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Hands-On Microsoft Access: A Practical Guide to Improving Your Access Skills

Book Description

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. (

Go 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.

    Table of Contents

    1. Copyright
    2. Praise for Hands-On Microsoft Access
    3. Preface
    4. Acknowledgments
    5. About the Author
    6. Getting Started
      1. Key Terms
      2. Data Types
      3. Primary Keys
      4. It's About Nothing: Null Values and Zero-Length Strings
      5. Conclusion
    7. Database Design
      1. Learning About Database Design
      2. Getting Started
      3. Midchapter Review
      4. Relational Database Principles
      5. Organizing Fields into Tables
      6. Refine the Fields
      7. Keys
      8. Multivalue Fields
      9. Conclusion
    8. Understanding Relationships
      1. The Primacy of Primary Keys
      2. One-to-Many Relationships
      3. Many-to-Many Relationships
      4. Final List of Fields and Relationships
      5. Exclusive Identification
      6. Refining Field Names
      7. Table Types
      8. What Is Normalization?
      9. Conclusion
    9. Establishing Relationships
      1. Viewing and Creating Relationships
      2. Referential Integrity
      3. Overriding Referential Integrity
      4. The Mechanics of the Relationship Window
      5. Test Data and Conclusion
      6. Case Example
    10. Building Tables
      1. Understanding Lookup Fields
      2. Creating Access Tables
      3. Creating Fields
      4. Assigning Field Properties
      5. Making Changes to Tables and Fields
      6. Table Properties
      7. Conclusion
      8. Case Example
    11. Entering, Editing, and Displaying Data
      1. Tables Are the Center of the Access Universe
      2. Data Entry in Table, Form, and Query Datasheets
      3. How Form Controls Inherit Field Characteristics
      4. Data Entry Methods
      5. Data Entry: Form Versus Substance
      6. Conclusion
      7. Case Example
    12. Find and Filter
      1. Find and Replace
      2. Filters
      3. Filters in Reports
      4. Expressions
      5. Conclusion
      6. Case Example
    13. Queries
      1. The Nature of Queries
      2. Building Queries
      3. Adding Calculated Fields
      4. Top Values Property
      5. Multitable Queries
      6. Relationships Versus Joins
      7. Inner Versus Outer Joins
      8. SQL
      9. Updating Records in a Query
      10. Find Duplicates Query Wizard
      11. Conclusion
    14. Queries, Part II
      1. Parameter Queries
      2. Totals Queries
      3. Crosstab Queries
      4. Action Queries
      5. Conclusion
    15. Reports
      1. Learning How to Create Reports
      2. The Asia Database
      3. Begin the Report by Creating a Query
      4. Beginning a Report in Design View
      5. Detail Section
      6. Page Header and Footer
      7. Using Concatenation
      8. Report Header and Footer
      9. Creating a Report Using the Report Wizard
      10. Comparing the From-Scratch and From-Wizard Reports
      11. Conclusion
      12. Case Example
    16. Forms/Subforms
      1. Form Overview
      2. Exploring Form Tools
      3. Using the Form Wizard
      4. Refining Your Form
      5. Conclusion
      6. Case Example
    17. Form/Report Design Elements
      1. Adding Pictures and Other Objects
      2. Visual Elements and Tools
      3. Manipulating Controls
      4. Macros
      5. Multipage Forms
      6. Switchboard Manager
      7. Other Report Types
      8. Conclusion
      9. Case Example
    18. Importing and Exporting
      1. Import/Export Overview
      2. Move Access Data to a Word Processor or Text Editor
      3. Move Access Data to Excel
      4. E-mail an Access Object
      5. Import Access Data into Outlook
      6. Importing Data into Access
      7. Importing Access Data
      8. Linking Versus Importing
      9. Conclusion
      10. Case Example
    19. Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts
      1. Getting Started with Pivot Tables
      2. Pivot Tables Using Queries
      3. Pivot Table Properties
      4. Creating Pivot Charts
      5. Conclusion
      6. Case Example
    20. GLOSSARY
    21. Index