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Database concepts and terminology

From: Access 2010 Essential Training

Video: Database concepts and terminology

Before we can began to build an Access 2010 database, it's important to understand fundamental database concepts and terminology. First, what is a database? A database is a collection of information about one subject. Real life examples might be a telephone book, a way to track your music collection, or the way your business attracts its customers in sales. A database program gives you a way to manage that data and to analyze it to make it useful. You can sort the information in many ways, extract just certain pieces of info, or summarize it in reports.

Database concepts and terminology

Before we can began to build an Access 2010 database, it's important to understand fundamental database concepts and terminology. First, what is a database? A database is a collection of information about one subject. Real life examples might be a telephone book, a way to track your music collection, or the way your business attracts its customers in sales. A database program gives you a way to manage that data and to analyze it to make it useful. You can sort the information in many ways, extract just certain pieces of info, or summarize it in reports.

Let's take a look at the terminology you'll need. First off are Tables. A Table is one collection of information and it's organized into Fields, Records, and Data. Fields are the columns in the table. They are the categories of info you are collecting. In a phone book, these will be the person's name, address and phone number. Each is one person or thing you are collecting information about. In a phone book, each person's listing is their record. Data values are the actual pieces of information themselves. Alicia Katz Pollock, 123 Main Street, (800) 555-1212.

Many people try to store this information in Excel, because it's organized in rows and columns. But Excel is a flat file, meaning that all it gives you is one long list. Access is a relational database, and it gives you additional organizational tools that are far more efficient, flexible, and less prone to error. As you can see here, if we capture our customer orders in Excel, for each one, we'd have to repeat the customer's information, the products, orders and the prices. That's a lot of repetitious typing, and you open yourself up to data entry errors, like this Zip Code right here.

That was keyed in wrong. In a Relational database, the orders are tracked in three different tables: one with information about the customers, one table with information about the products we carry and the third table with the orders themselves. Now, to make this work we have to add some techniques into the table structures: Primary Keys and Foreign Keys. Primary Key is the unique identifier for each record in the table. You have to have some way of distinguishing each entry. I can't use Gino's Pizza because it's not unique. There may be only one in my neighborhood, but I am there is more than one Gino's Pizza in the United States, and I would love for all of them to be my customers.

So I added an extra field called the Primary Key and create a numbering system, so that each store has its own id number. Next, these Primary Keys become Foreign Keys, also known as common fields, linking the related information between two or more tables. It's the field that both tables have in common, and this allows me to gather data from both when I take an order, or run reports. That brings me to Relationships. Access has a window where I tell it how the Primary Keys and Foreign Keys relate to each other.

The most common is a one-to-many relationship, where one record in the first table has multiple occurrences in the second table. Here, one customer, Gino's Pizza, hopefully will order from us many times. There are other relationship types as well. But one-to-many is the most common. Our next terminology are Data Types. Data Types define your fields so that Access knows how to manage them appropriately. Let's take a look at the different types. AutoNumber sequentially increments each record, and it's commonly used as a Primary Key field.

Text is used for alphanumeric characters, any letters and numbers. Number is used for numbers that you actually calculate. Currency is for dollars, cents, and foreign currency. Data/Time is for dates and times. Yes/No fields are for either/or scenarios, and they can be defined as On/Off, Yes/No and True/False. Associate files from other programs, such as Word or Excel, and include them along with your record. Hyperlinks are used for e-mails and Web site URLs. Memos are for when you have long fields, long commentary.

It allows you to take notes. Calculations do math based on data in your other fields. Lookups gather their data from other tables. By using the appropriate data types, you'll build your database in accordance with industry standards. When you are planning your database, you need to take a look at the big picture to make sure you are creating your tables effectively. This process is called normalization, and there are accepted standards in the database industry. First, you want to use the smallest meaningful fields possible. You don't want one field called Name.

You want two fields, Last Name and First Name. Otherwise, how would you sort by Smith if the person's Name field said Fred Smith? The next phase is looking at your data. If you find that you are entering the same information repeatedly, that's a sign that those fields should be broken out into a separate table and then linked with a common field. Also, think about the big picture and your long-term growth plans. It's easy to plan ahead, but challenging to go back and add new tracking fields once you have been in business for some time. For example, you might not need, right now, to track how your customers found out about you, but if you add that to your marketing plan two years from now, you won't have that data for any of your current customers.

So now, we are really ready to begin our essential training. In this course, we are going to build a working database for Two Trees Olive Oil. We'll create four tables: one with our line of olive oils, one of our employees, one table with our customers and a forth tracking all orders placed. Once that's done, we'll make forms for data entry, queries to analyze our company in sales, and reports so we can print it all out. Tables, forms, queries, and reports will all be referred to as your database objects throughout the course.

