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The accompanying CD-ROM contains ready-to-use sample databases so that you can work the book's exercises as you read and even experiment on your own.
Unit I: Creating a Database
- You, the Reader
- How the Book Works
- How the Book Is Organized
- Part I: Creating a Database
- Part II: Working with Information in the Database
- Part III: Printing Reports
- Part IV: Multitable Databases
- Icons Used in This Book
- Using the Dummies 101 CD-ROM
- Send Us E-Mail
Unit II: Working with Information in the Database
- Unit 1: Getting Started
- Running Access
- Getting Access up and running
- Using the Database Window to See What's in the Database
- Viewing a Table
- Using Menu Commands and Toolbar Buttons
- Exiting Access
- Unit 1 Quiz
- Unit 1 Exercise
- Unit 2: Trusting a Wizard to Create Your Database
- Using Your Magic Wand to Create an Address Book
- Filling Out Forms
- Typing in a record
- Typing in some more records
- Cruising around the table
- Using the Side Door into the Database
- Peering around at your forms
- Nosing around in your tables
- What about that other stuff?
- Printing All That Data
- Unit 2 Quiz
- Unit 2 Exercise
- Part I Review
- Part I Test
- Part I Lab Assignment
- Step 1: Create a database with the Database Wizard, using the Household Inventory template
- Step 2: Enter data into the database, using the Household Inventory form
- Step 3: Enter data into the Household Inventory table, using a datasheet
- Step 4: Preview each of the reports and print them out
Unit III: Printing Reports
- Unit 3: Entering and Editing Records in the Database
- Duplicating and Editing Entries
- Fancy Data-Entry Moves
- Copying values from one field to another
- Using combo boxes and radio buttons
- Undoing Mistakes and Changing Views of a Form
- Oops! Fixing a mistake in a field
- Using a form as a datasheet
- Deleting Unwanted Information
- Finding a Record to Look At, Edit, or Delete
- Finding a specific record
- Finding records that contain a word or phrase
- Unit 3 Quiz
- Unit 3 Exercise
- Unit 4: Selecting Information from a Table
- Creating and Saving a Query
- Making a query by using the Simple Query Wizard
- Opening a query and editing its datasheet
- Choosing Which Records to Include
- Copying a query
- Changing the design of a query
- Designing Your Own Query
- Starting with a clean slate
- Choosing a range of names
- Looking for missing information
- Sorting the Records in a Query
- Deleting unwanted fields
- Sorting names into order
- Unit 4 Quiz
- Unit 4 Exercise
- Unit 5: Copying Your Old Data into Access
- Copying Data from That Database into This One
- Communicating with Accountants: Importing Data from Spreadsheets
- Turning a Sow's Ear into a Silk Purse: Copying Text Files into Access
- Using an Append Query to Merge Your Data
- Unit 5 Quiz
- Unit 5 Exercise
- Part II Review
- Part II Test
- Part II Lab Assignment
- Step 1: Repeat the Lab Assignment in Part I
- Step 2: Import the Household Inventory table
- Step 3: Append the new table to the Household Inventory table
- Step 4: Review the information in the database
Unit IV: Multitable Databases
- Unit 6: Roll the Presses: Printing from Access
- Checking It Out
- Preview before you print
- Telling Access about orientation and margins
- Customizing Columns to Improve Your Datasheets
- Changing column widths
- A little more sprucing up
- Printing the Datasheet
- Printing one copy
- Printing multiple copies
- Print the results of a query
- Sorting Datasheets, Sort Of
- Unit 6 Quiz
- Unit 6 Exercise
- Unit 7: Printing Reports: Getting It on Paper
- Printing an Existing Report
- Opening a report created by the Database Wizard
- Opening a report from the database window
- Printing a report
- Making a Columnar Report
- Running the Report Wizard
- Making a Report with Selected Records, Groups, and Totals
- Choosing which records to include
- Making the report
- Printing Mailing Labels
- Unit 7 Quiz
- Unit 7 Exercise
- Part III Review
- Part III Test
- Part III Lab Assignment
- Step 1: Open the Camelot Directory 7 database
- Step 2: Create a query that selects everyone who lives in the town of Shalott
- Step 3: Create a report that prints the names, street addresses, and phone numbers of
- everyone who lives in Shalott
- Step 4: Print the new report
- Unit 8: Creating Multitable Databases
- A Seminar in Database Design
- Why use related databases?
