The first time you opened Access, you probably realized things are laid out very differently in this program as compared with other Office programs. Rather than working with a new document or spreadsheets that consist of individual pages, Access consists of “objects” or “components.”
In order to get the most out of Access and your databases, it’s important to understand how each object works and, more importantly, how it relates to the other Access objects.
Access tables are the building blocks of any relational database. All of your data is stored in the tables. Tables look like mini-spreadsheets and can be used for entering and editing data as well as sorting, filtering and otherwise viewing your data.
Figure 8. Sample Table
Since tables are the backbone of your database, it’s worth your time to really understand how tables are structured and how they relate together. There are several individual sections in each of the Access 2003 courses that contain key information for learning how to work effectively and efficiently with tables.
Queries can be used for multiple purposes including pulling out data that meets specific parameters or totaling groups of related data.
Figure 9. Query Sample
Because large amounts of data are often stored across multiple tables, you can use queries to join related data together and view the data in smaller, related subsets. Additionally, data can be viewed and edited in a Query view which mimics the table spreadsheet-like view.
Each query is based on one or more underlying tables.
Like tables, Forms can be used to view and edit your data. However, Forms are typically used to view the data in an underlying table one record at a time.
Figure 10. Form Sample
Forms are great for less experienced database users who need to enter and edit the information stored in the database because it limits the amount of information that a user sees at one time.
Each form is based on an underlying table or query.
Reports are great when you need print specific information from your database. Data can’t be edited in Report view, but it can be viewed and grouped in a multitude of different ways.
Figure 11. Report Sample
Each report is based on an underlying table or query.
Macros are a set of steps that run behind the scenes in your database. Macros are great for adding automation to your database.
For instance, a fairly common use of a macro is to stop the printing of a report that contains no data. Macros also work well when you need to display a message box to the user that contains instructions or warnings when less experienced users are working with the data.
Figure 12. Macro Sample
Each macro typically performs an action on a specific database object or field and consists of both actions and arguments.
Modules are typically reserved for those with a programming background as these are written in Visual Basic and really require knowledge of this specific programming language.
Figure 13. Module Sample
With modules, you can create very detailed automation for specific tasks such as automating an import or export procedure.