Tables are the basic building blocks of any database. They are defined by a collection of rows and columns that separate the data into individual fields. When you open Microsoft Access for the first time it will give you a blank desktop and will automatically open a dummy table. The dummy table is simply a blank datasheet that will serve as the foundation for any database you will create.
After values of a few key fields are entered, you should be ready to begin to input data as short text or number values and create a basic datasheet.
When working in Microsoft Access there are three views from which to manipulate the information in the tables that make up your database: form view, layout view, and design view. To change views simply click on the view command in the ribbon and select your view from the drop down menu.
Form view is ideal for entering or updating information, while layout view will give you a clear overview of all the information currently entered in the table. Design view is slightly more advanced, and will allow you to restrict the data in certain fields by adjusting the properties and datatype or renaming a field.
Designing your own table from scratch may be helpful in certain situations, but don’t forget to check out the pre-loaded table templates that the Access software provides to help save valuable time and gain a better understanding of how to build your own tables with design view.
To begin creating a new table the first step is to change the field names. In design view and you can define the parameters of the table by labeling specific fields with a name and matching them with the appropriate datatype from the dropdown menu on the right. There are many different choices for datatype but most likely it will either be a number, which appears as a long integer, or short text.
You may also notice that an ID field is automatically entered to correspond with each entry. This is a number that is automatically given to each specific field to stand as its unique identifier.
Although it is an option, you should never remove the ID field. The specific identifiers may never be seen by users interacting with your database but they are essential when building more complex relationships between databases.
Take notice of the primary key command in the top left of the ribbon. Be sure that the primary key is set to the ID field so that each field can be independently identified and always unique.