How to Use Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access, or as it has been deemed recently, Microsoft Office Access is a relational database management system. It is produced and distributed by Microsoft and is a component of its well known Microsoft Office suite. It may be purchased as a separate application or in Windows Professional and other more prestigious versions of Windows OS. Essentially it amalgamates the Microsoft Jet Database Engine with a GUI or Graphical User Interface. It stores data in its own specified format derived from the Access Database engine. It can be used to import or link to information stored in Excel, Outlook, text, Paradox among others. It is generally used by Software developers to create application software or by the ordinary user to construct simple applications. This article will illustrate some of the basic uses of Access in a step by step format.

What You Will Need

  • Microsoft Access
  • A functioning computer


  1. Go to start and enter the programs menu, select Microsoft access from the Office Suit to launch the program.
  2. Once in the program select any of the Access database icons and double click to open it. This will open with the database loaded for use.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the program. It will have a few similarities with the other Office suite programs, but will also maintain a few distinguishing characteristics.
  4. The Database toolbar which is situated below the menu bar will have buttons used to carry out regular tasks including: adding “Objects”, using the “Relationships” window and exporting to office among others. The program will allow you to customize the tool bar or and use several tool bars simultaneously.
  5. The Data sheet toolbar enables the standard tasks needed for the editing of an object in Data sheet view. Once the Data sheet view is selected then the Database toolbar will automatically transform into the Data sheet toolbar.
  6. The Design toolbar enables the standard tasks needed for the editing of an object in Design View. Like the Data sheet toolbar the Design toolbar will appear once the Design view is selected.
  7. Upon launching Access no databases will be open. However the Task Pane will maintain several options, not the least of which is opening a saved database or establishing a new one. To open a new database, click on [Blank Database] displayed under [New].
  8. Within the database there are seven distinct objects: tables, forms, reports, queries, pages, modules and macros. Each object can be used by selecting it.
  9. You can create a table to organize and store information. There are a few ways to create a table in Access.
  10. A table can be created by using the Table Wizard. Go to the object window and select [New] and choose Table Wizard and click [OK].
  11. Choose the Employees options and double click on the fields that will be a part of the table. For the fields that you wish to alter in name, select [Rename Field] and enter the name of choice. Click on [OK] when all the fields are adjusted and selected to suit your purposes and then click [Next].
  12. Enter the table name in the required field and select [No, I’ll set the primary key] and then click [Next].
  13. Select the field that will the primary key form the drop down list. Additionally ensure you pick the appropriate data type, click [Next].
  14. Select [Modify the table design] and select [Finish]
  15. Exit the table by clicking [X].
  16. Another process that will be useful to learn is the relating tables. This enables queries to utilize several tables to perform its function. The two that are likely to be used are one-to-one and one-to-many.
  17. Click on the [Relationships] button.
  18. Add two tables that you wish to link, for example: tblWorkers and tblAssignments
  19. Move WorkerId from the tblWorkers and place it in WorkerId in tblAssignments
  20. Ensure the relationship was established by detecting the line that will connect the two tables. Click [X] to exit.
  21. There are many other useful functions that can be carried out in Access these are only a few.

Do’s and Dont’s

  • Experiment with Access as much as possible to develop a greater appreciation of how to use the program effectively.
  • Always save your work and ensure that all the tasks are carried out before closing.
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