A few years ago (the distant past in computer time), creating a database structure from scratch involved first analyzing your needs and then laying out the database design on paper. You would decide what information you needed to track and how to store it in the database. Creating the database structure could be a lot of work, and after you had created it and entered data, making changes could be difficult. Wizards have changed this process. Committing yourself to a particular database structure is no longer the big decision it once was. By using the Database Wizard, you can create a dozen database applications in less time than it used to take to sketch the design of one on paper. Access wizards might not create exactly the database application you want, but they can quickly create something very close.
In this exercise, you will use the Database Wizard to create a new database structure. The new database, in this case, will contain the structure for a contact management database.
BE SURE TO start Access before beginning this exercise.
If the New File task pane is not displayed, open it by clicking the New button on the Database toolbar.
In the Templates area of the task pane, click On my computer , and then click the Databases tab to display the available templates.
The Database Wizard uses predefined templates to create fairly sophisticated database applications. In addition to the templates provided with Access, if you are connected to the Internet, you will find additional templates and other resources by following the link to Templates on Microsoft.com that is on the New File task pane.
Double-click Contact Management .
The File New Database dialog box appears so that you can provide a name for your new database and specify where to store it.
The default folder for storing Access database files is My Documents. You can change this default to any other folder by clicking Options on the Tools menu when a database file is open, entering a new path in the Default database folder box on the General tab, and clicking OK.
Navigate to the My Documents\Microsoft Press\Office System 2003 SBS\CreateNew folder, in the File name box, replace Contact Management1 with Contacts , and then click Create .
Naming conventions for Access database files follow those for Microsoft Windows files. A file name can contain up to 215 characters including spaces, but creating a file name that long is not recommended. File names cannot contain the following characters: \ / : * ? < > . The extension for an Access database file is .mdb .
The database window is displayed, and then you see the first page of the Database Wizard, which tells you the type of information that will be stored in this database.
This page requires no input from you, so click Next to move to the second page of the Database Wizard .
This page lists the three tables that will be included in the Contacts database. The box on the right lists the fields you might want to include in the table selected in the box on the left. Required fields have a check mark in their check boxes. Optional fields are italic. You can select the check box of an optional field to include it in the selected table.
Click each table name, and browse through its list of fields, just to see what is available.
Indicate that you want to include all the selected fields in the three tables by clicking Next to move to the next page of the wizard.
The next page of the wizard appears, displaying a list of predefined styles that determine what the elements of the database will look like.
Whenever the Back button is active (not gray) at the bottom of a wizard s page, you can click it to move back through previous pages and change your selections. If the Finish button is active, you can click it at any time to tell a wizard to do its job with no further input from you. Most of the options set by a wizard can be modified later, so clicking Finish does not mean that whatever the wizard creates is cast in stone.
Click each of the styles to see what they look like.
Click Blends , and click Next .
Click each of the report styles to see what they look like.
Click Bold , and click Next .
Change the proposed database name to Contacts , leave the Yes, I d like to includea picture check box cleared, and click Next .
The Next button is unavailable on this page, indicating that this is the wizard s last page. By default, the Yes, start the database check box is selected, and the Display Help on using a database check box is cleared.
Leave the default settings as they are, and click Finish .
The process of creating a database can take from several seconds to severalminutes. While the wizard creates the database, an alert box tells you what is happening and how much of the process is complete. When the wizard finishes its work, it opens the newly created Contacts database with the switchboard displayed.
The switchboard opens, and the Contacts database window is minimized. (You can see its title bar in the lower left corner of the Access window.)
At the right end of the Main Switchboard window s title bar, click the Close button.
At the right end of the Contacts database window title bar, click the Close button to close the database.