Some definitions have been taken or adopted from the Microsoft Access 2002 glossary available online at assistance/HA010562951033.aspx.

action query

A query that copies or changes data. (Compare with select query.)

aggregate function

A function such as Sum, Count, or Avg used to calculate totals.

alternate key

A candidate key that is not used as a primary key.

arithmetic operator

A symbol (such as + or -) that tells you to perform an arithmetic operation.

artificial primary key

A key created solely for the purpose of serving as a primary key. In Access, artificial primary keys usually have an AutoNumber data type.


A data type usually used as a primary key. By default, each new record in the field stores a unique number that is one higher than the previously entered record.

bound control

A control used in a form or report to display a field in an underlying table.

business rules

Restrictions on the values that can be entered in a database based on the needs of an organization. Business rules are often enforced through the use of validation rules.

calculated field

A field that displays the results of an expression.

candidate key

A field whose values can be used to uniquely identify a database record. A primary key is selected from the available candidate keys.

combo box

A control used on a form that enables you to either type a value or click the combo box to display a list and then select an item from it.

command button

A button that performs an action when clicked.

comparison operator

An operator that compares two values, such as > (greater than) and < (less than).

composite primary key

A primary key that includes more than one field.


A way to tie together various elements in an Access expression. The symbol for concatenation is an ampersand (&).


Value such as Yes, No, TRue, and False that do not change.


An object such as a textbox, check box, or option group used to display data or choices, perform an action, or make the user interface easier to view.


Limits placed on a query or advanced filter that enable you to retrieve and view the specific records you want to work with.

crosstab query

A query that calculates a sum, average, count, or other type of total on records, and then groups the result by two types of information, one down the left side of the datasheet and the other across the top.


A data type that is useful for calculations involving money.

current record

The record that currently has the focus.

data integrity

A set of rules that ensures the validity, consistency, and accuracy of the data in a database.

data tables

The main tables in a database where most of your data is stored.

data type

A characteristic of a field that determines what kind of data it can store.


Data in a table, form, or query that is displayed in a row-and-column format.

default value

A value that is automatically entered in a field or control when you add a new record. You can either accept the default value or override it by typing a value.

delimited text file

A text file that contains values separated by commas, tabs, semicolons, or some other punctuation. A delimited text file is a useful format for transferring data to or from Access.

detail section

The main section of most forms and reports. It usually contains controls bound to the fields in the record source, but it can also have unbound controls, such as labels that identify a field's contents.


To insert a copy of an OLE object from another application. The source of the object can be any application that supports object linking and embedding. Changes to an embedded object are not reflected in the original object.


An action taken by a user that Access can recognize.


To output data and database objects to another database, spreadsheet, or file format so another database or program can use the data or database objects.


Any combination of operators, constants, functions, and names of fields, controls, and properties that evaluates to a single value.


A column in an Access table.

field list

A window in Design view that lists all the fields in the underlying record source, such as a table or query.

field selector

A small box or bar that you click to select an entire column in a datasheet.


A set of criteria applied to data to display a subset of the data or to sort the data.

fixed-width text file

A file containing data in which each field is a constant width.

flat file

A database system contained in a single table and without structured relationships.


Wherever your next action will take place, as indicated by the cursor or highlighting.

foreign key

The field on the "many" side of a one-to-many relationship that contains matching data.


The way values are displayed or printed, as opposed to the way they are stored.


A procedure that returns a value based on a calculation.

grid (Datasheet view)

Vertical and horizontal lines that visually divide rows and columns of data into cells in a table, query, or form. You can show and hide these grid lines.

grid (Design view)

An arrangement of vertical and horizontal dotted and solid lines that helps you position controls precisely when you design a form or report.


Element in an expression that refers to the value of a field, control, or property.


To copy data from a text file, spreadsheet, or database table into an Access table. You can use the imported data to create a new table, or you can add it to an existing table that has a matching data structure.


A structure that speeds up sorting and searching for data.

inner join

A join in which records from two tables are combined in a query's results only if values in the joined fields match.

input mask

A template that commonly contains parentheses, periods, hyphens, and other marks and helps you control where data can be entered in a field, the kind of data that can be entered, and the number of characters allowed.


An association between a field in one table and a field of similar data type in another table. Records that don't match can be included or excluded, depending on the type of join. and

See also [inner join]
See also [outer join]

join table

A table that resolves a many-to-many relationship between a pair of tables.


A field that plays a specific role within a table


A control that displays descriptive text, such as a title, a caption, or instructions, on a form or report. Labels might or might not be attached to another control.


