified folder is displayed below the File Name box.
Tip By default, Access creates new databases in your Documents folder. You can change
the location when you create each database, as you did here, or you can change the
default save folder. To specify a different default folder, click the File tab to display
the Backstage view, click Options, and then on the General page of the Access Options
dialog box, under Creating Databases, click the Browse button to the right of Default
Database Folder. In the Default Database Path dialog box, browse to the folder you
want to be the default, and then click OK in each of the open dialog boxes
6. Click the Create button.
Access briefly displays a progress bar, and then the new database opens, with the
Task List form displayed in Layout view.
Tip Below the form name is a toolbar with commands created by embedded macros.
These commands are an example of what makes this a database application rather
than a simple database. The topic of macros is beyond the scope of this book. For
information, search for macros in Access Help.
7. If the Navigation pane is closed, click the Shutter Bar Open button at the right
end of its title bar to open it. Then if any of the groups are collapsed, click their
chevrons to open them.
The Navigation pane displays a custom Tasks Navigation category.
Troubleshooting The appearance of buttons and groups on the ribbon changes depending
on the width of the program window. For information about changing the appearance of
the ribbon to match our screen images, see “Modifying the Display of the Ribbon” at the
beginning of this book.
8. In the Navigation pane, click the Tasks Navigation title bar, and then in the
category and group list, click Object Type to list all the objects in this database.
9. In the Tables group, double-click Contacts.
The empty Contacts table is displayed. You could now start entering data in this
10. Right-click the Contacts tab, and click Close All.
11. On the Create tab of the ribbon, in the Templates group, click the Application
The Application Parts gallery appears.
You can add various types of forms and several sets of related tables and other
database objects to this or any other database. These ready-made objects give
you a jump start on creating a fully functional database application.
12. Click away from the gallery to close it.
13. Continue exploring the objects that are part of the MyTasks database on
CLEAN UP Close the MyTasks database.
Several of the templates in the Sample Templates gallery and many of the templates
available from the Microsoft Office Online Web site are designated as Web databases.
A Web database is one that is compatible with the new Web publishing
capabilities of Access 2010.
If Access Services are installed on your organization’s Microsoft SharePoint server,
you can now publish a database to Access Services. Publishing converts tables to
SharePoint lists stored on the server and makes it possible to work with the database
either in Access or in a Web browser.
You can create a Web database based on a Web template or build a new one from
scratch by choosing Blank Web Database on the New page of the Backstage view.
You can also publish a regular database as a Web database, although the tables in
the database must conform to Web database requirements for publication to be
successful. Because of these requirements, if you work for an organization where
future deployment of Access Services is a possibility, you might want to consider
creating a Web database to ensure that your database can be published to Access
Services in the future.
In a Web database, you can create two kinds of objects:
● Web objects These can be created and viewed in either a Web browser
● Non-Web objects These can be created and viewed only in Access.
When you are working with a Web database from a browser, you are working with
the database on the server. When you are working with it from Access, you are
working with a local copy of the database that is synchronized with the database
on the server. For both types of objects, you can make design changes only in
Access and only when connected to the server.
These days, more and more companies have employees and clients in different
geographic locations, and more and more people are working away from company
offices. Web databases make it possible for people to access company databases
from wherever they are and from any computer, whether or not it has Access