The chapters earlier in this book explained how to design a database. This chapter explains how to build a database in Microsoft Access. In this chapter you learn how to:
Create foreign key constraints graphically.
Create check constraints that validate data.
(The examples in this chapter were tested in Microsoft Access 2007 with Service Pack 1.)
One disadvantage of Access is that, unlike MySQL described in the next chapter, it's not free. However, you can download a 60-day free trial version as part of Microsoft Office Professional at
A second disadvantage to Access is that it is not really intended to support many users accessing the database simultaneously. It doesn't provide separate user accounts with different passwords, and it doesn't provide the same levels of record and field locking that are provided by some database management systems.
One advantage to Access is that it is ubiquitous. Many Windows users have Access installed as part of Microsoft Office. It's possible that you have Access installed and don't even know it.
The database drivers needed for programs to interact with Access databases are also very common. Because programming environments such as Microsoft Visual Studio (which includes Visual Basic and C#) come with Access drivers, it's easy to write programs in those languages that work with Access databases even if you don't have Access installed.