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Hands-On Microsoft Access

Hands-On Microsoft Access

A Practical Guide to Improving Your Access Skills

Bob Schneider

Sep 2005, Paperback, 528 pages
ISBN13: 9780321245458
ISBN10: 0321245458
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Access is one of the most widely used pieces of software. Perhaps more so

than any other common program, such as Word or Excel, though, many of its

users find it more vexing to really understand and use well. This is because you

can't use Access successfully without a framework in your head of how a

relational database management system works, and almost none of us have that

training. While there are many books on Access, most of them are either

introductory tutorials on how to use Access's features, or big comprehensive

references. None of them give a good solid grounding in basic database design

principles. This book fills that need; there really is no other book on Access like

it on the market. The author has written for on Access for more than seven

years, and knows how to present complicated principles clearly and in an easyto-

understand way.

Praise for Hands-On Microsoft Access

“Bob has distilled the essence of database design and Access development into a highly valuable and easily understandable resource that I wish was available when I first started out.”

—Graham R. Seach, Microsoft Access MVP

“If you’ve been using Access with that typical uncertainty, asking yourself 'Just how could I do that?' or 'Why isn’t this working?', if you’d like to know what you’re doing before you hit the wall, this book is probably perfect for you.”

—Olaf Rabbachin, CEO, IntuiDev IT-solutions

“Life at the cutting edge of Access development is exciting and very challenging. The knowledge and experience gained over many years of research and trial-and-error has been hard won. But Bob's new book encapsulates the knowledge we now take for granted, and for the first time the beginner is afforded the opportunity to bypass all that hard work. In this his latest work, Bob has distilled the essence of database design and Access development into a highly valuable and easily understandable resource that I wish was available when I first started out.”

—Graham R Seach, MCP, MCAD, MCSD, Microsoft Access MVP, author

“This is an excellent book for beginners, with an easy reading style. It is now on my recommended list of books that I hand out in every Access class that I teach.”

—M.L. “Sco” Scofield, Microsoft Access MVP, MCSD, Senior Instructor, Scofield Business Services

“If you've been using Access with that typical uncertainty, asking yourself 'Just how could I do that?' or 'Why isn't this working?', or if you'd like to know what you're doing before you hit the wall, this book is perfect for you. Access is a tremendous product and a database is created using a few clicks; but without at least some theoretical background you're bound to encounter problems soon. I wish a book like this one would've been available when I started getting deeper into working with Access some ten years ago.”

—Olaf Rabbachin, CEO, IntuiDev IT-solutions

“This book is for any level DB developer/user. It is packed full of real-world examples and solutions that are not the normal Northwind database that most Access books use. The examples and the technical content surrounding them are the real strength of the book. Schneider uses real-world scenarios that make for excellent reading. It made me want to go and redo a lot of my older Access DBs that were not written as well as they could have been. This book taught me different approaches to doing some routine tasks.”

—Ron Crumbaker, Microsoft MVP – SMS

“While a very powerful application (or perhaps because of its power), Microsoft Access does have a steep learning curve and can be intimidating to new users. Bob Schneider has managed to write a book that's both understandable and enjoyable to read. His examples should be understandable to all readers, and he extends them in a logical manner. This book should leave the reader well equipped to make use of what many consider to be the best desktop database product available.”

—Doug Steele, Microsoft Access MVP

“The author takes what is potentially a very dry subject and adds fantastic color through entertaining analogies and metaphors. For instance, his examples using the NBA, the Beatles, and Donald Rumsfeld help us 'get it' without realizing we have just traversed what could be very stale database theory. Brilliant!”

—Kel Good, MCT, MCSD for Microsoft.NET, Custom Software Development Inc. ( from Access “beginner” to Access “master”!

Millions of people use Microsoft Access, but only a small fraction of them are really comfortable with it. If you're ready to go “beyond the wizards”—and become a confident, highly effective Access user—Hands-On Microsoft Access was written for you.

In plain English, Bob Schneider helps you master crucial principles for building flexible, powerful databases. Discover how to enter data more easily, retrieve it more freely, manipulate it more successfully, analyze it with greater sophistication, and share it more effectively. Schneider's dozens of hands-on examples thoroughly demystify Access, and his friendly, conversational style makes it more approachable than ever before.

