Microsoft Access Databases – What Are Access Objects?

An Access database contains what are known as objects.

These are tables, queries, forms, macros, reports and code.

At the very least you would need a table in order to create a database.

Tables

The table holds any information you enter into the database. Think of it as a container for data. The table will have columns, for example first name, surname, address1, town, city, zip code.

Each table will have a row or series of rows. Depending on your information needs you may have more than one table. In an invoicing system you may have one table containing customer information and another that contains sales information.

The table is probably the most important object in your database. The table will also have an index. The index is used to make searching easier. Tables can be linked other tables via their key fields.

The table can be opened in design view or datasheet view. Design view is where you will create the table and define the columns, indexes etc. Datasheet view is where you can enter data into the table.

Forms

The form is a way of presenting the data. A user may interact with the form by typing in information or amending or removing information. Forms are screens for inputting information to and displaying your information from tables.

Forms can be bound to a record source such as a table or a query. In order to save data it has to be bound to one of these objects. The form will contain controls such as a text box for entering data or a label for captions.

You can also have a sub form that sits within the main form. Typically a sub form is used to show multiple records. A form can have no data at all. For example a menu form may simply have a few buttons which navigate to other parts of the system. Typically a sub form will be used in a one to many relationship situation. For example one customer may have many sales.

Queries

A query asks questions of your database and gives answers. It will locate information based on whatever you ask it to do. You may for example decide that you want to find all customers who live in Los Angeles. The query would give you the answer and you could create a report or form based on this answer.

Queries are based on tables and you can combine tables in your query to bring you the answers. It is also possible to edit data in a query and the underlying table will change.

There are a variety of queries available to create. For example you may decide to create a query that updates all customers to have a 10% discount. Queries offer a fast way to manipulate data and can be saved and run whenever required.

Reports

Although we can use a form for inputting information, reports are what we use for output. The output is sent to the printer.

A report can be based on a table or a query. Similar to forms and sub forms, we can embed a sub report within a main report.

Macros

A macro is an action or set of actions that perform tasks. A macro can be used in conjunction with a button to open a form or report.

Macros in Access are quite powerful and offer the ability to among other things to transfer data to a spreadsheet and run queries.

Module

This is where you can write your own program code to control Access. Macros are great, but offer no proper error checking and will not prompt you for what to do next.

Anything you do in a macro can be done in programming code and you will get more control. However programming takes time to learn and may not be needed for simple applications.

Summary

Mastering the workings of an Access database requires an understanding of the objects it contains. You will probably make use of forms, tables, queries and reports as a beginner. As you progress you may find you want to add more power to your database to suit your business needs. At this point you may wish to explore macros and code.

I hope you enjoy the video that accompanies this written tutorial

Thank you for reading


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