Learn the benefits of and best practices for storyboarding—a great planning method for designing the structure of the Access database.
- [Narrator] Storyboarding is the first step in building a database. And it's really important because it prevents headaches later. Structural issues that can waste time and limit your use of the data. Storyboarding also kick-starts your thinking about your data and how you'll use it. It helps you visually organize your data before you even open the Access software. And if you're working with others, it'll help everyone sharing the process. To storyboard, you can use a whiteboard or an easel, you could use PowerPoint, or you can go old school and use Index cards.
To storyboard your database, first stop and think about how your business works. Second, write a table name on each card or on each box you draw. Then third, add that table's primary key field in the box. And fourth, map the relationships between the tables. To see how that works, let's imagine you're creating a database for a training center. So how does a training center work? What are the components of the training center? Well, at the training center we offer courses, clients send students to take the courses, students attend the courses, and instructors teach the courses.
Identifying these components informs your database structure. Now having identified the business components, we can now turn each one into a table. So inside each box or card, insert a single table name. Using our example, we have four tables, students, clients who send students, courses that the students take, and instructors who teach those courses. Next, you'll add the primary key for each table to the card or the box.
When we build tables in Access, each table's primary key field will default to the name ID. But we're gonna add the table name to that to help keep those fields separate in your mind. So for example, the ID in students becomes StudentID and on. Finally, to map the relationships there are two steps. First, shown in red, we need to add the ID fields that support the relationships in the database which reflect the connection between the business components.
So for example, CourseID and courses relates to CourseID and instructors so we know which courses each instructor teaches. The courses table also relates to students so we can keep track of which courses each student is taking. ClientID and clients relates to students as well so we know which client send which students to the training center. The second step, we draw the lines that physically relate the tables by their common fields, making it possible for the database to answer questions like, who are we billing for these students? Or which instructor can I assign to teach this class? Or has this student taken any Excel classes yet? So I know you're excited to begin building your database and after teaching Access for more than 20 years, I know students can't wait to dive in.
But I really recommend you take a moment and step back, don't open Access yet. Just think about your business and its components and how those components work together. It will really pay off.
- Planning your sales database
- Building tables
- Choosing data types
- Setting up field validations
- Creating lookup tables
- Building and editing relationships
- Creating forms
- Designing queries
- Creating sales reports
- Generating useful macros
- Designing a convenient navigation form