How to Use Microsoft Access 2003

Level of difficulty: Easy

Microsoft Access 2003 is a relational database management program. It is bundled with the Microsoft Office Suite 2003 and sold as a standalone product. It is generally used to create, open, and edit databases. It uses a graphical user interface combined with the Microsoft Jet Database Engine. Macros can also be used to automate certain tasks.

Materials Needed:
- Computer
- Windows OS
- Microsoft Access 2003
Step 1
Launch the Microsoft Access 2003 program. This can be done by clicking an icon on the desktop or choosing it from the list of All Programs.
Step 2
To create a new database, simply click on the Blank database link located on the right side of the screen. If this pane is not visible, click on the 'File' link in the menu bar and choose 'New'. Choose the 'Blank database' option. This database will need to be saved immediately. A dialog box will open to allow the user to choose the location and file name of the database.
Step 3
Once the database has been saved, users can select the objects that can be added to it. Users can start the database by adding a Table. This can be done by using the Design View, the wizard, or by simply entering data.
Step 4
When using Design View to create a Table, users need to start by naming each field. Users can then define the fields by a Data Type column located beside the Field Name one. The options available for the field definition are 'Text', 'Memo', 'Number', 'Date/Time', 'Currency', 'Yes/No', 'OLE Object', 'AutoNumber', 'Hyperlink', and 'Lookup Wizard'. Once the Data Type has been chosen, users can further select other definitions for the field. This can be done by accessing the Field Properties area of the Design View window. A third column in Design View is Description, which allows users to add comments for each field.
Step 5
A primary key needs to be assigned for the table. This stores the value for each row in the table. It is also used to identify the records saved in the database. To do so, click on the field name that will serve as the primary key and click the 'Primary key' button on the toolbar (the one shaped like a key). A key icon will also be added to the field name on the chosen primary key. To set multiple primary keys, choose the first field and hold the Ctrl key while selecting the others. After all the desired fields are selected, click on the 'Primary key' button.
Step 6
Save the created table by going to 'File' on the Menu bar and selecting 'Save' from the drop-down menu. Users can also click on the 'Save' icon on the toolbar. A dialog box will appear asking users to enter the Table Name. Click 'OK' after the proper name has been entered.
Step 7
To make changes to a saved table, simply open the database that stores it. Go back to 'Design View' by clicking its button in the program window. Users can point the cursor to the field to be changed to edit its contents. A field can be added by going to the end of the table and typing in a new field definition. Users can also delete fields by highlighting the field, its definition and the description column, then pressing the 'Delete' key.
Step 8
Users can then add data to the created table. Switching to the Datasheet view can be done in three ways. Users can simply go to the Database window and double-clicking on the table to be used. Users can also select the table and click the 'Open' icon on the toolbar. From the Table design window, users can simply click the 'Datasheet' button in the Table design bar. This icon appears like a number of cells in a spreadsheet. Users can then simply click on the cell where they want to enter, edit, or delete data.
Step 9
Once the tables and fields have been created, users can now create relationships between them. Go to the Database window by accessing the Tools drop-down menu and selecting Relationships. This will open the Show Table dialogue box. Select a table that will be included in the Relationship and click the 'Add' button. Continue doing so until all the desired tables have been added. Click on the 'Close' button to continue to the Relationships window.
Step 10
On the Relationships window, select and drag the desired fields. This is often the primary key of the primary table dragged to the other tables. To select more than one field from the primary table, hold down the Ctrl key while selecting the desired fields. Drag all fields to the other tables.
Step 11
The Edit Relationships window will appear next. This will list the related tables and the related fields on the tables. These fields have to contain the same data types. Click on 'Create' to generate the relationship.
Step 12
A query can also be created. These are objects added to the database so that users can view, change, and arrange the information stored in the tables. These can be created by using Design View or a user-friendly wizard. Design View allows users to get data from Tables or other Queries. Just select the 'Tables' or 'Queries' tab and select the desired information from the list. Users will then be taken to the Design view to specify the queries for each of the tables.