Improving structure with the table tools
Video: Improving structure with the table toolsTable and field settings that were once buried away are now right up front with Access 2010's new Table Tools Ribbons. Not only will this save you time, but making proper use of the Tables field properties will improve the structure of your database. First, let's click on the Create tab and then click on Tables to create a new table. Look around the right and you'll see contextual table tabs, Fields and Table. When I'm creating a table, I now no longer have to go into Design view. I can do my properties right here from the Datasheet view. If I am working from the Datasheet view, I no longer have to add the field, enter the name and then specify the data type.
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In Access 2010 New Features, author Alicia Katz Pollock explains each new and enhanced feature in Microsoft Access 2010. This course covers the Backstage view that replaces the File menu in Office 2010, shortcuts for building tables, new layout tools and navigation controls, the macro designer featuring IntelliSense, as well as exporting to and collaborating in SharePoint. Exercise files accompany the course.
- Working with Application Parts
- Implementing the Table Tools ribbon
- Using Quick Start and calculated fields
- Designing with Layout View formatting tools
- Taking advantage of enhancements to the Conditional Formatting feature
- Automating with macros
- Working with external data
- Integrating SharePoint publishing
Improving structure with the table tools
Table and field settings that were once buried away are now right up front with Access 2010's new Table Tools Ribbons. Not only will this save you time, but making proper use of the Tables field properties will improve the structure of your database. First, let's click on the Create tab and then click on Tables to create a new table. Look around the right and you'll see contextual table tabs, Fields and Table. When I'm creating a table, I now no longer have to go into Design view. I can do my properties right here from the Datasheet view. If I am working from the Datasheet view, I no longer have to add the field, enter the name and then specify the data type.
Now I can add specific data fields with one click and all I have to do is name it. I'll click right here, I'll tell it I want it to be a Text field, and I'll type in the name of my field and when I hit Tab, the next one automatically opens up and is ready for me. Now I can also pick my field types from up here. The next field I want is Date and Time, so I could do it from here, or when I hit Tab, of course I can do it from right here, and last but not least, I'd like a salary field, so I put in Currency from dollars.
Now that my fields are in, it's time to set the properties and again I can do it right here from this Ribbon. So for example, I want to make my last name required. I can use that checkmark right here. I can also set captions, right, front and center. I used Last and First for last name and the first name because keeping them short and sweet makes the programming easier, but in fields and reports, I would like them to actually show up as Last Name and as First Name. So the caption will control the appearance of the field name in all of my objects.
I can also set the field size right from here. 255 characters is a lot of space stored for very small information, so let's go ahead and change this. Now, you also have validation rules right here on the Ribbon as well. In this particular database, the people who are going to be in here are either going to be in the purchasing or marketing departments. So, I'm going to set a validation rule right from here. In order to set validation rules, you do need to use Access's standard formatting.
For more information about that, please see our Access 2010 Essential Training course. So here I'm going to write Purchasing. Now that I've entered a validation rule, I have to put in validation error message because the person using the database will probably not know that those are the only two things that can go into that field. A very welcomed new feature is under Validation, you now have Record Validations that will compare the values in two different fields and if the comparison is invalid, then it will also give an error message.
For example, our end date has to be after our start date. So to create that, I'll click on that item, I'll double-click on End Date, greater than, Start Date, hit OK, and because I did a Validation rule, I do want to have an error message for what happens when it's not correct. So now let's see what happens when I enter in data. I'll put in the person's last name and here's the first name and then their department.
Let me show you what it looks like when I get it wrong. So I'll click OK, I'll erase that out and put in the correct name, and now let's say they started last month, and when I go to End Date and I pick an end date that's before it, it won't work until I actually finish the record, but then it will tell me that the end date must be after the start date. I'll click OK and I'll go ahead and take this out. Let's say they're still with us. Now that we finished creating our table, we can also take a look at this Table Ribbon right here.
Field events are also now up front and center. If you want to run a macro whenever you enter or change your field's data, you can do that right from the Ribbon. We'll explore this in more detail later in this course. So you can see that by using the new Table Tools Ribbons, you'll save several steps in setting up your tables and properties, improving your database structure.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Access 2010 New Features .
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- Q: My macro isn't running correctly. I followed along with the author and I'm not receiving an error message, but the actions are performed correctly.
- A: There are several possible reasons why a macro would malfunction. Make sure that the macro is written correctly. Capitalization and punctuation matters. Also make sure to click in all the same places when recording the macro. With enough practice, building macros will become more routine, and spotting errors will becoming easier.
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