Online Access Training
Of the four core programs in the Microsoft Office Suite, Access is an application seldom used by the home user. Most users of MS Office are either unaware of what Access is or think that it is too complicated a program to effectively use in a home or small business setting. The fact that Access is only available in the Professional version of MS Office also ensures that many users do not have the chance to see Access in action.
Access is a database application that is often described as “accessible” by its users. It is described as accessible because the application is easy to use and you do not need to know everything about program to use it. Access is one of the easiest databases to use and is a great way to start learning about databases in general. However, given that many people are not aware of what a database is or can do, the need for some free online tutorials has generated many websites dedicated to offering free tutorials on the subject of using and implementing an Access database at home and in the small office.
The Access tutorials discussed below represent the Top 5 places to go to learn Access for free. Each of these websites was chosen because they offer something significantly different from the others and allow the aspiring Access guru to choose which site suits him/her best.
#1 – Office Online Access Courses
There is no better place to learn how to use Access than from the source itself. Microsoft’s Office Online Access Courses are not only comprehensive, but could completely replace any book you could buy or any classroom course you could take at a local college.
Keep in mind, though, that these courses are designed for elementary education on Access. You will not be a database or Access guru after completing these courses. They provide you with enough information to get you started using Access and assist you in understanding the basic concepts of databases and how databases can be used for home or business applications.
One downside to these courses is that they are not designed to be a reference for when you have one specific question about something in Access. They are long, complete, and sometimes tedious to watch if you have even a little bit of knowledge about databases or Access. At 20 to 50 minutes in length each, they can be a real time commitment and are clearly aimed at those with little to no knowledge of Access.
#2 – GCF LearnFree.org Access Tutorials
GCF LearnFree.org’s Access Tutorials are an excellent alternative to the long videos found at the Microsoft site. Balancing between comprehensiveness and ease-of-use, the tutorials found here are likely to get you started with Access much more quickly than other free online tutorials.
Use of these tutorials requires registration but then the learner gains access to many text/graphics and video tutorials on making Access work for you. The tutorials found here are not quite as comprehensive as the courses found at the Microsoft site but they also do not force you to sit through long videos learning things you may already know.
One nice feature of the Access tutorials found at GCF LearnFree.org is the layout of the text/graphic tutorials. Coupled with large screenshots and useful pointers that show you the most important parts of the screen, these tutorials allow you to skip over information you already know about Access and get to the heart of what you want to learn.
As an alternative to the courses from the publisher of Access, these tutorials rank a close second, especially for those new to Access or those who have a little bit of knowledge about the application or about databases in general.
#3 – Baycon Group Microsoft Access Tutorials – Free and Online
The Baycon Group website hosts a multitude of tutorials for the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. As with its tutorials for other programs, the tutorials for Access are clear, concise, and get you on your way to learning databases quickly and efficiently.
The Baycon Group Microsoft Access Tutorials break learning the application into seven major lessons, each of which is further broken down into specific subjects such as “Understanding Tables” in lesson two to “Modify a Report” in lesson seven.
The best feature of Baycon Group’s Access Tutorials is the learning approach the website’s publishers take with teaching the lessons. No assumptions are made as to the learner’s understanding of either Access or other aspects of learning the application. For example, lesson one contains all the periphery subjects such as “The Microsoft Office Button” and “The Ribbon.” This is invaluable to those new to Access because it eliminates the need to go back to old lessons to relearn something that is being discussed in the current lesson. Those learners already familiar with these concepts from using other Microsoft Office Suite applications can confidently skip over these lessons and jump right in to more advanced Access lessons and subjects.
#4 – EverythingAccess.com Access Tutorials
As its name implies, EverythingAccess.com is a website exclusively dedicated to Access and databases. With such as strong and narrowly defined focus, you can be sure that this site contains just what you need. More than just a tutorial website, EverythingAccess.com contains a wealth of other features such as news, downloads, and products & services.
Keep in mind, though, that this site is not exclusively dedicated to Access. Here you will find information on all versions of Access. In addition, this site is geared more toward those Access users who have some experience with the application and need help learning intermediate and advanced Access topics.
As a tutorial site, EverythingAccess.com provides its tutorials non-sequentially so don’t go to this site if you want to be walked through from elementary to advanced topics. This site is, however, a great place to go for reference or when you need to know how to do something specific in Access. For basic Access tutorials, use the sites mentioned above and then go to EverythingAccess.com when you have a feel for creating and using databases and want to graduate beyond the basics.
#5 – Allen Browne’s Tips for Microsoft Access
The tutorials found at Allen Browne’s Tips for Microsoft Access are just that; they are tips and not tutorials per se. However, this site does offer something the other sites do not once you are comfortable with the basics of creating and using databases and you have mastered queries and reports.
Allen Browne’s Tips is a site that is organized more as a reference site than a tutorial site. Just as you use a dictionary for reference rather than reading it from cover to cover, Allen Browne can help you with Access syntax and help you work over some of Access’ quirks and annoyances. Still, the site is well organized but is aimed at the intermediate to advanced user rather than the beginner.
One notable feature of the site is the organization of the lessons. The most useful lessons for intermediate and advanced Access users are “Tips for Casual Users” and “Tips for Serious Users.” This site also contains “Tips for Programmers” and even a “Flaws in Access” section where the quirks and bugs of Access are discussed along with workarounds and fixes. If you are looking for advanced information on Access, this is the site for you.
All of the free Access tutorial sites mentioned here take a different approach to learning databases and offer something for everyone along the continuum of rank beginner to expert user. Getting started with Access is easy. Start with the tutorials at the Microsoft Office Online site and see if the tutorials there work for you. If not, move on the more reference-style sites such as those found at GCF LearnFree.org, Baycon Group, and EverythingAccess.com. When you have graduated from these tutorials, head on over to Allen Browne’s site learn more advanced and powerful features of Access. However you learn Access online, it beats spending money on books and costly courses that may or may not take into account your current level of Access or database knowledge.
This post is part of the series: The Top 20 Free Microsoft Office 2007 Tutorials on the Web
- The Best Free Online Word 2007 Tutorials
- The Best Free Online Excel Tutorials
- The Top 5 Free PowerPoint 2007 Tutorials on the Web
- The Best Free Online Microsoft Access Tutorials