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Understanding number field sizes

From: Access 2010 Power Shortcuts

Video: Understanding number field sizes

When you assign the datatype number to a field you've several considerations to take into account. Understanding the different number field sizes can help keep your file size down. The first question is what is a number? Your phone number, or ZIP code are made up of numbers, but they're truly text fields. You don't add your ZIP code and my ZIP code together to create a new location. We use the Number datatype when you'll potentially perform some sort of mathematical calculation on the field. A good example would be the Quantity field where you would add or subtract your numbers or inventories.

Understanding number field sizes

When you assign the datatype number to a field you've several considerations to take into account. Understanding the different number field sizes can help keep your file size down. The first question is what is a number? Your phone number, or ZIP code are made up of numbers, but they're truly text fields. You don't add your ZIP code and my ZIP code together to create a new location. We use the Number datatype when you'll potentially perform some sort of mathematical calculation on the field. A good example would be the Quantity field where you would add or subtract your numbers or inventories.

It's important to choose the most appropriate number field size for your data, because each number option reserves space in the database and that space is set aside, even if it's not used. Let's take a look at our orders table in design view and see how this works. Click on the Quantity field and I can see that it's a Number datatype, and down in the Field Properties the Field Size is by default Long Integer, but if I click on this dropdown I have several different options and let's take a look at what each of these means.

A Byte is the smallest practical amount of space your computer can store any one piece of information. So if we make our number datatype byte, you're cutting down how much disk space is used for this one piece of information. The byte field size is used for integers that range from 0 to 255. The Integer field size is used for numbers that range from -32,000 to +32,000. A Long Integer is used for numbers that range from -2 billion to positive 2 billion.

If you need a decimal, the single decimal type is for decimals up to seven significant digits. Double is for decimals up to fifteen significant digits. The Decimal decimal type is for numbers up to thirty significant digits and there is also an option for something called a Replication ID, but that's actually for compatibility with enterprise databases and is not really used in Access. Long Integer and Double are the two most common Number types. If you're working with AutoNumbers and LookUp fields the datatype for your foreign key has to be a Long Integer.

We go into this in detail in the working with auto numbers as foreign Keys video in this course. Now, in our case, when a customer orders, it's possible they'll want more than 255 of a product. Now honestly, that's not likely, but it's possible. So a Byte is not big enough. So Integer is our next option and I don't think anyone's going to order more than 32,000 of one of our olive oils, so that's safe. And they can't order half a bottle, so I don't have to consider one of the options that allows for Decimals.

So in this example, Integer is the smallest number type that suits our data. By changing Long Integer to Integer, we've saved half of the disk space reserved in the database to hold this piece of data. It's small, but over time it can become significant. Understanding these number types separates the pros from the amateurs in Access database design.

