If you’re still running your business from your shuffle of papers maybe is time to automate everything and shred the papers. With Microsoft Access, you can create a central place where you can place all your paper information. For example, you probably have clients or customers in your business, so why not create an electronic database that will allow you to save all of their information, create reports, add records, and print mailing labels. All of this is really easy with Microsoft Access. Here are a few easy steps to help create a simple database to get you started.
Before starting, make sure you have all the paper files organized and ready to be entered so that you don’t waste any time shuffling through papers, and also on a piece of paper write out the information that you want to enter for the customers – for example, you can specify name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, regular order#, etc because in Access you design the specific areas that you want to cover. The information categories can be as broad or specific as you need them to be. When you’re ready, go to Start>Programs>Microsoft Access to open the program.
Next, a pop up window box named “Microsoft Access” will appear. Select the first option “Blank Access database” and click OK. In the next step, you need to give your database a name in this example we’ll call it, “Customer Listing,” and then you need to specify a location where you will save it, and select “Create.” From the “Objects” menu on the left hand side of your screen, click on “Table,” and the select the option “Create table by using wizard.” – with Table Wizard the program will walk you through the most important steps in creating an Access database.
Now you’re in the Table Wizard pop up window, so in here you will specify if you database will be for personal or business purposes, then you will select the function of the database and finally its sections or “fields.” For this example, first click on “Business,” then select “Customers” under “Sample Tables,” then select the “Sample Fields” (remember these are the actual sections that you want to enter for each customer. Under “Sample Fields,” please select MailingListID (an automatic number that is attached to the specific record), “Prefix, First Name, MiddleName, LastName, Title, OrganizationName, Address.” And then select the button with the >sign to move these sample fields to the new database table that you’re creating. And click Next.
In this pop up window box, give your table a name, for exmple, you can call it “Customer Listing” and then click “Yes, set a primary key for me option button” (selecting this option will allow Access to pick one section or field, usually the first field you selected, in this example, it would be “MailingListID” and making it a primary key field). A primary key field is just a record that is unique. Click Next.
In the next window, you could select “Modify the table design option button” to view the table sections and modify the view of your table. But for the purposes of this tutorial, we’re not going to select this, so go ahead and hit Finish.
Now, exit out and open the newly created database called “Customer Roaster.” Go to File>Open, and find the file name “Customer Listing.” It will open in table format, which looks like a regular Excel spreadsheet. Now you can enter all the paper information that you have ready. Once you’re down just make sure you save the file. To enter new records in this mode, simply click on “New Record Button” (the button has a little triangle pointing to a start symbol) and use the tab key to move across fields.
Congratulations! You have just created a simple database in Microsoft Access.