Access 2007: Exploring an Access Database Part 1

Access 2007: Exploring an Access Database Part 1

Think about all the information you come across
in a typical day. For example, if you go shopping at a department
store for a toaster. The store’s inventory of products is information
that has to be stored somewhere, along with the price of each product.
And when you do make a purchase, the store has to be able to store the sales information
so they can keep a record of how much money they make and how the inventory is affected.
A database allows them to quickly determine how many Brand X toasters they have without
needing to count the inventory on the shelves. Even in this simple everyday life situation,
there is a lot of data. Luckily, we have databases that help us manage
this information. Databases have an enormous impact in almost
every area of our lives. Think about what is going on around you in
everyday situations and whether there might be a database at work.
For example, the supermarket is stocked with items.
The items have to be ordered, shipped, and stocked in the store.
The supermarket has to pay for the items. Then, when the customer buys the items, the
cash register looks up prices and the customer pays for products.
Where databases might be involved in that situation? What about at a restaurant? Where
does the food come from? Or the traffic lights in your city.
Who or what controls when they turn red or green? A database maintains order and structure
in our lives. Databases are created using programs such
as Microsoft Office Access 2007, which is a relational database program.
This means that the database arranges information in multiple tables, which makes maintaining
easier and allows you to do more with the information.
Let’s take a look at the Ready 2 Read database. When you start Access 2007, you will see the
Getting Started page. In the left pane you have the Template categories
including the Featured templates and the local templates, as well as the categories on Office
Online. Templates are pre-built databases focused
on a specific task. You can download and use them immediately.
Right now the Featured templates are selected, so in the center area of the screen we see
the online featured templates, and above that, the Blank Database command that we could use
if we wanted to create a database from scratch. To see templates that are part of Access,
just click Local Templates in the left pane and the screen will change.
Some of these are the same as the online featured templates, but are already part of your version
of Access. Additionally, in the right pane you’ll see
a list of recently viewed databases. From this pane, you can open an existing database,
which is what I’ll do now. I have the Ready 2 Read database on my computer,
so I’ll just click Ready 2 Read. Now we are actually looking at the database.
Let me show you around this Access database so you can become familiar with the Access
environment. Instead of traditional menus, Access 2007
has a tabbed Ribbon system that you use to navigate and use the software.
This is the same Ribbon system that is part of all the Office 2007 applications.
The Ribbon is organized into tabs. Each tab contains commands that are arranged
into logical groups. For example, on the Home tab, you’ll see that
there is a Font group that contains the font formatting commands such a font type, size,
color, alignment, and more. Unless you use keyboard shortcuts for everything,
the Ribbon is how you get the work done in Access.
Above the Ribbon is the Quick Access Toolbar. Once you’ve worked with Access awhile, you
may find that you have commands that you use more often than others.
To make it easier to use these, you can put them on the Quick Access Toolbar.
By default, the Save, Undo, and Redo commands appear on the toolbar, but you can customize
it to meet your needs. To the left of the Quick Access Toolbar is
the Microsoft Office Button. From here you have access to basic menu options
to work with files such as New, Save, Print, and more.
It is also from this menu that you can reach your Access Options.

Danny Hutson

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