When determining your information needs it is important to select the correct tool for the job. Microsoft Access is the most popular desktop database in the world and is part of the Microsoft Office suite of programs. It is possible to create simple Microsoft Access databases by picking up bits of information from the internet and also books. Like anything, there are good and not so good ways of learning to use a product. Microsoft Access is ideal for a beginner to use as it has built in wizards to walk you through many aspects of creating a database. Whilst the wizards are powerful, there will be times when you want to tailor your systems and introduce new functionality. This is when you need to have more than an understanding of the basics. Take for example an invoicing system where you will have totals for unit price, sub total, grand total, package price, tax rates etc. This type of functionality will take skillful programming or development skills which the in built wizards cannot handle.
Would you want just a database for entering and displaying information or a complete integrated solution. One of the great things about Microsoft Office is that all the components can communicate with one another. You could have an Access database running on an overnight scheduler which then spits out a list of today’s sales figures into an Excel spreadsheet. That same spreadsheet could be automatically emailed overnight to the other side of the world or be available for accountants to look at in the morning. This is all possible with customization of your Microsoft Access database system.
Many find database theory difficult. There is a lot more to a Microsoft Access database than simply entering and displaying information. For example, database design involves removing the possibility of duplicate data, relating tables together, setting indexes to speed up searches as well as choosing the correct data types to hold information. How will you get answers quickly from your database? You will need to design Microsoft Access queries to extract the data from the tables. Say for example you want to know how many subscribers you got in the month of April.
It is important to have user friendly well designed screens to enter your information to your database. Screen design, whilst not exactly an art, still requires a good understanding of what does and does not look good. Reporting is another skill worth learning. The ability to get data into printed format is essential for example in producing timely management information.
Learning Microsoft Access takes time, but is worthwhile. In difficult economic times, the more computer skills a person has the better. Some of this information can be found on the internet if you are prepared to hunt around in the dark. Alternatively you could get yourself onto a comprehensive Microsoft Access tutorial class.
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