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Access TUTORIAL 2 notes.docx

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McMaster University
Computer Science
Anthony Hurst

Access TUTORIAL 2 2.1 – Table Window in Design View Guidelines for Designing Databases  DBMS can be a useful tool – only if it’s carefully designed to meet user needs When designing databases, following these guidelines:  Identify all the fields needed to produce the required information  Organize each piece of data into its smallest useful part o E.g., instead of using full name fields– store by first and last name fields to make searching easier  Group related fields into tables  Determine each table’s primary key o Composite key: two or more fields might be needed to function as the primary key  Include a common field in related tables o Use the common field to connect one table logically with another table  Avoid data redundancy o Data redundancy: when you store the same data in more than one place o Exception of common fields to connect tables – avoid data redundancy because it wastes storage space and causes inconsistencies o Inconsistency – if you type a field value one way in one table and a different way in the same table or in a second table  Determine the properties of each field o Need to identify the properties (characteristics) of each field so DBMS knows how to sore, display and process the field values Guidelines for Setting Field Properties Last step of database design – determine which values to assign to the properties  When you select/enter a value for a property, you set the property Naming Fields and Objects  You must name each field, table, and other object in an Access database  Access then stores these items in the database – using the name you supply  Table/Query name must be unique within a database  A field name must be unique within a table – but can be used again in another table. Assigning Field Data Types  Each field must have a data type – either assigned: o Automatically by Access o Specifically by the table designer  Data type – determines what field values you can enter for the field and what other properties the field will have Setting Field Sizes Field Size property: defines a field value’s maximum storage size for Test, Number and AutoNumber fields only.  Other data types have no Field Size property because their storage size is o Fixed o Predetermined amount o Or is determined automatically by the field value itself Setting the Caption Property for Fields Caption Property for field specifies how the field name is displayed in database objects  If you don’t set the Caption property – Access displays the field names as the column heading/label for a field o E.g., Field name ContractAmt can be hard to read. Setting the Caption Property to “Contract Amt” would make it easier to read the field name and work with the database Changing the Format of a Field in Datasheet View  The Formatting group on the Fields tab in Datasheet view – modify some formatting for certain types of fields  When you format a field – you change the way data is displayed, but not the values stores in the table Creating a Table in Design View  Creating a table in Design view – entering the field names and define the properties for the fields, specifying a primary key for the table and then saving the table structure Defining Fields  You enter values for the Field Name, Data Type and Description (optional) field properties and then select values for all other field properties in the Field Properties pane  Specifying “Primary key” for the Description property does not establish the current field as the primary key Specifying the Primary Key  Primary key for a table unique identifies each record  Select row to make it the current field  In the design tab, click primary key button – a key symbol appears in the row selector for the first row – indicating that row is the table’s primary key Saving the Table Structure  Last step in creating a table – name
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