Access for Windows 95 for Dummies


This plain English reference helps the user grasp Access basics to develop a database quickly. Covers creating tables, creating from, time-savers and more-all for the newest version of Access!
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This plain English reference helps the user grasp Access basics to develop a database quickly. Covers creating tables, creating from, time-savers and more-all for the newest version of Access!
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568849294
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/1995
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents

You Don't Need to Be a Nerd to Use This Book
Sneaking a Peek at What's to Come
Part I: Which Came First: the Data or the Base?
Part II: Truly Tempting Tables
Part III: Finding the Ultimate Answer to Everything (Well, Not Really)
Part IV: Turning Your Table into a Book
Part V: Wizards, Forms, and Other Mystical Stuff
Part VI: The Part of Tens
Appendix: Installing Access 95
What the Funny Text Means
Finding Points of Interest
Setting Sail on the Voyage

Part I: Which Came First: The Data or the Base?

Chapter 1: The 37-Minute Overview
In the Beginning, There Was Access 95 (But It Wasn't Running Yet)
Opening an Existing Database
What's All This Other Stuff?
Finding Candy amongst the Grass Clippings
Making a Few Changes
Reporting the Results
Saving Your Hard Work
The Great Backup Lecture
Making a Graceful Exit
Chapter 2: Finding Your Way around Like a Native
Making Sense of the Sights
Windows Shopping for Fun and Understanding
The database window
The datasheet window
The form window
The query window
Belly up to the Toolbar, Folks!
Menus, Menus Everywhere (and Keystrokes that Work as Well)
Playing with the Other Mouse Button
Chapter 3: Calling the Online St. Bernard and Other Forms of Help
When in Doubt, Press F1
Answer Wizard
The Whatzis Toolbar Button
Your Modem Knows More than You May Think
It's on the Tip of My Fax
Talking to a Human

Part II: Truly Tempting Tables

Chapter 4: Designing and Building a Home for Your Data
Database Terms to Know and Tolerate
Data (your stuff)
Fields (homes for your stuff)
Records (the homes on one block)
Table (the blocks of a neighborhood)
Database (a community of neighborhoods)
Frolicking through the Fields
A Smattering of Fields to Get You Started
Flat Files versus Relational Databases: Let the Contest Begin!
Great Tables Start with Great Designs
It's Finally Time to Build the Database
Creating Tables at the Wave of a Wand
Building Tables by Hand, Just Like in the Old Days
Chapter 5: Indexes, Keys, and Relationships: Why You Care
Indexing Your Way to Fame, Fortune, and Much Faster Queries
Primarily Keying up Your Table
Divulging the Secrets of a Good Relationship
Linking Your Tables with the Relationship Builder Thingie
Chapter 6: New Data, Old Data, and Data in Need of Repair
Dragging Your Table into the Digital Workshop
Adding a Little Something to the Mix
Changing What's Already There
Kicking Out Unwanted Records
Recovering from a Baaaad Edit
Chapter 7: Making Your Table Think with Formats, Masks, and Validations
Finding the Place to Make a Change
To Format, Perchance to Better See
Text and memo fields
Number and currency fields
Date/time fields
Yes/No fields
What Is that Masked Data?
Using the Input Mask Wizard
Making a mask by hand
Validations: The Digital Breathalyzer Test
Chapter 8: Making Your Datasheets Dance
Seeing More (or Less) of Your Data
Changing the column width
Changing the row height
Reorganizing the columns
Hiding a column
Freezing a column
Fonting Around with Your Table
Giving Your Data the 3-D Look
Chapter 9: Table Remodeling Tips for the Do-It-Yourselfer
This Chapter Could Be Hazardous to Your Table's Design
Putting a New Field Next to the Piano
Saying Good-bye to a Field (and All of Its Data)
A Field by Any Other Name Still Holds the Same Stuff
Reorganizing Things for a New Look

Part III: Finding the Ultimate Answer to Everything (Well, Not Really)