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This video is part of

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Access 2010 Power Shortcuts

93 video lessons · 7390 viewers

Alicia Katz Pollock
Author

 
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  1. 1m 15s
    1. Welcome
      47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      28s
  2. 25m 49s
    1. Customizing the Navigation pane
      2m 23s
    2. Toggling between Design and Data views
      2m 40s
    3. Creating new fields with field templates
      2m 9s
    4. Understanding the "Cannot contain a Null value" error
      1m 29s
    5. Working with AutoNumbers as foreign keys
      2m 24s
    6. Using input masks
      2m 39s
    7. Four ways to add fields to a query
      1m 41s
    8. Four ways to filter data
      2m 56s
    9. Selecting multiple form and report controls
      2m 13s
    10. Aligning and distributing controls on forms and reports
      5m 15s
  3. 5m 48s
    1. Opening recent files
      2m 33s
    2. Opening your most recently used file automatically
      56s
    3. Selecting a startup form
      1m 0s
    4. Changing the default saving location
      1m 19s
  4. 8m 22s
    1. Expanding and collapsing the Ribbon
      1m 13s
    2. Three ways to customize the Quick Access toolbar
      3m 14s
    3. Selecting Ribbon buttons using KeyTips
      1m 47s
    4. Creating your own ribbons
      2m 8s
  5. 9m 26s
    1. Turning the Navigation pane into a switchboard
      3m 48s
    2. Right-clicking
      2m 48s
    3. Using keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
  6. 5m 56s
    1. Navigating between records
      2m 8s
    2. Using Search, Go to, and Find
      2m 20s
    3. Selecting fields, rows, columns, and tables
      1m 28s
  7. 21m 46s
    1. Undo and Redo tips
      2m 18s
    2. Entering data across, not down
      59s
    3. Repeating data from the record above
      1m 39s
    4. Copying and pasting content
      2m 44s
    5. Inserting today's date
      1m 10s
    6. Removing automatic hyperlinks
      1m 54s
    7. Using AutoCorrect
      1m 36s
    8. Using concatenated fields
      2m 16s
    9. Linking Outlook contacts
      2m 23s
    10. Saving imports and exports for reuse
      4m 47s
  8. 35m 56s
    1. Creating a table using application parts
      2m 18s
    2. Creating Quick Start fields
      1m 49s
    3. Saving application parts
      2m 43s
    4. Understanding number field sizes
      3m 2s
    5. Setting default field types
      2m 55s
    6. Using validation rules
      4m 0s
    7. Using flag fields
      2m 1s
    8. Using an index
      2m 4s
    9. Using a datasheet Totals row
      2m 0s
    10. Filtering by selection
      1m 26s
    11. Resizing columns and rows
      2m 7s
    12. Removing gridlines and shading from tables
      1m 29s
    13. Hiding and unhiding table fields
      1m 13s
    14. Freezing fields when scrolling
      59s
    15. Analyzing your table for redundant structure
      5m 50s
  9. 10m 53s
    1. Setting a starting AutoNumber
      3m 14s
    2. Creating a multi-field primary key
      4m 17s
    3. Using subdatasheets
      1m 27s
    4. Using relationship reports
      1m 55s
  10. 28m 32s
    1. Using wildcards
      5m 40s
    2. Using IN instead of OR
      1m 29s
    3. Hiding query fields
      54s
    4. Changing captions
      1m 31s
    5. Finding duplicate records
      2m 13s
    6. Moving records with append and delete queries
      4m 31s
    7. Using make-table queries
      2m 12s
    8. Creating an update query
      2m 55s
    9. Turning a query into a PivotTable
      2m 30s
    10. Turning a query into a PivotChart
      2m 6s
    11. Using SQL statements
      2m 31s
  11. 28m 48s
    1. Using the property sheet to work with controls
      2m 16s
    2. Creating option groups
      2m 43s
    3. Using a ComboBox to select a record
      2m 55s
    4. Creating tabbed form layouts
      4m 45s
    5. Inserting charts
      3m 42s
    6. Creating your own smart tags
      1m 24s
    7. Using the CanGrow and CanShrink properties
      1m 46s
    8. Hiding fields in printouts
      1m 26s
    9. Setting tab stops
      3m 41s
    10. Clipping, stretching, and zooming images
      1m 17s
    11. Viewing single or continuous forms
      1m 1s
    12. Changing a form's default view
      1m 52s
  12. 9m 7s
    1. Inserting page breaks in reports and forms
      2m 15s
    2. Creating headers and footers
      5m 49s
    3. Hiding duplicates in reports
      1m 3s
  13. 10m 17s
    1. Using themes to customize the look of the database
      4m 12s
    2. Using the Format Painter
      2m 25s
    3. Grouping controls on forms and reports
      1m 35s
    4. Setting default appearance for new databases
      2m 5s
  14. 17m 56s
    1. Using a Before Change macro to create a time stamp
      6m 51s
    2. Triggering a Before Delete warning message
      2m 49s
    3. Creating an After Update macro to email a customer
      2m 11s
    4. Creating a user interface macro
      4m 12s
    5. Using AutoExec macros
      1m 53s
  15. 2m 53s
    1. Saving templates
      2m 10s
    2. Locking files
      43s
  16. 44s
    1. Goodbye
      44s

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