All good database designers document their work. It’s important to leave a trail of notes for others to be able to fully understand the design decisions that were made and to help clarify why the system was built the way it was. In this video, Adam Wilbert tours the Access interface and points to a number of places where documentation can be written to provide guidance to other users.
- [Narrator] The only thing worse than opening up an unfamiliar database and realizing that you can't figure out what the creator was thinking when they put it together, is opening up a database that you yourself created and not remembering why you did it the way you did. I'm a big proponent of keeping a detailed documentation trail inside of the database file. Fortunately, Access provides lots of opportunities for you to leave notes to the next database designer that has to follow in your footsteps. Let's first take a look at the table objects. I'll go ahead and open one up, and we'll switch into design view. We've previously seen that the description area is a good place where we can leave notes describing the type of data to be stored, or any specific notes on it's formatting.
If you right click on a table, or indeed any of the objects in the navigation pane, you can come and open up the property sheet for that object. Here is another area where we can describe what this table is for. This can be a descriptive piece of text, or just a note as to why this table exists in the database and what it's function is. Let's go and apply this change, and press OK. We can also go ahead and close out the Guests table now. On forms, we have two useful features that we can use to help guide our users.
I'm gonna go ahead and open up the CheckIn Guests form, and then switch into design view. Next, I'll double click on one of the text boxes here, First is the first name text box, and that'll open up the property sheet for that object, and I'll go over to the other tab. In here, we'll find a property called ControlTip Text. This is gonna be a popup flag that'll hover over the mouse when the user puts their mouse over this object. The other property that I wanna point to is the status bar text. This will appear on the bottom of the screen.
I'll type in a little bit of text into both of those, and then close this out, and then we'll switch our view back into form view. Now if I hover my mouse over this first name area, we'll get a pop up flag that says "This is a Control Tip". And if I click in it, we'll notice down here on the bar, that we have a message that this is the status bar. So these are both great places to add message to your end user. Finally, you can even place comments into the database file itself. Let's go over to the file menu, and on the info tab, go ahead and click on the view and edit database properties link.
In the summary tab of the property sheet, you can list contact information for the person responsible for creating or maintaining the database, so that users can find out who to contact if they have any questions about how it works. Now I personally don't think that it's possible to overly document your work. Adding appropriate comments can aid someone down the road to understand your database's structure. And when you need to get up and running on a new database file quickly, you'll be glad to find that the person who created it before you took the time to leave notes behind as well. Taking the time to document what you do and why is an important piece of becoming a great database designer.
- Determine the essential uses for the Trust Center.
- Explore the functions of the database Navigation pane.
- Recognize the fundamentals of entering data when using Access.
- Identify the necessary steps when importing a table when using Access.
- Break down the fundamentals of filtering and sorting table data in Access.
- Identify the method utilized when building queries in Design view.
- Determine the role of forms in Access.
- Examine all of the elements involved in maintaining a database in Access.
- Explore how to properly protect an Access database with a password.