Chapter 5. Building Tables
Chapters 1, "Getting Started," 2, "Database Design," and 3, "Understanding Relationships," explained in general terms how to conceive and construct tables in a relational database, as well as how to develop relationships among them. Chapter 4, "Establishing Relationships," pivoted the discussion toward Access explicitly and described how to formally establish relationships in the program.
Building on these basics, Chapter 5 focuses on the specifics of creating tables in Access. The process includes topics I have mentioned in a general context, such as designating primary keys, assigning data types, and naming fields. But much of the discussion is on new subjects, notably field properties such as Field Size and Validation Rule.
Tables are the foundation of your database, and they can be compared to other essential cornerstones. The United States of America has existed for more than 200 years; yet its Constitution, upon which its entire political apparatus rests, has changed remarkably little. Other nations have had constitutions the size of books that are routinely discarded as their governments collapse. But the U.S. Constitution, with just 5,000 words or so, continues to serve America well. This is because it was designed well in the first place.
As the Constitution is the foundation of American political life, so are Access tables the bedrock of your database. They will constantly expand as values are continually addedjust as Federal regulations multiply, underpinned by the Constitution. And as with the U.S. Constitution, every so often you will want to amend a table by adding new fields or editing its field properties. But if the basic structure of your tables is initially well designed and remains as elegant, spare, and permanent as the U.S. Constitution, your database will thrive.