Chapter 10: Quick Searches: Find, Filter, and Sort
Locating Records: "Toto, Find My Ruby Slippers"
Finding first, finding next: Oh Toto, have we found them?
Continuing the Search: Where in Oz could they be?
Finding a Match: Whose slippers are they, really?
Casing for clues: "Ruby Slippers," or "RUBY slippers"
Sorting Out Life on the Planet
Filtering Finds Records with Something in Common
Filter by Selection
Filter by Form
What to do when good criteria go bad
Chapter 11: Make a Simple Query, Get 10,000 Answers
On Your Way with Advanced Filter/Sort
Sorting things out
Adding selection criteria
Operators and other flying monkeys
Applying the filter
Sweeping up the debris: clearing and deleting
Save me, Toto!
Finding Elusive Answers with a Well-Placed Query
Using Top Values: Who IS the top lion in the forest?
Run, Toto, Run!
Toto, Can the Wizard Help?
Looking Ahead
Chapter 12: Searching a Slew of Tables
Queries Using Multiple Tables
Calling on the Wizard
Selecting the type of summary
Setting the criteria
How many wizards are there, Toto?
Adding tables to the grid
Which Table Am I Using?
Joining Your Tables in Holy Matrimony
Using Auto-Join
Creating a joined connection
Changing the Join
Adding Records to Tables
Chapter 13: Lions AND Bears? Lions OR Bears? Oh, my!
Comparing AND to OR
Finding Things Between Kansas AND Oz
Multiple ANDs: AND Then What Happened?
Are You a Good Witch OR a Bad Witch?
AND and OR? AND or OR?
Counting the Lions, Tigers, and Bears
Chapter 14: Teaching Queries to Count
Totaling Everything in Sight
Grouping the Suspects
Counting the Good Count
Select 'em, Then Count 'em
Counting with Crosstab
Does It All Add Up?
There's More to Life than Sum and Count
Chapter 15: Automated Editing for Big Changes
A Simple Calculation
Bigger, Better (and More Complicated) Calculations
Making Access 95 ask
Working with words
Help with Expressing Yourself
Chapter 16: Action Queries
Quick and Easy Fixes: Replacing Your Mistakes
Different Queries for Different Jobs
You're Outta Here: The Delete Query
Making Big Changes

Part IV: Turning Your Table into a Book

Chapter 17: The Model-T Report: It's Clunky, but It Works
The Report on Reports
Getting started
Determining the type
Using Columnar AutoReports
Previewing your printing
Laying out your pages
Using Tabular AutoReports
Labelling the Wizards
Using the Chart Wizard in Your Report
Chapter 18: Wizardly Control and Multilevel Reports
Anatomy of a Report
The Wonderful Report Wizard
More groups! More groups!
Setting the size of groups
Sorting out the details
The home stretch
Chapter 19: It's Amazing What a Little Formatting Can Do
Strike Up the Bands
Formatting This, That, These, and Those
Colorizing your report
Moving things around
On the border
Terribly terrific text
Taking a Peek
AutoFormatting Your Way to a Beautiful Report
Everybody Get in Line!
Creating your own lines
Breaking pages
Sprucing Up the Place with a Few Pictures
Passing Your Reports around the (Microsoft) Office
Chapter 20: Grouping Ducks and Apples (and Counting Them, Too)
Everything in Its Place
A section of your own
Changing the section's size
Fine-Tuning the Layout
Filling in Those Sections
At the head of the class
Controlling the words
These feet were made for summing
Page numbers and dates

Part V: Wizards, Forms, and Other Mystical Stuff

Chapter 21: Making Forms That Look Cool and Work Great
Tax Forms and Data Forms Are Very Different Things
Creating a Form at the Wave of a Wand
Mass Production at Its Best: Forms from the Auto Factory
Ultimate Beauty through Cosmetic Surgery
Taking a form into Design view
Moving fields
Adding lines and boxes
Changing the field tab order
Chapter 22: If Love Is Universal, Why Can't I Export to It?
Importing Only the Best Information for Your Databases
Translating file formats
Importing or linking your files
Sending Your Data on a Long, One-Way Trip
Chapter 23: The Analyzer: Your Data's Dr. Freud, Dr. Watson, and Dr. Jekyll
It Slices, It Dices, It Builds Relational Databases!
Documentation: What to Give the Nerd in Your Life
Let the Performance Analyzer Work on Someone Else's Tables