- Key fields: links between databases
- Forbidden relationships: many-to-many
- Eight steps for database design
- Looking at a Multitable Database
- Looking at the tables
- Looking at the rest of the stuff in the database
- Looking at Relationships without Getting All Emotional
- A window on relationships
- How are these two tables related?
- Unit 8 Quiz
- Unit 8 Exercise
- Unit 9: Using Multiple Tables in a Query
- Where on Earth Do You Start?
- Choosing field lists
- Using Multiple Tables with the Design Grid
- Including calculated fields
- Including fields from both tables
- Sorting the results and omitting fields
- The Importance of Being Joined Correctly
- Unit 9 Quiz
- Unit 9 Exercise
- Unit 10: Changing the Database to Meet Your Needs
- Changing Fields in a Table
- Adding fields to a table in Design view
- Looking at the new, improved table
- Adding a Related Table
- Making a table of instruments
- Setting up the lookup
- Changing the Fields in a Query
- Changing the Design of a Form
- Making a copy of a form
- Adding fields in Design view
- Fixing the way the cursor moves in your form
- Changing the Design of a Report
- Unit 10 Quiz
- Unit 10 Exercise
- Part IV Review
- Part IV Test
- Part IV Lab Assignment
- Step 1: Open the Camelot Directory 7 database
- Step 2: Create a new table with one text field, Country, and name the table Countries
- Step 3: Change the Country field in the Addresses table so that it appears as a
- combo box, with a list of countries from the Countries table
- Step 4: Look at the Addresses table in Datasheet view to see how the combo box looks
- Step 5: Change the Addresses form so that the Country field appears as a combo box
- Step 6: Display the Relationships window and create a relationship between the Addresses
- and Countries tables
- Step 7: You're done!
- Appendix: Answers
- Part I Test Answers
- Part II Test Answers
- Part III Test Answers
- Part IV Test Answers
In this unit, you learn how to start up Access and how to look at data in a table. You'll poke around in a few corners and peek behind the scenes at the design for a table.
You may already know that Access is a database program, so what's a database? A database is a collection of data, but so is almost anything -- a to-do list, an address list, a checkbook, a budget, or a letter. What makes a database special is that the information is arranged according to a fixed structure that makes the information easy to select, sort, display, and print in a variety of formats. A database is made up of a series of records,which are like the index cards that make up an address list. Each record contains information in the same format. In an address list, each record contains information about one person: name, address, and other facts. Each individual piece of information -- such as the first name, the last name, or the street address -- is called a field (see Figure 1-1). A bunch of records together is called a table.
An Access database can contain one table or more. For example, a database used for a bookstore may contain a books table, with one record for each book; a publishers table, with one record for each publisher; and a customers table, with one record for each customer. With the information in these tables, a bookstore owner can easily find out which customers buy the most books, which books sell the best, which publishers are the most popular, which authors sell the least, and a host of other useful facts, depending on the types of information included in each table.
After you have created an Access database that contains at least one table, you can enter records in the table, make changes to (edit) the records in the table, delete records you don't want anymore, sort the records in various ways, and print your data out in a variety of formats, including columnar reports, forms, summaries, mailing labels, and form letters. Reports are what make a database program like Access worth using to keep track of your address list or other information. You'll learn how to create and print reports in Unit 7.
A database management program such as Access is a general-purpose program, designed for working with almost any type of information in many different ways. For example, you can set up an address database to replace your card file, a wine cellar database with information about each bottle in your cellar, or a bookstore inventory database with information about each title that your store sells. You may be familiar with your library's database of circulating items, which you use to identify, locate, and borrow books.
Many people use spreadsheet programs, such as Lotus 1-2-3 or Microsoft Excel, to store lists of records. Some spreadsheet programs have database capabilities, but they aren't designed to do as much as a database program. For example, you can use 1-2-3 to store an address list, and you can enter, edit, delete, and sort the records, but printing mailing labels or form letters is difficult and tedious. Spreadsheet programs do not think in terms of tables, records, and fields but rather in terms of cells(the basic unit of a spreadsheet), and they don't have built-in commands to work with a table record by record. You'll be glad you're using Access for your database!
To see databases, tables, records, and fields for yourself, run Access and take a look around a database that comes on theDummies 101 CD-ROM. In this unit, you will open a database that contains a list of the toys that the Lexington Toy Company, a toy manufacturer, plans to introduce. Stay tuned for specific instructions in Lesson 1-1!
You can start up Access in several different ways:
No matter which way you start Access, you get the same program!