The orientation of the printed page when the width is greater than the length. A landscape orientation includes more fields but fewer records than a portrait orientation.

legacy database

A database that has been in existence and used for an extended period of time.

linked object

An object created in a source file and inserted into a target (or destination) file, while maintaining a connection between the two files. The linked object in the target file is updated when the source file is updated, and the source file is updated when the linked object in the target file is updated.

linking table

See [join table]
list box

A control that displays a list of values you can choose from.

literal values

Names, dates, numbers, and so on that Access evaluates exactly as they are written.

lookup field

A field that displays values "looked up" from a field in another table.

lookup table

See [validation table]

An action or set of actions you can use to automate tasks.

macro group

A collection of related macros that are stored together under a single macro name.

main form

The primary form that contains one or more subforms.

many-to-many relationship

A relationship between a pair of tables in which a single record in the first table can be related to many records in the second table, and a single record in the second table can be related to many records in the first table.


A data type used for large amounts of text.

multipart field

A field that contains more than one type of value.

multivalue field

A field that stores more than one value in each row.

natural primary key

A field that already exists in a table because it defines a specific trait and is designated as the primary key.

navigation buttons

The buttons that you use to move through records, located in the lower-left corner of datasheets, forms, and reports.

normal form

A set of rules that can be used to test a table structure to ensure its soundness.


To minimize the duplication of data in a relational database through effective table design. The process involves breaking down tables with redundant data into smaller tables.

null value

A missing or unknown value.

See also [zero-text string]


A data type used to store values on which you will want to perform arithmetic.

object selector

A box on the Formatting toolbar in Design view of a form or report that you can use to select the various elements within it.

OLE (Object Linking and Embedding)

Processes that permit the sharing of files and objects between applications. For example, OLE permits you to link or embed a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet in a form or report.

OLE object

A data type used for linking and embedding objects in Access, such as spreadsheets and pictures.

one-to-many relationship

A relationship between a pair of tables in which a single record in one table can be related to many records in a second table, but a single record in the second table can be related to only one record in the first table


Symbol that tells you what action to perform in an expression.

option group

A frame that can contain check boxes, toggle buttons, and option buttons on a form or report. An option group presents all alternatives, from which you choose a single value.

outer join

A join between two tables in which all the records from one table and only those records with matching data in the joined field in the second table are included in the query's results.

parameter query

A query that, when run, displays one or more dialog boxes that prompt you for criteria for retrieving records.


The orientation of the printed page in which the length is greater than the width. A portrait orientation includes more records but fewer fields than a landscape orientation.

primary key

One or more fields that uniquely identify each record in a table.


A characteristic of an item.

property sheet

A window used to view or modify the properties of various objects, such as tables, queries, fields, forms, reports, and controls.

RDBMS (relational database management system)

A software program used to create and modify a relational database.


A row in a table.

referential integrity

A system of rules that Microsoft Access uses to ensure that relationships between records in related tables are valid and that you don't accidentally delete or change related data.

relational database

A type of database that stores values in tables.


An association between two tables that have fields with matching data.

select query

A query that retrieves a set of records from one or more tables and displays them in a datasheet. Compare with action query.

snaked column report

A multicolumn report that "snakes" data up and down the page.

SQL (Structured Query Language)

A database language used to create and modify relational databases.


A form contained within another form or a report.

subform control

A control that displays a subform in a form or a subform.

subset table

Data tables that contain fields that describe a specific subject and, thus, are better suited to their own tables.


A form that consists almost entirely of buttons that initiate tasks and help you get to work quickly.

tab control

A control that contains several pages, each with a tab, and each containing controls such as text boxes. When you click a tab, that page becomes active.

text box

A control used to display data from a record source.

text qualifier

Punctuation, such as quotation marks, used in a delimited text file that maintains values as single text strings.

text string

An array of characters.

toggle button

A control used to provide on/off options on a form or report. It can display either text or a picture.


The set of tools available in Design view to add controls to a form or report.

truncated text

Text that has inadvertently been shortened because of a lack of space.

unbound control

A control that is not connected to a field in an underlying table or query. An unbound control is often used to display descriptive text or decorative pictures.


To accept changes to data in a record.

validation rule

A property that defines the values that can be entered in a field or record. Validation rules are often created to enforce business rules.

validation table

A table used to validate data entered into other tables.


Data entered at the intersection of a row or column.

VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)

A programming language built into Microsoft Office that allows automation of tasks and creation of new features.


A character used in an expression that acts a placeholder for other characters.


A data type that has only two possible values, Yes and No. These values can also be expressed as true and False, or -1 and 0.

zero-length string

A string that contains no characters. You can use a zero-length string to indicate that you know there's no value for a field. You enter a zero-length string by typing two double quotation marks with no space between them (" ").

Hands-On Microsoft Access(c) A Practical Guide to Improving Your Access Skills
Hands-On Microsoft Access: A Practical Guide to Improving Your Access Skills
ISBN: 0321245458
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 169
Authors: Bob Schneider © 2008-2017.
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