Part VI: The Part of Tens

Chapter 24: Ten Timesaving Keyboard Shortcuts
Select an Entire Field -- F2
Insert the Current Date -- Ctrl+; (semicolon)
Insert the Current Time -- Ctrl+: (colon)
Insert a Line Break -- Ctrl+Enter
Add a New Record -- Ctrl++ (plus sign)
Delete the Current Record -- Ctrl+- (minus sign)
Save the Record -- Shift+Enter
Undo Your Last Changes -- Ctrl+Z
Open the Selected Object in Design View -- Ctrl+Enter
Quit for good -- Alt+F4
Chapter 25: Ten Common Crises and How to Survive Them
You Built Several Tables, but Put Them in Different Databases
You Type 73.725, but It Changes to 74 by Itself
The Case of the Missing Database
You're Almost Completely Sure That's Not the Question You Asked
And When You Looked Again, the Record Was Gone
The Validation that Never Was
You Can't Link to a FoxPro or dBASE Table
You Get a Key Violation While Importing a Table
Try as You Might, the Program Won't Start
The Wizard Won't Come Out of His Castle
Chapter 26: Ten Tips from the Database Nerds
Document as if Your Life Depends on It
Don't Make Your Fields Way Too Big
Real Numbers Use Number Fields
Better Validations Make Better Data
Use Understandable Names
Take Great Care When Deleting
Keep Backups
Think First and then Think Again
Get Organized / Keep It Simple
Know When to Ask for Help
Chapter 27: Ten Sights to See in Your Copious Free Time
Programming for People Who Don't Program
Serious Programming for Techies
Integrating Access 95 with Other Programs
Enlisting the Helpful Lookup Wizard
Advanced Query Wizards Do Esoteric Things
If You Think Forms Are Cool Now, Just Wait Until You See This!
Go into Desktop Publishing with Access 95 and Word 7
Watch Excel and Access 95 Conspire to Produce Statistics
Dancing in the Streets and Shouting "OLE"
Mailing Stuff Directly from Access 95

Appendix A: Installing Access 95

Appendix B: Problem-Solving Basics


Reader Response Card

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First Chapter

Chapter 8
Making Your Datasheets Dance

In This Chapter

  • Adjusting column width, row height, and more
  • Seeing the datasheet in a whole new font
  • Changing the background

It's pretty boring when your new datasheet looks just like every other datasheet. Where's the creativity in that? Where's the individuality? Where's the life, liberty, and pursuit of ultimate coolness?

Granted, Access 95 is a database program, and databases aren't generally known for being the life of the party. But that still doesn't mean you're trapped into a monotonous world of look-alike datasheets. This chapter explores the tools at your disposal to turn even the most dreary datasheet into a slick-looking exposition of your data.

This entire chapter focuses on datasheet tricks -- things to do when you're working with information in a datasheet. These tricks work with datasheets from both tables and dynasets, so use them to spruce up every datasheet in sight. If you haven't heard about dynasets yet, don't worry. They're covered in Part III.

Seeing More (or Less) of Your Data

First on the datasheet tune-up list is fiddling with the look of your datasheet. There's plenty to fiddle with, too. At first blush, your datasheet looks pretty mundane, much like Figure 8-1. To perk it up a bit, you can change the column width, row height, and column order, and you can lock a column in place while the others scroll around it. Heck, you can even make columns temporarily disappear.

Each following section explores one of these techniques. You can fix one thing (like changing the column width) or a number of things -- it's your choice. Each adjustment is independent of the others. Plus, these changes don't affect your actual data. They make the data appear differently on-screen, but they don't change the underlying data at all.

Most of the commands work from the mouse itself, but some send you back to the menu bar. If a command is in both places, it works the same either way.

