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The Excel® Analyst's Guide to Access® by Michael Alexander

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Chapter 2. Access Basics

When working with Access for the first time, it is tempting to start filling tables right away and querying data to get fast results, but it's important to understand the basics of the relational database concept before pounding away at data. A good understanding of how a relational database works will help you take full advantage of Access as a powerful data analysis solution. This chapter covers the fundamentals of Access and methods to bring data into the program.

Access Tables

Upon opening any existing Access database, you notice that the Database window, shown in Figure 2-1, contains a task pane on the left. Using the topmost dropdown box, change the navigation category to All Access Objects. You will get six sections. Each section represents one of the six database objects: Tables, Queries, Forms, Reports, Macros, and Modules. The Tables section is appropriately at the top of the list because it is the precise location where your data will be stored. All other database objects will refer to the tables in your database for data, whether asking questions of the data or creating reports based on the data. This section covers the basics to get you working with Access tables.

Table Basics

One way to think of a table is as a collection of data concerning a specific type of entity (such as customers, branches, transactions, products, and so on). You want each of these entities to have its own unique table. Among the many advantages to storing your data using ...

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