Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Web Design & Development > Usability

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

A Brief Introduction to Access

In case you are not very familiar with the workings of Microsoft Access, let's take a few minutes to go over the basic tools available in the Access interface.

Learning Access

Although we will be walking through the process of building a database in Access, if you are not familiar with the menus and features, it is a good idea for you to start with a book that focuses strictly on Access. There are several good books on learning Access including Microsoft Access 2000—Illustrated Complete (Course Technology, 2001) by Lisa Friedrichsen and Elizabeth Eisner and Microsoft Access Version 2002 Step by Step (Microsoft Press, 2001) by Online Training Solutions Inc.

To start our brief tour, open the application on your local computer and let's walk through the fundamental objects created within Access.

The Database Window

The Database window, shown in Figure 3.2, provides an easy-to-use interface to create, edit, and delete database objects. An Access database is more than just a bunch of data stuffed into a single file.

Figure 3.2Figure 3.2 The Database window provides access to the various database objects that can be created and manipulated from within Access.

Instead, an Access database is a collection of objects that store your data, represent the data in different views, and contain information about how each of the objects should interact with one another.

Tables

A table is the fundamental building block of any database because it is where the data is stored. The table consists of fields and records—fields specify the nature of the information that is being stored and rows contain a single record of data. For instance, in Figure 3.3, the first row contains information about Nancy Davolio. The fields show us that the table contains her employee ID, last name, first name, address, telephone number, and so on.

Using the table view of Access, you can add records to a table, edit the data, or remove the record altogether.

Figure 3.3Figure 3.3 The table view allows us to see the rows and columns that make up our table.

Queries

As the number of records in your table grows, so will the difficulty in finding and editing data located within it. Think of a query as a better way of organizing the data contained in your table for a specific purpose.

For instance, suppose you have a table that contains quite a few records, similar to the one shown in Figure 3.4, but you only want to see the records of people who live in Tennessee.

To accomplish this, you can build a query that scans the data and only returns the information that meets the criteria. As shown in Figure 3.5, designing a query that (in plain language) says, "Show me all the records where the state field has TN in it," will accomplish your goal.

Figure 3.4Figure 3.4 The table view can sometimes make it difficult to find the data you are looking for.

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5 A query can help you quickly find the data you are seeking.

Forms

Entering data into your database can quickly become an eye-straining task. Staring at all those columns, rows, and gridlines definitely isn't the most visually appealing way to populate your database. The alternative to entering data directly into the table is to build a custom form that is easier on the eyes. A simple form, shown in Figure 3.6, allows you to enter the demographic data for each of your users.

Figure 3.6Figure 3.6 A form can make it easier to input and update data.

When a database is used strictly as the back end of a Web application, the database forms are not used much because the Web pages you build to interact with the tables serve as your forms.

Reports

Although a query is a much more manageable way of viewing your data, it still leaves something to desire visually. Reports, on the other hand, allow you to customize the way your data is presented in printable format. Reports draw their information from a table or a query and organize the information into an attractive layout that you can customize. A sample report, shown in Figure 3.7, represents the query of users in Kentucky in a format that is more visually appealing.

Figure 3.7Figure 3.7 Reports provide a custom view of your data that is easily printed.

Pages

One of the newer features within Access is the Data Access Page component. Data Access Pages are Active Server Pages that allow you to display your forms on the Web. Through these pages, you can interact with your database in a manner similar to a small Web application.

Relationships

Although technically not an object that is stored within an Access database, the Relationships tool, shown in Figure 3.8, is an extremely important feature within Access and certainly deserves an introduction.

Figure 3.8Figure 3.8 The Relationships window helps you avoid storing duplicate data.

One of the biggest goals in constructing a database is to avoid storing duplicate data. If you have duplicate data located within your database, and one piece of data is updated and the other is not, information within your database is now incorrect. To avoid storing duplicate data, you build tables that relate to one another. For instance, suppose that in addition to your users table you add a purchases table that stores all of the items that each user buys, the quantity he purchased, and the date the transaction was completed. Without a relationship and a set of rules to maintain referential integrity, you could potentially add records to the purchases table without relating those records to the person who purchased them. The result would be orphaned data. As you will see when we build our own database, creating relationships within Access is a very easy process that will ensure your database functions smoothly.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020