Changing the column width

Even though Access 95 is pretty smart, it still has some trouble figuring out how wide to make a column. In fact, it usually just gives up and sets all the column widths identically, leaving some far too wide and others way too small. Pretty wimpy solution for a powerful program, if you ask me.

Setting a new column width is a quick operation. Here's what to do:

  1. With your table in Datasheet view, put the mouse pointer on the vertical bar to the right of the field name (see Figure 8-2).
  2. The mouse pointer changes into a bar with arrows sticking out of each side.

  3. Click and hold the left mouse button while moving the mouse appropriately.
  4. To make the column wider, move the mouse to the right. To make it smaller, move the mouse left.

  5. When the width is just right, let up on the mouse button.
  6. The column is locked into its new size, as Figure 8-3 shows.

    Tell Access 95 to save the changes to your table, or all of your hard work will be lost forever. The program automatically asks about saving changes when you close the table.

Changing the row height

Access 95 does better in the row height department, leaving enough room to separate the rows while displaying plenty of information on-screen, but there's still room for improvement. If you have large fields in your table, changing the row height lets you see more data in each field while still displaying the same number of fields on-screen.

Like changing column width, adjusting the row height takes only a couple of mouse clicks:

  1. While viewing your table in a datasheet, put the mouse pointer in the far left side of the window on the line between any two rows in your spreadsheet (see Figure 8-4).
  2. The mouse pointer changes into a horizontal bar with arrows sticking out vertically.

  3. Click and hold the left mouse button; then move the mouse to change the row height.
  4. Move the mouse down to make the row higher. Move it up to squash the row and put the squeeze on your data.

  5. When the row height is where you want it, release the mouse button.
  6. Access 95 redisplays the table with its new row height (see Figure 8-5).

Reorganizing the columns

When you laid out the table, you put a lot of thought into which field came after which other field. Most of the time, your data looks just the way you want it on-screen, but occasionally it helps to stir things up a bit.

To move a field to a different place on the datasheet, use these steps:

  1. Click on the field name of the column you want to move; then click and hold the left mouse button.
  2. The whole column darkens, with a smaller box at the bottom of the column, and the mouse pointer changes to an arrow (see Figure 8-6).

  3. Drag the column to its new destination.
  4. As you move the mouse, a dark bar moves between the columns, showing you where the column will land when you release the mouse button.

  5. When the column is in place, let up on the mouse button.
  6. The column, data and all, moves to the new spot (see Figure 8-7).

Hiding a column

This is one of those features that seem totally unimportant until the moment you need them, and then they're worth their weight in gold. If you want to temporarily not display a particular column, just hide the little fellow. The data is still in the table, but it doesn't appear on-screen. Too cool, eh?

To hide a column, follow these steps:

  1. With your table in datasheet view, right-click on the name of the column to hide.
  2. The whole column goes dark and a pop-up menu appears.

  3. Select Hide Columns from the menu (see Figure 8-8).
  4. {Poof!} The column vanishes.

To hide more than one column at once, click and drag across the names of the columns you want to squirrel away, then select Format-->Hide Columns from the main menu.

When you're ready to bring back the temporarily indisposed column, use these steps:

  1. Select Format-->Unhide Columns from the main menu.
  2. This displays a small dialog box listing all of the fields in the current table. The fields with a check mark in the box next to them are already displayed.

  3. Click in the check box next to each field you want to see on-screen again, then click Close (see Figure 8-9).
  4. Depending on the number of fields in the list, you may have to scroll around to find all of the fields.

Freezing a column

If you have a lot of fields in a table, they don't all fit in the window. As you scroll from one side of the table to the other, fields are constantly appearing on one side and disappearing from the other. What if you want to keep looking at a column way over on one side of the table while looking at fields on the other?

The secret is to freeze the column in place. This locks a column into the left side of the window so it just sits there while you scroll merrily back and forth through the table. Of course, there's an unfreeze step to go along with it -- you don't want your tables catching cold, do you?