Now that you are familiar with the terms I am going to use, let's get started.

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This video is part of

Image for Access 2010 Essential Training
Access 2010 Essential Training

79 video lessons · 58638 viewers

Alicia Katz Pollock
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 25s
    1. Welcome
      51s
    2. Using the exercise files
      34s
  2. 19m 8s
    1. Database concepts and terminology
      5m 35s
    2. Starting Access
      55s
    3. Creating a new file
      1m 10s
    4. Trusting a file
      56s
    5. The Quick Access toolbar
      1m 8s
    6. Backstage view
      2m 45s
    7. Exploring ribbons
      2m 59s
    8. Using the Navigation pane
      2m 11s
    9. Getting help
      1m 29s
  3. 23m 33s
    1. Planning and designing your database
      1m 33s
    2. Creating tables using Application Parts
      6m 48s
    3. Creating tables in Layout view with Quick Start
      3m 59s
    4. Creating and editing tables in Design view
      2m 41s
    5. Setting a primary key
      1m 20s
    6. Creating a lookup field
      3m 59s
    7. Creating multi-value fields
      2m 19s
    8. Using calculated fields
      54s
  4. 13m 5s
    1. Setting field properties
      7m 34s
    2. Setting input masks
      2m 3s
    3. Setting validation rules
      3m 28s
  5. 5m 20s
    1. Creating relationships and enforcing referential integrity
      4m 32s
    2. Viewing subdatasheets
      48s
  6. 19m 52s
    1. Entering data into your tables
      9m 44s
    2. Formatting tables
      4m 2s
    3. Finding, sorting, and filtering records
      6m 6s
  7. 29m 57s
    1. Creating data-entry forms
      2m 31s
    2. Using the Form Wizard
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a form in Layout view
      7m 1s
    4. Using Design view
      12m 41s
    5. Setting tab stops
      1m 26s
    6. Adding buttons to a form
      1m 49s
    7. Using navigation forms
      2m 51s
  8. 26m 49s
    1. Introduction to queries
      1m 9s
    2. Using the Query Wizard
      1m 52s
    3. Creating a query in Design view with criteria
      4m 18s
    4. Creating wildcard queries
      1m 24s
    5. Creating reusable parameter queries
      1m 29s
    6. Creating yes/no queries
      1m 12s
    7. Creating "and" and "or" queries
      3m 7s
    8. Building calculation queries
      2m 44s
    9. Creating statistical queries
      3m 1s
    10. Using update queries
      2m 56s
    11. Using delete queries
      1m 31s
    12. Creating crosstab queries
      2m 6s
  9. 26m 43s
    1. Introduction to reports
      1m 28s
    2. Using the Report Wizard
      2m 0s
    3. Formatting reports in Layout view
      5m 16s
    4. Identifying report structure in Design view
      2m 30s
    5. Adding group and sort capabilities to a report
      2m 43s
    6. Adding existing fields from other tables
      1m 59s
    7. Adding totals and subtotals to a report
      2m 58s
    8. Adding conditional formatting and data bars to a report
      2m 38s
    9. Creating multi-table reports
      1m 46s
    10. Creating mailing labels
      2m 16s
    11. Printing reports
      1m 9s
  10. 4m 32s
    1. PivotTables
      2m 29s
    2. PivotCharts
      2m 3s
  11. 7m 35s
    1. Creating macros
      2m 53s
    2. Attaching macros to objects
      2m 26s
    3. Using data macros
      2m 16s
  12. 17m 10s
    1. Importing Excel and text data
      3m 39s
    2. Exporting data into Excel
      1m 0s
    3. Exporting to PDF
      53s
    4. Exporting into a Word Mail Merge
      1m 3s
    5. Publishing to a web browser in HTML or XML
      1m 51s
    6. Sharing via email
      58s
    7. Collecting data over email
      2m 42s
    8. Using Package and Sign
      1m 14s
    9. Publishing to SharePoint
      2m 59s
    10. Importing and exporting with SharePoint
      51s
  13. 6m 41s
    1. Compacting and repairing a database
      48s
    2. Using data analysis tools
      1m 4s
    3. Encrypting a database and setting a password
      2m 22s
    4. Splitting a database
      2m 27s
  14. 8m 19s
    1. Customizing the ribbons
      1m 16s
    2. Setting Access options
      7m 3s
  15. 14s
    1. Goodbye
      14s

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