Database Concepts

A database helps store and manage information in a systematic manner. A database, such as Microsoft Office Access 2007, helps you easily retrieve and update your business data. It also helps you process information effectively to meet various business needs.

Benefits of an Access Database

An Access database helps you add new data to a database. It also enables you to edit and delete the existing data. For example, you can change the location of an item or remove information about a discarded item. It enables you to organize and display data in different views. In addition, you can share the data with other users by using reports, the intranet, or the Internet.

Components of an Access Database

The basic components of an Access database include tables, forms, reports, queries, macros, and modules. A database table stores data in rows and columns. Tables are similar to spreadsheets. However, unlike spreadsheets, tables organize data in a systematic manner. Forms, also called data entry screens, act as a user-friendly interface to work with your data. They contain various commands and help control user interactions

Reports in an Access database help present data in a readable format. A report always presents the current data in the database. You can view, print, and export a report. Queries help retrieve data from various tables and display it in a single datasheet. They also function as the record source for forms and reports. You can also use queries to perform a task with data

In an Access database, macros act as a simplified programming language and help add functionality to the database. You can use them to automate most database operations, such as opening a report, running a query, or closing the database. Modules also help add functionality to the database. Modules are written using the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming language. A module consists of declarations, statements, and procedures.

Primary Keys

In an Access database, data is stored in different subject-based tables. Access 2007 uses primary key fields to link data from multiple tables and arrange it in a logical manner. A primary key is defined as a field or a set of fields that functions as a unique identifier for every row in a table.

You must specify the primary key for a table. A unique identification number, such as an ID number, can serve as a primary key in a table. For instance, a student's unique student ID number can be the primary key in the STUDENTS table. Primary keys help speed up database operations such as querying, searching, and sorting. A primary key of a table can be a foreign key in any other table.

Table Relationships and Normalization

In an Access database, the data is stored in various tables. You need to create table relationships to relate the data in different tables. In addition, you can apply normalization rules to structure tables and ensure that you have divided the information in a logical and efficient manner in various tables.

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