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Jan's Working with Databases

   Using Access 2007, 2010, 2013, and 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.

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!

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

Sample database

Example: Database form, MS Access
Used for data entry and viewing subreport and subform data.

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 Icon: On Site unit - using a mouse to click, double-click, drag, right click; parts of a window; moving, resizing, maximizing and 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 Icon: On Site. 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:

    resources-database.zip Icon: On Site

    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. Your computer needs to be set to show the extension part of the file's name. How to show extensionsIcon: In Site

    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

    You need removable storage for a working copy and, on a separate device, a backup copy of your documents.

    In addition, you might also want to keep backup copies at your online storage site, like Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox. 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.
      Versions of Windows from Windows XP on will recognize your USB device without your having to install any drivers. Some USB drives install their own drivers automatically.
    • 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!

    More on caring for data Icon: On Site

    Full disk How to handle a full disk Icon: On Site

  4. Software:
    : a database program.  This tutorial was written for Microsoft Access, versions 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

    Not required but useful in Project 1: IntroIcon: On Site-
        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: Page with step-by-step directions    Hands-on topic, (symbol in the menu) where you will have Step-by-Step directions.

Tip  Tip - something you might find useful to know.

Warning Warning about possible problems.

Icon: Trouble  Problem and Solution, for what to do in case of trouble

Icon: Class diskSave or retrieve a file (Icon is a USB flash device. You may be using something else)

Icon: Back Up diskbackup copy of your Class documents

Icon: Removable storage device is fullyour storage device is too full to save new documents

printer icon    Print something.

Icon: Keyboard Keyboard shortcut or method to do something

Icon: On Site Link to a page or file that is part of this site

Icon: Off Site Link to a page or file that is NOT part of this site. You must be connected to the Internet to view.

Versions: Sections that apply to a certain version will be labeled and will have background color.

Icon: Access 2007 Access 2007 
Icon: Access 2010 Access 2010  
Icon: Access 2013 Access 2013
Icon: Access 2016 Access 2016

Multiple Versions: Sections that apply to two versions but not all three will show nested background color with the most recent version showing the most color.

Icon: Access 2007 Icon: Access 2010 Access 2007, 2010
Icon: Access 2010 Icon: Access 2013 Access 2010, 2013
Icon: Access 2010 Icon: Access 2013 Icon: Access 2016 Access 2010, 2013, 2016

Turning in your work:

If you are doing these lessons for a class, your instructor may ask you to submit the printed documents for grading. Or she may ask you to submit a copy of the whole database. Be sure to find out ahead of time! There are many different ways to handle grading!

Disclaimer: All names, 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.