How to Build a Database with MS Access

By Techwalla Computers Editor

Building a database with MS Access is not difficult, but it can be confusing. In order to build a working database, you must create the database file as well as a table to enter your information. By creating each item one at a time, you will be ready to enter your data within the hour.

Building the Database in MS Access

Step 1

Open MS Access. A box will pop up giving you options. Choose the radio button next to "Blank Access Database." Click "OK."

Step 2

Save your database. A file box will pop up asking you for a file name. Make sure you are saving your database in the location you wish, such as "My Documents."

Step 3

Type your file name, and click "Create." You will now see your database window open within the Access program.

Creating a Table Within Your Access Database

Step 1

Create a table for your data. The easiest way is to choose "Create Table in Design View." You will see this within your database window. Double-click on this choice to open.

Step 2

Define the fields you need for your data. Think of the information you need in your database. Are you creating a mailing list? Then the first field you need to define would be "Name." Type "Name" under the field name column.

Step 3

Tab over to the Data Type column. Most data you will be entering will be text. That should be the default you are seeing. If so, and you do not want to change it, tab over to Description column. Type a description of the field, such as "Customer's name."

Step 4

Push the tab key again to return to the Field Name column. Type the name of the next field you need. If you are making a mailing list, then the next field you would need would be "Street Address." Tab over and continue creating your table in the same way until all the fields you need are included. If making a mailing list, then possible fields would be Name, Street Address, City, State and Zip Code. You may also want to add fields such as "Phone Number."

Step 5

Choose a Primary Key for your table. This is for the search function of the program. This can be a customer number or the customer name. It's usually the first field in the table. Click on "Customer Name" in the Field Name column. You should see an arrow to the left of the row. Look at the toolbar at the top of the screen. Find an icon of a yellow key. Click that picture. You have just made "Customer Name" your primary key.

Step 6

Save your table. Your table will automatically ask you to save when you close it. Click on the "X" on the top right of your table. When you are asked if you want to save the table, say "Yes". A box will come up asking you to name your table. Name your table, and click "OK."

Adding Data to Your Access Database

Step 1

Open your table and enter data. You will now be back at your main Access screen where you will see your database window open. You will see your table in this window listed by name. Now you can start entering data. To open your table, double-click on its icon.

Step 2

Enter your data. Starting at "Customer Name," begin entering the data from your current mailing list. After the entry in each column, tab over until you have entered all of the information for that person. As you complete each row, another row will automatically be added below the selected row.

Step 3

Finish working, and close the program. To finish working in the table, click the "X" on the right side of the table. It will automatically save. To close the database window, click "X" on the right side of the database window. To close the program, click "X" on the upper right of the screen. Your database is finished. You can add more data to the table whenever it's needed. You can also go back to design view and add more fields if needed.