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Working with AutoNumbers as foreign keys

From: Access 2010 Power Shortcuts

Video: Working with AutoNumbers as foreign keys

I probably get more questions about this technique than any other when people build their databases. This lesson does require an understanding of primary keys, foreign keys, common fields, auto numbers and relationships. So if you are not sure what those terms mean, please first watch those videos in the Access 2010 Essential Training and then return to this one. When you are relating two tables together, the usual method is to use the primary key of one table as the foreign key or common field in the second. For example, let's open up our Customers table and our SalesReps tables.

Working with AutoNumbers as foreign keys

I probably get more questions about this technique than any other when people build their databases. This lesson does require an understanding of primary keys, foreign keys, common fields, auto numbers and relationships. So if you are not sure what those terms mean, please first watch those videos in the Access 2010 Essential Training and then return to this one. When you are relating two tables together, the usual method is to use the primary key of one table as the foreign key or common field in the second. For example, let's open up our Customers table and our SalesReps tables.

In the SalesReps table, each employee has his or her own ID number. A unique identifier that Access uses to make sure that the person isn't listed in the table twice. Now look at the ID field in Design View. Much of the time an AutoNumber data type is used for this primary key, which sequentially numbers the records as they are created, so that no two are given the same ID number. Let's close the SalesReps table and look back at Customers. I will scroll over to the right- hand side to look at SalesReps. When we get a new customer and assign them a sales rep, instead of re-keying all of the employees' name and contact information every time, we just use their ID field.

If you go to the Database tools Ribbon and then click on Relationships, you can see that Access understands that there is a link between the SalesReps Table and the Customers Table, and that every one SalesRep can have many customers as shown by the 1 and the Infinity on each side. When we later run reports, we will use a query to bring the Customer information and the SalesRep information together into one place using this relationship. I will close this window. But where people get confused is that when they create the SalesRep field here in the Customers table, they assume that because it was in auto number in the original table, it has to be in auto number here, but that won't work.

The purpose of an AutoNumber is to automatically increment itself, but that's not possible here where I picked the SalesReps off of a list. So let's look at the Design View of the Customer table and then add the SalesRep field. Instead of an AutoNumber, this foreign key must be designated with a number data type and a Long Integer Field Size. According to Access, that's the only field type that will work in this relationship. Setting the common field to Long Integer in the foreign table will allow Access to match it to the AutoNumber in the primary key allowing your database to merge the information properly.

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This video is part of

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Access 2010 Power Shortcuts

93 video lessons · 7399 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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