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MS Access: Getting Started


In this MS Access series we will be using a 2010 version of Access. Please keep in mind that versions 2003, 2007, and 2013 are very similar to 2010 but some of the controls may look different or be located in different places.


In this post we will go over:

  • How to open MS Access
  • Create a blank database (DB) and save it
  • The general controls available to you that we will use in the next few tutorials

  1. Open Microsoft Access and you will start on a screen that looks like the below.
  2. Click on New in the left panel if your screen does not look like this
  3. Click Blank database if it is not already selected
  4. On the right panel, choose the name you want for your database and where you want to save it to.
  5. Click Create


Your database may open with a table called Table1 already created. Go on ahead and close this by either right clicking on the tab and selecting close, or click on the gray “X” on the far right.


Home Tab:

Your Home tab is your default tab in Access. If you have used any other Microsoft programs before, you will likely recognize most of the options here. All options on the home tab are currently grayed out but will be usable once you start making objects (tables, queries, forms) in the database.

The controls on the home tab allow you to:

  • Change the view type of the table, query, or form you have selected
  • Copy and paste data or database objects
  • Sort and filter your data
  • Refresh the tables and queries in your database
  • Format the data or controls in your tables and user forms


Create Tab:

The create tab is where you will generally go to make anything in your database.

Avoiding specifics for now, this tab allows you to create:

  • Tables – Houses your information
  • Queries – Selects, filters, and/or combines information from your tables
  • Forms – Provides a user interface to interact with your database
  • Reports – Similar to queries in that they select and summarize information but Reports tend to run off of the work a query has already performed
  • Macros – A set of Access commands or VBA code that run via user input to perform a series of processes automatically


External Data Tab:

The external data tab allows you to import and link your database with other sources of information. For example, if you had a list of information in an Excel spreadsheet, you could link or import information and work with it within Access. The possibilities for what you can connect to here are really endless as it can range from an Excel Spreadsheet, a Corporate data warehouse, or a website.

Types of Data Connections:

Linking allows you to continually have the most up-to-date information in your database. If you link to a list on a SharePoint site and then go to that site to make a change to the data, that change will be reflected in your Access Database.

Importing provides a static copy of the information at the time it was imported.


Database Tools Tab:

This tab provides a series of tools to analyze your database’s efficiency, clean and repair the database data and structure, and move information to other databases and data warehouses. This tab will not be used much during this series and can be disregarded for now.


Up Next we will go over how to create a table, fill it with data, and run a query on it.

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