When you get Access running (as you will later in this lesson), you see the Access window, which is pictured in Figure 1-2. Table 1-1 lists the parts of the Access window and what they do.
|Table 1-1 Parts of the Access Window|
|Title bar||The title bar reveals the astounding news that you're running Microsoft Access. Whoopee.|
|Minimize button||Click it to minimize (iconize) the Access window.|
|Maximize button||Click it to expand the Access window to take up the entire screen.|
|Restore button||After you maximize the Access window, click the Restore button to return Access to its usual window.|
|Close button||Click it to exit Access.|
|Menu bar||Click the words on the menu bar to choose the commands that you use to control Access. You'll find out more about commands in Lesson 1-4.|
|Toolbar||Click these buttons for quick shortcuts to frequently used commands.|
|Database window||This window shows information about the database that's open -- see Lesson 1-2.|
|Status bar||Look at it for information about what you're doing. When nothing is happening, you see the message Ready.|
Before you get Access up and running, make sure that you see the Windows 95 desktop on-screen (that's what you usually see when you first run Windows 95).
Follow these steps to get Access going:
The computer needs a few minutes to start up and (especially) for Windows 95 to come to life. Relax while you contemplate the clouds on the Windows 95 start-up screen.
A menu appears above the Start button.
You see a list of programs that you have installed, as well as a list of additional menus that contain even more programs. Exactly what appears on your menus depends on what you've installed. (You may notice that if you just hold the mouse pointer over one of the menus on the Start menu, the menu pops up all by itself. So you don't have to press that mouse button if your finger is tired.)
Access runs, and you see a dialog box asking whether you want to create a new database or open an existing database (see Figure 1-3). The Open an Existing Database option is already selected (a little black dot appears in its button). The box at the bottom of the window lists the databases you've used recently, if any.
Don't worry -- you've got a database to open. You installed a bunch of sample databases when you installed the Dummies 101CD-ROM that came with this book.
You see the Open dialog box shown in Figure 1-4. This dialog box looks just like the Open dialog box used by every other Windows 95 program, so if you've used other programs, it should look familiar. Access looks in the My Documents folder on your hard disk (unless you've told Access to look elsewhere).
When you installed the files from the Dummies 101 CD-ROM, they were copied to the Dummies 101 Access folder, which is in the My Documents folder on your hard disk. If you chose to install the files in a different folder, skip Step 6 and switch to the directory that contains the files.
Access looks in the folder and lists the database files it sees.
The Toys database opens, and you see its database window, as shown back in Figure 1-2.
Now Access is running, and a database is loaded, ready for you to use it. Wow! You are ready to take a look around.
While Access is running -- or any other program, for that matter -- don't turn off your computer. No, your computer won't collapse into a pile of shrapnel, but Windows 95 and your programs can get confused if you turn off the computer while they're running, and your programs can leave garbage lying around on your hard disk. Exiting Windows 95 before turning the computer off is important: See Lesson 1-5 for how to exit Access and Windows 95.
Yikes! What is Access doing?
If someone has customized your version of Access, a database may automatically open and display a form when you start up Access. If your copy of Access opens a database without your telling it to, talk to someone in charge of the computers at your organization. Ask him or her to create an Access icon on your Windows 95 desktop that starts Access without doing anything else.
Is your mind buzzing? Are you seeing stars? If so, take a quick break. If you plan to be away from your computer for long, skip to Lesson 1-5 and follow the instructions to exit Access first.
When you are ready to continue with Lesson 1-2, follow the instructions in Lesson 1-1 to start Access and open the database again. If you are running Access with another database open, close that database and open the Lexington Toys database by choosing File-->Open from the menu bar.
The database window shows you what's in your database. Because you can open only one database at a time, you see just one database window, entitled Lexington Toys : Database. Along the top of the database window are six (count 'em) tabs, with the six kinds of things that live in an Access database:
Dummies 101: Access For Windows 95 doesn't teach you about creating macros and modules -- these features are used primarily by programmers. If you absolutely must learn about them, finish the lessons in this book and then run out and buy Access Programming For Dummies, by Rob Krumm (IDG Books Worldwide, Inc.).
Here's how to see what's in the Lexington Toys database (if the Lexington Toys database isn't open, start Access and open the database first):
When the Tables tab is selected, the database window lists the tables in the Lexington Toys database. This database contains two tables: Manufacturing Plants (which contains one record for each plant that the Lexington Toy Company owns) and Toys (which contains one record for each product that the Lexington Toy Company plans to introduce).
The database window lists the queries in this database, including an alphabetical listing of toys and a listing of toys for less than $25.
