Working with Databases

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
Did you want: Working with Databases: Access 2007,2010,2013,2016

When you have a lot of data to organize, putting it into a database can be a big help. The right software makes it easy for you to add new data, to edit existing data, to sort data, and to group your data into useful forms and reports.

These lessons will introduce you to some simple types of databases in Project 1. The later projects will teach you about relational databases, using Microsoft Access.

Common relational database management systems (RDBMS) include Microsoft Access, Paradox, mySQL, DB2, Oracle and SQL Server.

Sample database

Example: Database entry form, MS Access

Working with an existing database may not strain your brain too much. Creating a database, however, requires a lot of planning and thinking and adjusting. This is definitely more difficult than writing a report in Word!

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Databases

Before you start...

Project 1: Intro
    Text databases
    Spreadsheet databases
    Flat file databases
    Relational databases
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 2: Access Basics
    InterfaceTo subtopics
    Getting StartedTo subtopics
    Access ObjectsTo subtopics
    RelationshipsTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: Tables & Queries
    Designing TablesTo subtopics
    Designing QueriesTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 4: Forms & Reports
    Import/Export/LinkTo subtopics
   Designing FormsTo subtopics
    Designing ReportsTo subtopics
    Special Forms & ReportsTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics 

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What you need

  1. Skills: Do not attempt the lessons in Working with Databases until you have the following skills-

    • Basic Windows skills: The skills covered in the Windows unit - using a mouse to click, double-click, drag, right click; parts of a window; moving, resizing, maximizing, & minimizing a window; scrolling; using the folder tree; creating and managing folders; naming files; opening a program; opening and saving files; using dialog boxes; using Help; printing.
    • Typing skills: You need to be familiar with the computer keyboard and have some skill in typing to do these exercises in a reasonable amount of time.
    • Basic editing skills: The editing skills covered in Working with Windows: select text and objects, copy and paste, delete, move text and objects by dragging.
    • Recommended: Experience with spreadsheets like Excel and formulas.
  2. Resource files: Files that you need to create the documents in the projects are provided for download in a zip file and are also available online separately. Your instructor may have put these files on your computer already.

    To get these resource files, Left click click on the following link to download a zipped set of files:

    A download dialog will appear. Choose "Save this program to a disk" if you want to unzip later. Choose Open to let Windows or your own zipping software unzip the files. Choose a folder on your hard drive for the extracted files.

    To extract later, find the zipped file in an Explorer window and double-click it. Windows or your own zipping software will then unzip it.

    Duplicate files: Some of the resource files have duplicates in different Office file formats. Be careful to choose the file that the directions tells you to use.

    Also in the resource files is a Word doc that lists what objects are created in each project and exercise, WhatIsCreated.doc

  3. Removable File Storage: USB drive or several floppy disks

    You need removable storage for a working copy and a backup copy of your documents.

    If you have a computer of your own or a network drive folder, keep an up-to-date copy of your work there, too. Start good backup habits early and you won't kick yourself later when your files are lost or corrupted.

    USB drive: Recommended
    Called by many different names, including flash drive, flash pen,  thumb drive,  key drive, jump drive, and mini-USB drive. A USB drive is an excellent choice for storing your class work. Your data is much safer on a USB drive than on a floppy disk. Just don't lose it!

    Before you buy:
    Check the following for both the classroom computer AND your home computer-

    • Computer does have USB ports.
    • You are allowed to use one of the USB ports.
    • You can physically get to the USB port.
      Possible port locations: back of computer, front of computer, edge or base of monitor, keyboard, or on a separate USB hub which has several USB ports
    • Operating system will recognize a USB drive.
      Windows 2000, XP, and Me will automatically recognize your USB drive. For Win95 and Win98, you must install drivers for each brand of device that you are using.
    • Physical arrangement of USB ports - Are they side by side? one above the other?
      Some USB drives are wider or thicker than others and may not fit all port arrangements, especially if a neighboring USB port has something plugged into it. Many USB drives come with a short extension cable. Very useful!

    If you do not have a computer at home, consider buying 2 USB drives so that you can use one to keep a backup copy of your work. Don't lose them both at the same time!

    Floppy disks: Cheaper; Not as reliable; May be too small!

    WarningDatabases can quickly get too big to fit on a floppy disk, especially if images are included in records.

    You will need at least Floppy disk  Floppy disk two blank 3" floppy disks at a time to store the documents you create. One you will use to save your documents as you work and on the other you will make a backup copy of the first disk. Keep a third blank floppy on hand as a spare in case of floppy disasters.

    You'll need more than 2 floppy disks if you don't delete any of the documents you create.  After you have put more than one document on the floppy, keep that spare blank floppy disk handy. It is no fun at all to do a lot of work and then find that the changed file won't fit on the disk!

    Floppy disks are cheap and handy but it is easy to lose the data on them from magnetic damage and physical damage when you are carrying them around all day. Be careful and have several backup copies.

    More on caring for floppy disks and caring for data

    Full disk How to handle a full disk

  4. Software:
    : a database program.  This tutorial was written for Microsoft Access, versions 2002 and 2003.

    Not required but useful in Project 1: Intro-
        Text editor such as Notepad- to work with the example text database and exercise
        Microsoft Excel - to work with the example spreadsheet database
        Microsoft Works - to work with the example flat file database


icon-footprint A footprint marks the hands-on topics, where you are to follow Step-by-Step directions.

Icon: Problem Marks directions for what to do in case of trouble, in Step-by-Step directions.

Tip Marks a tip - something you might find useful to know.

Warning Marks a warning about a potentially serious problem.

Icon: Access 2002 Access 2002

Icon: Access 2003    Access 2003

Disclaimer: All names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers used in the lessons and exercises are fiction! Any similarity to a real person, business, or place is a coincidence.
The author cannot be held responsible for any damage to hardware, software, or data resulting from your attempts to follow the directions.

Lessons Next

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Copyright 1997-2012 Jan Smith   <>
All Rights Reserved

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~~  1 Cor. 10:31 ...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  ~~

Last updated: 30 Apr 2012