Access: Introduction to Databases

Access: Introduction to Databases


Databases
are all around you. Have you ever waited at the doctor’s office
while the receptionist punched in your information? Or asked a store employee to check their system
for a special item? Then you’ve seen a database in action. The
truth is, they’re so useful, you see them all the time. With Microsoft Access, you can manage your
own database – to suit the needs of your business, or maybe the company you work for. “But what exactly is a database?” Well, it’s a collection of information – or
data – that’s stored on a computer, allowing you to enter, access, and analyze it in a
way you never could on paper. Let’s think about that. Before computers, what sort of paper records
do you think the doctor’s office kept on file? Certainly a list of patients and their contact
information also their medical history, and a list of past appointments. That’s how databases work, from the simplest
to the most complex. They’re basically a collection of lists – not on paper, but on your computer,
where programs like Access make it possible to organize your data, make it searchable,
and so much more. Let’s take a look. Say you’re a hard-working amateur baker. You
might decide to keep a database of all the cookies you know how to make, and the people
you make them for – your friends and family. A simple database, because it only contains
two lists. If you were a professional baker, your database
would contain more. You’d have products and customers, and other things to keep track
of, like prices, sales units, and a list of orders. “Does Access actually keep these things in
a big, long list?” Not quite. Instead, it uses tables (like the
ones in Excel) to list things in a little more detail. Take this example from the amateur
baker’s database. It lists friends and family, but also important
information like who has a nut allergy in the rest of the table. So. If a database is essentially a collection
of lists stored in tables – and you can build tables in Excel – why Access? Why do you need
a database at all? Let’s compare. While Excel is great at storing and organizing
numbers, Access is better at analyzing and connecting other types of data; for example, names and descriptions, or your
friends and their favorite cookies. The databases you’ll be working with in Access
can actually understand how different lists and their contents relate to one another.
We call this a relational database – for its ability to understand relationships – and
it’s really what sets Access apart. Let’s think about what that means while we
go back to our amateur baker’s database, and build a third list to keep track of batches
of cookies and who they’re for. It’s easy to see the relationship here – all
I did was pull Dwane from this list, and Shortbread from here. Access can see and use that relationship too,
but Excel can’t. All of these things are completely unrelated
as far as Excel is concerned. That means you wouldn’t be able to pull from
one list to another. Eventually, you’d find yourself typing the same thing over and over,
every time you needed to refer to Dwane or your shortbread recipe, or Dad and chocolate
chip. In short, Access thinks more like you. It recognizes that the items in these three
lists are connected. That makes entering, searching, and analyzing data so much easier
– whether you have two lists or twenty. Less to type, less to keep track of. Even the most complicated tasks can be made
simple and user-friendly once you understand how Access and databases work.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “Access: Introduction to Databases

  1. I just finished a class for Access. It was terrible. All I got out of it was terminology and anxiety about having to use Access in the future. That cost me roughly $1,500. Thank you for the free, better-than-college education!

  2. This was a great video and tutorial. I'm a grad student leaning about data management systems and the trainings provided were not as nearly as useful as this one. The only thing I wish is if you all can create a tutorial video showing how to create a database from scratch and not from a pre existing database. If anyone have any ideas on videos for creating database from scratch please send the link to my email at [email protected] thank you

  3. Thank you for your compliments. We typically create tutorials for beginners and intermediate users so we do not go very in depth with our Access tutorials. I hope you are able to find helpful information elsewhere! ^Jess

  4. Very beautiful and wonderfully easy explanation of how data bases work and of how Access and Excel are different. Great job. Keep up the excellent work!

  5. That was amazing I love how simplistic you made the video. You told all the important information without any fillers. Again great job.

  6. This is a very good start to provide a basic understanding of databases and the difference between Excel and Access. However, I think it is also worth mentioning that Access (and other database programs) are designed to allow sharing in a much more reliable way that Excel allows. If you've ever shared an Excel workbook, you can appreciate the pain involved. Sharing a data table with Access is much simpler, more transparent, and more reliable.

  7. I just came across this while searching Microsoft Access 2010 introductory videos for my Intro to Software Applications. I like the approach taken to explain Access. I plan on including the link for my students to watch. Great job, I've been teaching Microsoft Office 2010 for several years, too bad I just found it now. Do you also have a series for Microsot Office 2013?

  8. Microsoft #Access can be difficult to understand. Hopefully this introductory video on the popular 2010 version will help clear up any confusion you may have about using databases.

  9. It´s a great great tool, I have learned by 0!!! Thanks a lot for your contribution, Well done. If I can help you in something, stand by me… 😉

  10. I am very sorry to say that your speed of speech is so much fast that we
    here at south Asian student cannot follow you during the lectures. It
    is humbly requested that your lecture pace may be made at least 50%
    slower for those whose mother tongue is not English. This applies to
    most of the other lecturers found on the internet. The students start to
    listen with passion but the lecturer's speed of speaking is so much
    fast that students leave the lecture after a few minutes. Kindly do the
    needful and oblige. Thanks.

  11. A fantastic, easy-to-follow and very interesting tutorial. Thanks a million! Your videos are outstanding. I love the graphics. Superb job!

  12. My lecturer just made me watch this video twice. Thanks very much. Also, a girl in my class asked me to point out that it's spelled "Dwayne"! Thanks Obama!

  13. Nice introduction! I'm definitely intrigued and want to learn how to use this for my job. I think it will help a lot with all of our data!

  14. I have to watch the entire tutorial for my Theories & Apps/Digital Tech class. I'm glad the videos aren't brutally boring like some similar tutorials are.

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