Microsoft Access Tutorial (Part 3): Queries, Forms, & Macros

This article is Part 3 of the Microsoft Access tutorial.

Here’s what’s included in this article:

  • Create a query (so you can “search the database”).
  • Create a form for data entry.
  • Create a macro (so that a multi-step task can be done automatically – at the click of a button).

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Microsoft Access Tutorial (Part 2): Design View, Field Properties, & Relationships

This article is Part 2 of the Microsoft Access tutorial.

Here’s what’s included in this article:

  • Design View.
  • Add field properties to a field.
  • Add two more tables (for the relationship)
  • Set up a relationship between three tables.

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Microsoft Access Tutorial (Part 1): Databases, Tables, & Fields

This article is Part 1 of the Microsoft Access tutorial.

Here’s what’s included in this article:

  • Create a database.
  • Add a table to the database.
  • Add four fields to the table, name/rename them, and set up their data type.

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What is the Input Mask Wizard in Microsoft Access?

The Input Mask Wizard is a feature of Microsoft Access that helps you create an input mask.

An input mask allows you to specify exactly how data should be entered into the database. It’s an expression that specifies certain rules about how the data should be formatted as it is entered into the system.

Here’s an example of an input mask:

(999) 000-0000

This specifies the format that a phone number must be entered. The number 9 indicates an optional character. The number 0 specifies a mandatory one. So in this example, the area code is optional.

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Microsoft Access vs SQL Server

This article looks at some of the differences between Microsoft Access and SQL Server.

Both Access and SQL Server are developed by Microsoft. Both are relational database management systems. And both have a large presence in organisations across the world.

But between Access and SQL Server, there are some significant differences.

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A Technical Comparison: Microsoft Access 2016 vs SQL Server 2016

Microsoft Access and SQL Server are two relational database management systems from Microsoft. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. There are many cases where Access is the ideal tool for the job. There are other times where a more sophisticated solution like SQL Server is more appropriate.

When trying to decide which one to use, a side-by-side comparison of the technical specifications of each system can help greatly. Below is a side-by-side comparison of some of the technical limitations of each system.

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What is Microsoft Access?

Microsoft Access is a relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft. It’s part of the Microsoft Office suite, included in the Professional and higher editions or sold separately.

Microsoft Access provides a quick and easy way to develop databases and is particularly well suited for individuals and small business. Access is the most popular desktop database on the market.

Screenshot of the Access welcome screen
The Microsoft Access welcome screen allows you to create a database from scratch. You can also search through thousands of templates for a prebuilt database that you can use to get started.

In Access, most tasks can be performed via the graphical user interface (GUI), but more advanced users can also develop applications using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code. Advanced users can also use SQL code to write or modify queries.

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How to Add a Macro Button to a Form in Access

To add a macro to a form in Access 2013 or 2016:

  1. Create a macro
  2. Now, open the form in Design view
  3. Click the Button icon in the Ribbon (from the DESIGN tab)
  4. In the Form Detail area, click and drag the cursor so that it forms a square or rectangle (i.e. shape of a button). The Command Button Wizard will pop up. Select Miscellaneous > Run Macro and click Next
  5. Select the name of the macro you want to run and click Next
  6. Choose whether to display text or an image on the button and click Next
  7. Give the button a name and click Finish

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