When choosing your business software it is important that all components fit your business needs in some way. Microsoft Office is the worlds most popular business suite and contains at it's core Word, Outlook, Excel and Access. Word will cater for document word processing needs. Outlook is mainly used for email, but also has the ability to set tasks, reminders and schedules. Excel is a spreadsheet and used for manipulating figures and is useful for accounting needs. Access is a database and is used for storing large amounts of information. You can pull data from the database by setting criteria. For example you may want to know how many items you sold in Europe this week. MS Access makes this task very easy.
Like any piece of technology, learning Microsoft Access takes time. There are numerous Microsoft Access tutorials out there, but often you are still left struggling. Any good Microsoft Access training program should break you in gently. It should talk about what a database is and the components of the MS Access interface. There is no point in creating a screen when the basics of how to use the interface have not been covered.
There are four key components of any Access database. They are tables, forms, queries and reports. Beyond this there are macros and programming code modules, but this is something that is not vital to creating a database. As long as you have an understanding of the four key components I mentioned you will be okay. Database theory should also be covered within a Microsoft Access training course as it is important to be aware of this. Imagine you have a purchase order and cannot link it to any customer. This is the downside of having not learned database theory.
Tables are used for storing the information that you enter. You may have a few records or even thousands in the table. You could enter data directly into the table or create what is known as a form. This will give you a presentable user interface in which to enter information. This is the preferred way of entering data into the database. Basic forms can be created quickly by using the in built wizards. Creating more advanced forms however is a skill that takes time to learn. When designing a solution there are main forms, sub forms, split forms etc to consider.
You would use a query to pull data from your database. You may for example want a list of customers in California. A query can give you this instantly. You could base a form or a report on the query results. Again, queries can be easy when starting out, but can get considerably complex. There are action queries, cross tab queries, general queries etc. At times you may wish to use functions in queries to give you a particular snapshot of your data.
When producing output for printing MS Access uses a built in report generator. This is actually quite powerful, but just like forms is a skill worth mastering. Reports can be simple or get complicated depending on the business need.
It is worth learning Microsoft Access, especially in tough economic times. Getting the correct Microsoft Access training will not only be beneficial to your business, but will also give you a universally used skill.