You see a list of the forms in this database. The Toys database contains just one form, also named Toys, which is used for editing and viewing the records in the Toys table. (You'll use it in Lesson 1-3.)
The database window lists the reports in this database.
Now you know how to look around a database to see what's inside. In the next lesson, you'll see what a table looks like and use a form to see its records.
If you need to stop, skip ahead to Lesson 1-5 to find out how to exit Access. But come back soon!
All these tables, queries, forms, and reports are well and good, we hear you saying. But where's the data? It's about time to see what's inside a table.
Access has two ways to show you the records in a table: datasheets and forms. In a datasheet, each record appears in a row, and each field appears in its own column. In a form, the records and fields are arranged in whatever way the form designer set up the form. You'll learn how to use forms in Lesson 2-2.
When you look at a table as a datasheet, you're in Datasheet view. When you open a form to see the information in a table, you're using Forms view. (Logical enough!) Here's how to see the records in Datasheet view (if the Lexington Toys database isn't open, start Access and open the database first):
You see the tables in this database: Manufacturing Plants and Toys.
Alternatively, you can double-click the table name. Either way, Access displays the records in the Toys : Table window, as shown in Figure 1-5.
You can tell which record you are working on because a right-pointing triangle appears in the leftmost column of the row. You start at record 1.
That is, click the Close button (the one with an X) in the upper-right corner of the Toys window. Don't click the Close button in the upper right of the Access window -- clicking it would close the whole Access program! Clicking the Close button on the Toys window closes only the Toys window.
You see the database window again. Actually, the window has been open all this time, waiting for you to come back.
Access opens the Toys form, which displays just one record of the Toys table, as shown in Figure 1-6.
At the bottom of the Toys form are the controls that tell you what record you're looking at and that let you move from record to record. They look like the controls on a VCR, so just pretend that you're fast-forwarding through a tape of last night's reruns.
You move to the next record in the Toys table. If you feel like it, click the Next Record button over and over until you've seen all nine records in this table. You can tell which record you are on by the record number at the bottom of the Toys window. Also, when you get to the last record in the table, the Next Record button stops working (and turns gray, to tell you that it's no longer available).
To see the records in a table, choose the table and click the Open button in the database window. You see the records in the table in a datasheet -- that is, in columnar format. If that table has a form (which the Lexington Toys database does), you can use the Forms tab to open a form that displays the data in the table.
The Access window is a happening place. Menus and buttons are just waiting to be clicked. Table 1-2 lists the words on the menu bar and what each is good for. You'll use many commands from the menu bar in the lessons in this book, but what the heck, why not just run the mouse pointer over the menu bar and see what you have to look forward to? If you click a word on the menu bar, a drop-down menu of additional commands appears. Press Esc if you don't really want to use any of the commands.
Just below the menu bar is the toolbar. Each button is a shortcut to a command that the folks at Microsoft thought you'd be using frequently. If the picture (icon) on the button doesn't make any sense, position the mouse pointer on that button, and a small label, called a ToolTip, appears to help you out.
In many cases, Access provides three ways to do one task. For example, to print something, you can
|Table 1-2 Browsing the Menus|
|File||The File menu is where you open and close documents, import data from other places, print, send your masterpiece to someone who will appreciate it, and, most important, save it. Our favorite part is the list of recently opened Access databases at the bottom. You don't need to remember where you put the database you worked on yesterday because it's right at the bottom of the File menu, waiting to be clicked.|
|Edit||The Edit menu is where you come to cut, paste, copy, and delete stuff. What you see are some keyboard shortcuts you can use to call up that function instead of using the mouse. Rodney's favorite, because he uses it so much, is Ctrl+Z, which undoes the last thing you typed.|
|View||You control the appearance of your window from the View menu, including which parts of the database you want to look at.|
|Insert||The Insert menu lets you insert something new into the database.|
|Tools||The commands on the Tools menu don't fit nicely into one of the other categories. The commands include a spell-checker and a command that displays a diagram of the table in the database.|
|Window||Every time you begin work on a new piece of the database, a new window appears. Eventually, your Access window looks like an Oriental carpet warehouse on sale day. The Window menu can help you get around this mess by tidying up all the windows into some sort of order. You can also select a window that you want to go to but can't see because it's on the bottom of the pile.|
|Help||Microsoft has put together a gazillion pages of online documentation, so you may as well take advantage of it. After you finish this book, you'll know the right questions to ask and the right keywords to search for.|
Click the buttons on the toolbar to use them. For most buttons, no further instructions are required. Some buttons have a downward-pointing-triangle button to their right. This little button is called a list button; when you click the list button, a tiny list appears from which you can choose a command.
