MS Access Introduction and Resources

As millions of users browse the web and interact with online applications, servers around the world execute millions of queries and store tons of records. Most of the websites you interact with use code written in programming languages such as PHP and ASP to store data in popular database management systems (DBMS) such as MySQL and MS SQL Server. Although these are quite popular, there are many other DBMSs that can also be used.

The DBMS used varies from application to application depending on the number of users or the platform you are developing applications for. For example, if you develop applications for the Android mobile phone, you will probably use SQLite. Other than the popular DBMSs mentioned, MS Access may be a great choice especially if you expect to have less than 100 elements. Take a look at this article to get valuable resources for MS Access.

Why MS Access

MS Access provides a versatile environment to quickly develop applications, store data, and query records just like many of the popular DBMS packages. If you expect a small number of simultaneous users and few data records (less than 100), then MS Access will be a great choice. MS Access is great for small businesses and individuals who need to quickly write an application to process and present the data. Some examples of applications using MS Access include inventory management systems, defect tracking applications, or quality assurance testing databases.

MS Access Resources

There is a ton of information about MS Access out on the web and in books to help you get a database up and running. Check out some of our favorite resources below.

Tutorials

  • Holowczak's Tutorial on MS Access: this tutorial, intended for those starting out with Access, goes through database setup, creating tables and forms, and running reports and queries.
  • Running an Access Query: this tutorial shows you how to run a basic query in Access.
  • SQL Queries in Access: this tutorial shows you how to run an SQL query for various versions of Access.
  • SQL Tutorial from W3Schools: this tutorial delves into the SQL syntax and provides an interface to run examples and try out your own code.
  • VB.NET Access Examples: some great examples of using VB.NET to process data stored in Access.
  • Convert Access to SQL Server: step-by-step tutorial on converting an Access database to SQL Server.
  • Access Application Development Tutorial: this tutorial walks through the development of software applications using Microsoft Access all the way from database planning to development of queries and GUI interfaces.
  • PHP and MS Access: never thought you could mix open source and Microsoft technologies? Think again! This tutorial shows you how to use PHP to connect to and query an Access database.
  • Understanding Access Database Structure: use this tutorial to understand how to find the objects, fields, and relationships within your own Access database.
  • Access Form Tutorial: learn how to create a form within Access using this tutorial.
  • Corrupt Access Files: there will be times when files on your system get corrupted including Access database files. Check out this tutorial to find out how to repair them.

Video Tutorials

Reference Guides

  • Common Access Functions: list of commonly used access functions and links to detailed explanations of these functions including parameters and return values.
  • MSDN Access VBA Reference: guide that contains overviews of Access database and programming concepts and examples.

Online Communities

  • Microsoft's Access Forum: get your MS Access questions answered from other users on Microsoft's online forum.
  • Dream.In.Code Access Forum: this forum features a community of hundreds of thousands of developers helping each other to answer technical questions for MS Access issues.
  • MS Access Newsgroup: this community on Google Groups allows you to post your questions and view answers to questions other developers have for MS Access issues.

Books

  • Access 2013 Bible (2013) by Alexander and Kusleika: this book extensively covers Microsoft Access topics such as report automation, database basics, SharePoint integration, and data analysis along with downloadable examples.
  • Access 2013 for Dummies (2013) by Fuller and Cook: this Dummies series of books discusses a wide range of MS Access topics including database planning, importing data, performance enhancements, and user interface creation.
  • Microsoft Access 2013 Programming by Example with VBA, XML, and ASP (2014) by Julitta Korol: even if you have not coded before, take a look at this book to learn how to create applications to interact with MS Access using ActiveX, ASP, and Visual Basic.
  • Microsoft Access 2010 Step by Step (2010) by Lambert and Cox: as the title implies, this book gives steps to complete various actions in Access 2010 and is geared toward the beginner.
  • Access Data Analysis Cookbook (2007) by Bluttman and Freeze: this book provides coding examples and sample queries to apply to real-world data analysis problems involving MS Access through a series of "recipes."

Summary

MS Access, like other DBMSs, provides an interface to store and query data stored in databases. It has a major presence on Windows through the Microsoft Office suite and is a fast way for users to create databases and develop simple applications. Even if you are a beginner, you can quickly create interfaces within Access itself. On the other hand, you can also use programming languages such as Visual Basic and even PHP to create even more customized GUIs. Take a look at the resources above to get your feet wet with MS Access.


Further Reading and Resources

We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to coding and database development:

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