Here are the steps to freezing a column:

  1. Right-click on the column you want to freeze.
  2. The column turns dark, and the ever-anticipated pop-up menu appears.

  3. Select Freeze Columns from the menu.
  4. The column is now locked in place. You can now scroll back and forth through your table with impunity (and you don't have any restrictions, either).

To unfreeze the column when you're done, select Format-->Unfreeze All Columns from the main menu.

Making design changes in Datasheet view -- danger, Will Robinson!

So far, everything in this chapter changes the look of the datasheet without doing anything to the table underneath it. Moving or hiding columns, changing column widths, adjusting row heights -- all of these are innocuous settings that simply make your digital world a prettier place.

The story changes with the Insert Column, Insert Lookup Column, Rename Column, and Delete Column options on the right-click pop-up window. These choices actually change the structure of your table, so go slow and treat them carefully!

Rename Column changes the field name. Insert Column adds a new column on the datasheet, which translates into a new field in the table. Insert Lookup Column starts the Lookup Wizard and helps you insert a column for data pulled in from another table. Delete Column is pretty self-explanatory (remember that Access 95 undoes only the last thing you did, so don't delete anything until you're sure it's the right thing to kill).

You're altering the table's structure with these options. Have a look through Chapter 9 for more about these options and how to use them safely. (It's that important.)

Fonting Around with Your Table

Being your basic, business-oriented program, Access 95 displays your table in a basic, business-oriented font. You're not stuck with that font choice forever, though (and it's a good thing, too, because it's boring). You have control over the font, style, and even the color your data appears in. It's up to you, so why not live on the edge and try a new look on your table?

These settings apply to the entire table, not just a particular row or column.

To change the font, style, or color of your table, follow these steps:

  1. With the table in Datasheet view, select Format-->Font from the main menu.
  2. The font dialog box elbows its way onto the screen.

  3. Click on your choice from the Font list on the left side of the screen (see Figure 8-10).
  4. Access 95 previews the font in the Sample box on the right side of the dialog box.

    It's best to pick a TrueType font instead of the other options. TrueType fonts have the little double-T symbol next to them in the list.

  5. Click on the preferred style in the Font style list.
  6. Some fonts may not have all of the common style options (normal, bold, italic, and bold italic). It depends on how the fonts were loaded onto your system. For more about fonts and font files, check out Windows 95 For Dummies (IDG Books Worldwide).

  7. To select a different size, click on a number in the Size list.
  8. As with style, not every font is available in all sizes. If you chose a TrueType font back in Step 2, this isn't a problem because TrueType fonts are scaleable (Windows simply makes them whatever size it needs).

  9. If you want a new color, click in the arrow next to the Color box and pick your favorite from the drop-down menu.
  10. You're almost done -- now's a good time to look at the Sample box and see if your choices look good together. If they don't, click Cancel and start over with Step 1.

  11. Click OK to apply your font selections.
  12. The datasheet now displays your table in its new digs (see Figure 8-11).

Giving Your Data the 3-D Look

This final change is purely cosmetic, but even tables like to feel good about how they look. Access 95 gives you a couple of cool looking, three-dimensional options for your datasheet. If there's a solution to the problem of boring-looking datasheets, this must be it (because it serves no other purpose).

To turn your datasheet into a cool work of art, follow these steps:

  1. Select Format-->Cells from the menu bar.
  2. The Cells Effects dialog box pops onto the screen.

  3. For a cool, 3-D look, click either the Raised or Sunken radio buttons in the Cell Effect area (see Figure 8-12).
  4. The Sample box previews your selection. (I think Raised both looks cool and is easy to work with, but that's personal preference.)

    If you don't want the gridlines (the lines separating the rows and columns) cluttering up your datasheet, leave the Cell Effect set to Flat and click the Gridlines Shown check boxes so they're blank.

  5. Click OK when you're done.
  6. The datasheet changes according to your selections, just like Figure 8-13.

    Unless you're really good with color combinations, leave the color settings alone. Since I regularly attempt to wear stripes and plaid together, I let Access 95 handle this on its own.

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