Hands-On Microsoft Access presents solutions for the challenges you're most likely to encounter, including

  • How do Access objects and interfaces fit together, and when should I use each one?

  • What's the best way for me to organize my fields into tables?

  • How can I modify the tables, forms, and reports an Access wizard created for me?

  • How can I design forms and reports for people to use more effectively?

  • How do primary keys and relationships work, and why are they so important?

  • How do I make sure my data stays consistent and accurate?

  • How do I build queries that give me the right information—quickly, efficiently, and reliably?

  • How do I use data from other sources, or deliver Access data to other people or programs?

  • What are PivotTables and PivotCharts, what can I do with them, and how do I use them?
  • Written for Access 2003, this book also contains special instructions for Access 2002 users and extensive coverage of issues relevant to Access 95, 97, and 2000.



    About the Author.

    1. Getting Started.

    Key Terms

    Data Types

    Primary Keys

    It's About Nothing: Null Values and Zero-Length Strings


    2. Database Design.

    Learning About Database Design

    Getting Started

    Midchapter Review

    Relational Database Principles

    Organizing Fields into Tables

    Refine the Fields


    Multivalue Fields


    3. Understanding Relationships.

    The Primacy of Primary Keys

    One-to-Many Relationships

    Many-to-Many Relationships

    Final List of Fields and Relationships

    Exclusive Identification

    Refining Field Names

    Table Types

    What Is Normalization?


    4. Establishing Relationships.

    Viewing and Creating Relationships

    Referential Integrity

    Overriding Referential Integrity

    The Mechanics of the Relationship Window

    Test Data and Conclusion

    5. Building Tables.

    Understanding Lookup Fields

    Creating Access Tables

    Creating Fields

    Assigning Field Properties

    Making Changes to Tables and Fields

    Table Properties


    6. Entering, Editing, and Displaying Data.

    Tables Are the Center of the Access Universe

    Data Entry in Table, Form, and Query Datasheets

    How Form Controls Inherit Field Characteristics

    Data Entry Methods

    Data Entry: Form Versus Substance


    7. Find and Filter.

    Find and Replace


    Filters in Reports



    8. Queries.

    The Nature of Queries

    Building Queries

    Adding Calculated Fields

    Top Values Property

    Multitable Queries

    Relationships Versus Joins

    Inner Versus Outer Joins


    Updating Records in a Query

    Find Duplicates Query Wizard


    9. Queries, Part II.

    Parameter Queries

    Totals Queries

    Crosstab Queries

    Action Queries


    10. Reports.

    Learning How to Create Reports

    The Asia Database

    Begin the Report by Creating a Query

    Beginning a Report in Design View

    Detail Section

    Page Header and Footer

    Using Concatenation

    Report Header and Footer

    Creating a Report Using the Report Wizard

    Comparing the From-Scratch and From-Wizard Reports


    11. Forms/Subforms.

    Form Overview

    Exploring Form Tools

    Using the Form Wizard

    Refining Your Form


    12. Form/Report Design Elements.

    Adding Pictures and Other Objects

    Visual Elements and Tools

    Manipulating Controls


    Multipage Forms

    Switchboard Manager

    Other Report Types


    13. Importing and Exporting.

    Import/Export Overview

    Move Access Data to a Word Processor or Text Editor

    Move Access Data to Excel

    E-mail an Access Object

    Import Access Data into Outlook

    Importing Data into Access

    Importing Access Data

    Linking Versus Importing


    14. Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts.

    Getting Started with Pivot Tables

    Pivot Tables Using Queries

    Pivot Table Properties

    Creating Pivot Charts




    The perfect book for the many Access users who feel that they still don't "get" how the program works.

    ° Helps readers build better Access databases by teaching just enough database design principles

    ° Explains commonly used Access features that can be difficult to grasp

    ° Fills a missing niche in the Access book market, between introductions and soup to nuts references

    ° Written in relaxed, conversational style with lots of hands-on examples and just enough humor

    Bob Schneider has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years. Since 2001, he has been writing about Access for Smart Computing, one of the nations leading computer magazines. For three years he served as editor-in-chief of Working Smarter with Microsoft Access, a biweekly newsletter that helps office staff use Access more productively. Prior to that, he was development editor for Access 95, 97, and 2000 textbooks published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. He is based in San Francisco, CA.