Now that you know how to use menu bar commands and toolbar buttons, you can see the information in the Toys table in another format and print out a report. If the Lexington Toys database isn't open, start Access and open the database first.
Follow these steps:
You see the list of reports that have been defined in this database.
Access opens the report in its own window. However, the report is too big to fit in the report window, so you see only the upper-left corner of the report.
That is, click the Maximize button in the title bar of the report window (not the one on the Access title bar). The report window expands to take up the entire inside of the Access window (see Figure 1-7).
If you don't have a printer or don't feel like waking up the person in the next cubicle, skip this step and the next one.
The Print button is the leftmost button, featuring a little picture of a printer with paper sticking out the top. Access prints the report.
Yes, you could click the Close button, but we want you to see a menu or two. Another good way to close a window in Access is to press Ctrl+W.
You return to the database window. It is maximized because Access thinks that you still want windows to expand to take up the whole Access window.
The Restore button pictures two overlapping squares. In the upper-right corner of the Access window, you now see sixbuttons. The top three (which are at the right end of the title bar) control how big the entire Access window is -- leave those three buttons alone. The bottom three (which are at the right end of the menu bar) control how big the report window is within the Access window. Click the two-squares button in the lower set of buttons, the ones on the same row as the menu bar.
The database window shrinks back to its normal size.
You can use toolbar buttons and menu commands to display items from the database, like a report, and to do things with them, like printing.
Opening a different database
What if you are running Access and have one database open, and then you decide to open a different database? No problem! You don't have to exit Access to switch databases. Instead, make sure that you're looking at the database window, choose File-->Open Database from the menu bar, click the Open button on the toolbar (it's the second button from the left when you are looking at the database window), or press Ctrl+O. You see the Open dialog box shown in Figure 1-4. Choose the database you'd like to use. When Access opens the new database, it closes the database you were using before.
As usual, you've got a choice of ways to get out of Access. The most important thing is to exit Access and Windows 95 before you turn off your computer. You can exit Access by using any of these methods:
Here are steps for exiting Access and, if you're done working, Windows 95 so you can turn off your computer. If the Lexington Toys database isn't open, start Access and open the database first.
It's the rightmost button on the title bar, the very topmost and rightmost button in the Access window, the button with an X on it. Access goes away, and you return to the Windows 95 desktop or to whatever other programs are running.
Go right ahead! Just come back soon to take the quiz at the end of this unit.
Windows 95 asks exactly what you want it to do when it shuts down. It suggests Shut down the computer, although you also have the option of restarting Windows 95, restarting in DOS, or restarting and logging in as a different user (if you're on a network).
Windows 95 tells you when you can power off the computer.
Congratulations! You've learned how to run Access, open a database, look around in it, see the records contained in a table, and print information from a table. While you were at it, you learned how to use Access's menu bar, toolbar, and the database window. Nice work! Now you're ready for -- yes, you guessed it -- the Unit 1 Quiz!
For each of the following questions, circle the letter of the correct answer or answers. Remember, more than one answer may be correct for each question.
A. A piece of furniture on which you put your computer.
B. A motion to stop talking about a particular topic, according to Robert's Rules of Order.
C. A collection of information.
D. A set of records, like a stack of index cards or other paper forms.
E. Something that is stored in an Access database.
A. Word-processing document.
D. Graphics file.
E. Bank account.
A. Tables, queries, forms, reports, macros, and modules
B. Tables, chairs, stools, couches, lamps, and beds
C. Huey, Dewey, Louie, Donald, and Daisy (oops -- that's only five)
D. Records, CDs, videotapes, audiocassettes, and diskettes
E. Facts, figures, opinions, estimates, guesses, and lies
A. Click the Tables tab in the database window, click the table name, and click Open.
B. Click the Tables tab in the database window and double-click the table name.
C. Click the Forms tab in the database window, click the name of a form that displays data from the table, and click Open.
D. Click the Forms tab in the database window and double-click the name of a form that displays data from the table.
E. Click the Reports tab in the database window and double-click the name of a report that includes data from the table.
A. Prints the contents of the current window
B. Prints a report, form, or datasheet, depending on what window you have selected
C. Ejects a blank page from your printer
D. Turns on your printer
E. Prints the Gettysburg Address
A. The Mayor of Munchkinland
B. The Cowardly Lion
C. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North
D. The Scarecrow
E. The Tin Woodsman