How to Create a Database in Microsoft Access: A Step-by-Step Guide

Microsoft Access is a front-end, GUI-based database application that brings the power of software development tools and the Microsoft Jet database engine into a no-code, low-code platform. Therefore, creating a relational database in Access is a piece of cake.

This article will show you the simple steps to create a desktop based Access database using a template. It will also explain the steps to create an Access database from scratch by creating your own forms, tables, reports and other objects.


Using Templates to Create a Database in Microsoft Access

Microsoft gives you access to several production-ready Access database templates. You can use these templates without modification or customize them a bit for customization purposes.

An Access database template comes with all the necessary objects that a working database needs. For example, you’ll find tables, queries, macros, reports, and forms in any template you choose.

You can choose any database model to get started with Microsoft Access Database. Here’s how:

  1. Open Microsoft Access on your laptop or desktop computer.
  2. You should see the Access home screen view.
  3. Click on New on the left panel.
  4. You should see many Access database templates.
  5. Use the search box to search for models online if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
  6. The model presentation window will open once you have chosen a model.
  7. Here you can change the File name and the file path.
  8. Click on Create to build the database. It will open automatically.
  9. You will see the welcome screen. Click on Begin to use the database.
  10. The left navigation pane shows you all database objects such as tables, queries, forms, etc.
  11. You can start entering project tasks by clicking New task in the Task List form.
  12. You can double-click Tasks under the Tables menu on the left side to examine the raw database.
  13. Click on the Close (X) in the upper right corner under the ribbon to close all open database objects.

How to Create a Database in Microsoft Access From Scratch

Although Access database templates save you time, they don’t allow you to dive deep into how a database works. You need to create a database from an empty Access file using your own data, tables, forms and other parts. Download this sample Access database to start building your own.

Related: How to Learn Microsoft Access: Free Online Resources

You can start creating your own Access database by following these simple steps:

  1. In the Access ribbon menu, click the Case tongue.
  2. You will see the Empty database option. Click on it.
  3. Edit the name and path in the Empty Database Preview the window.
  4. Click on the Create button to build and open the empty database.

The empty database is the base. You need to add data and database parts to make it a working database. The following sections show the steps to add basic database parts of Access:

1. Add a table

The empty database will automatically add a table, Table 1. The table in Datasheet view looks like an Excel spreadsheet. However, Access uses the term Field for columns and Record for rows.

If you want to add a new table to your database:

  1. Click on the Create ribbon menu tab.
  2. You will see six sections of database parts such as Application, Table, Query, Form, Report and Macro.
  3. Just click Table create Table 2.

Related: How to Create Relationships Between Multiple Tables Using Data Model in Excel

2. Add data to tables

Although Access database is quite similar to Excel, adding data is different. Here are the steps to add data to a table:

  1. The first field will display as ID. Double click on it to rename it to Registration ID.
  2. Now click on Click to add and choose the data type. The data type lets Access know what kind of records you will store in that field.
  3. Picking out short text for fields such as First Name, Last Name, Address, etc.
  4. To add fields and data types more quickly, click the Design view icon in the lower right corner.
  5. You can add Domain name and Data type side by side.
  6. Now it’s time to add records. Once you have added a record as First nameAccess will assign the Primary key 1 in the cell below Registration ID.
  7. Primary keys are unique for each record. Access uses it to create relationships between tables.

3. Add a form

Forms help you and your team members quickly add data. It also makes data entry easier. Reproduce the following steps to create a form:

  1. Choose a database table for creating forms.
  2. Click on Create tab in the ribbon menu.
  3. Click on Form.
  4. Access will automatically create a form based on the data in the table.
  5. The form will also display data from other linked tables.
  6. Click on the New record (blank) at the bottom of the form to enter the new customer details.
  7. Now if you try to close the form, Access will ask you to save and rename the form.

4. Add and run a query

Running a query and retrieving data is a vital task that you can perform in your Access database. You can try these steps:

  1. From Create tab on the ribbon menu, click Query design.
  2. Double-click the tables from which you want to retrieve data via queries.
  3. Double-click the fields you want to include in your query from each table.
  4. You can also add criteria for each field to display specific data.
  5. Add criteria for Order fulfilled by entering an equal sign (=) followed by Yes.
  6. Switching the database to Datasheet view will run the query and retrieve customer data for filled orders.

5. Add a report

You can create structured reports for your Access database. Ultimately, reports offer vital information about the project or workflow. Simple steps to create a report:

  1. Select the table for which you want to create a report.
  2. Click on Report from Create ribbon menu tab.
  3. Right click on a field and select Delete column to delete all fields.
  4. In the lower right corner, click Preview before printing to view your report.
  5. Close the report and Access will give you the option to save it.

Use Microsoft Access for Powerful Databases

You can create a fully functional database on Microsoft Access by following the steps mentioned above. Then use your database to manage many work-related items, such as clients, project data, revenue data, content history, and more.

Although there is a bit of a learning curve, your efforts will surely bring you better opportunities. You can improvise your workflow with a systematic database. Or, you can put the skills in your resume to seek high-paying jobs at reputable tech companies.

Maria H. Underwood