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Should I Learn Access 2007?

written by: John Garger•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/15/2010

Unlike the other programs available in the Microsoft Office 2007 Suite, Access 2007 is largely unused by home users. Here is a simple introduction to Microsoft’s desktop database application.

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    Among a variety of other programs, Access 2007 is only available in the “Professional" version of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite of software. More popular programs such as Word 2007, Excel 2007, and PowerPoint 2007 make up the core applications of the suites. Access 2007, however, is a powerful program from which many home and small business users could benefit if they took the time to discover its power.

    Access 2007 is a desktop database application that is typically defined as “accessible." Access’ accessibility is so high that it is possible to gain benefits from the application without having to know everything about the program or everything about databases in general.

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    What is Microsoft Access 2007?

    As a database program, Access 2007 is capable of storing, manipulating, and retrieving data in customizable ways called queries. A query is nothing more than a request for information from a database.

    Many programs are capable of information storage and retrieval. Even Word 2007 and especially Excel 2007 stores and retrieves data. However, Access 2007 is capable of multi-dimensional queries. Think of how Excel 2007 is laid out. You have columns (A,B,C…) across the top of the screen and your have rows (1,2,3…) along the left wide of the screen. Because of this layout, Excel is capable of only storing data two-dimensionally.

    Access, with its many functions and multiple layouts, is capable of multi-dimensional storage and retrieval. This means that the tables within Access can relate to one another in more than two dimensions. The result is a robust data storage and retrieval solution that also allows custom data entry and modification through user-built forms. Essentially, you can enter and edit data through any interface you create based on your needs.

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    How Can I Use Microsoft Access 2007?

    Admittedly, home users will not find too much use for Access for very simple applications. Although, anytime you have lots of information where instant storage and retrieval are convenient, Access 2007 may be able to help. For example, if you have an extensive DVD collection that you would like to catalogue and search according to release year, genre, actor, director, motion picture award, or anything else, creating an Access 2007 database would be far superior to Excel 2007’s two-dimensionality.

    Small businesses can use Access 2007 to keep track of products, inventory, customer information, employee information, or anything else necessary for a business to function. Access 2007 is also often the backbone of an Internet website, serving dynamic information to web visitors. For example, coupled with Active Server Pages (ASP) or ASP.NET, web developers can dynamically serve content in web pages to create a custom experience to potential customers.

    For example, Access 2007 can be used to store and retrieve a catalog of products on an e-commerce website. At the same time, it can keep track of customer information such as login name, password, and credit card numbers in the same database. In a completely different application, it can be used to deliver custom webpage content based on visitor preferences such as links to articles, other websites, or even to files and programs requested by the user.

    The learning curve for newcomers to Access 2007 is not steep, a testament to the application’s accessibility. But don’t let the program’s accessibility fool you. Access is a powerful database capable of complex queries and sophisticated solutions to large data processing and retrieval applications. Its accessibility is due to its simple design and interface, not due to its limited capability or underpowered options.

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    Conclusion

    Access 2007 is the database program included in the Microsoft Office 2007 suite of software. It is a powerful yet simple-to-learn and accessible program suitable for both large and small data collection, storage, and retrieval. Coupled with ASP and ASP.NET, it is an important component in delivering dynamic web content to website visitors. Although other database alternatives exist, Access 2007 remains the newest and most comprehensive desktop database solution available to a variety of users.

Learn the Basic Terms and Concepts Behind Access 2007

Access 2007 is a powerful database program that is one of the core applications of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite. This series discusses the major terms and concepts of Access 2007 making no assumptions about the knowledge of the reader. If you are completely new to Access, this series is for you.
  1. Should I Learn Access 2007?
  2. Database Basics with Microsoft Access 2007
  3. The Differences between Flat and Relational Access Databases
  4. Creating and Deleting Tables from an Access 2007 Database