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, and 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 enter the programs menu, and 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 the office among others. The program will allow you to customize the toolbar and use several toolbars simultaneously.
  5. The Data sheet toolbar enables the standard tasks needed for the editing of an object in the Datasheet view. Once the Datasheet view is selected then the Database toolbar will automatically transform into the Datasheet toolbar.
  6. The Design toolbar enables the standard tasks needed for the editing of an object in Design View. Like the Datasheet 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] 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 your 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 select [No, I’ll set the primary key], and then click [Next].
  13. Select the field that will be the primary key from the drop-down list. Additionally, ensure you pick the appropriate data type, and 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 their functions. 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 is established by detecting the line that will connect the two tables. Click [X] to exit.
  21. Many other useful functions 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.