Microsoft Access: Lesson 1 - Introduction to Miscrosoft Access

Microsoft Access Help


Context-Sensitive Help

Context-sensitive help refers to help provided on a specific item on the screen. Such help is provided for objects that are part of Microsoft Access interface. It includes objects like buttons on toolbars, an object opened such as a table, a query, a form, or a report, etc. Context-sensitive help is also referred to as “What’s This?”.

To get context-sensitive help, press Shift + F1. In addition to the traditional arrow, the mouse cursor would be accompanied by a question mark. To get help on an object, you can just click it.

Another type of context sensitive help is provided in various dialog boxes. They display a button with a question mark on the left of the system Close button. To use this type of help, click the question mark button and click the item on which you need help.


Practical Learning: Using Context-Sensitive Help

  1. Press Shift + F1 and notice the new mouse cursor
  2. On the Database toolbar, position the mouse on the Open button
  3. Click
  4. After viewing help, press Esc
  5. To get context-sensitive help on a dialog box, on the main menu, click Insert -> Form
  6. In the New Form dialog box, click the What’s This button 
  7. Click the list box in the middle right side of the dialog

  8. After viewing help, click the What’s This button again and click the combo box, in the bottom right side of the dialog box
  9. After viewing help, press Esc and click Cancel





The Office Assistant

The Office Assistant is a “character” or a “virtual person” whose main job is to provide instant help when using a Microsoft Office product. The Office Assistant is usually on top of Microsoft Access while you are working. If you do not like the way it looks, you can click it and click Options. This would present you with the Office Assistant property sheet in which the Gallery property page allows you to select a different Office Assistant. The Options property page allows you to configure the behavior and responsiveness of the Office Assistant.

To use its service, just click it, then type a word, a sentence, or a question. After pressing Enter, a primary list of possible matches would be displayed. If you do not find what is close to your request, you can use the available options or change your request.

If you do not want the Office Assistant on the screen while you are working, you can hide it. To do this, in Microsoft Access 97, you can click its Close button. In Microsoft Access 2000, on the main menu, you can click Help -> Hide Office Assistant. To display it when it is not available, on the main menu, you can click Help -> Show the Office Assistant.

Practical Learning: Using the Office Assistant

  1. If the Office Assistant is not displaying on the screen, on the main menu, click Help -> Show Office Assistant
    To use the Office Assistant, click it
  2. Type Create Table
  3. Click Search
  4. On the list that appears, click Create a table
  5. On the HTML Help window that appears, read the text and click one of the blue links
  6. After reading it, on the toolbar of the HTML Help window, click the Back button
  7. Click another link
  8. After reading it, close the HTML Help window that opened but do not close Microsoft Access
  9. In Microsoft Access, click the Office Assistant again. Notice that the last request re-displays. Click Search
  10. This time, click See More…
  11. In the second page, click another link such as Create A Field For Text Or Memos
  12. Do not perform but read the instructions. After reading the instructions, close the HTML Help window

Online Help

Online help is a separate program that provides help on Microsoft Access. There are two main types of online help:

  • Microsoft Access ships with help available from the main menu. To use it, you can click Help to display the list or available categories. The most direct way of accessing help consists of clicking Microsoft Access Help. This would bring up the Office Assistant and you would proceed as we did above
  • If you have access to a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) CD-ROM or DVD, which is the help system provided to programmers who use Microsoft technologies (such as Microsoft Visual Studio), it includes a section on Microsoft Office, which internally includes a sub-category on Microsoft Access. On that help system and in the left frame, you can expand the link that displays Office. Then visit links to Microsoft Access or Microsoft Office:

It is important to note that help in Microsoft Access 2000 and above is different than help in Microsoft Access 97. In the 97 version, help was provided through a system called WinHelp. After that, Microsoft decided to start using HTML Help. Like everything in computer applications, each of these help systems has its advantages and disadvantages. Over all, the process of getting help remains the same but it is displayed differently.

Internet Help

Although help on the Internet tends to be disparate, it is still the widest form of help available. This is provided in web sites, web pages, newsgroups, support groups, etc. As the publisher of the database environment, it is only natural to refer to the Microsoft corporate web site first for help. The Microsoft web site is divided in categories. A web site is dedicated to Microsoft Access at You can get help at Probably the most visited site of Microsoft for developers of all Microsoft products is This last site provides a tree-based list that presents items in categories.

Microsoft Access Exit

Since Microsoft Access shares the same functionality you are probably familiar with from using other applications, you can close it easily.

  • To close Microsoft Access, from the menu bar, you can click File -> Exit
  • To close Microsoft Access from the system icon, you can either click it and click Close, or you can double-click its system icon
  • To close Microsoft Access from its title bar, you can click its Close button
  • To close Microsoft Access like any regular window of the Microsoft Windows applications, you can press Alt + F4
  • To close Microsoft Access using mnemonics, you can press Alt, F, X.

Practical Learning: Closing Microsoft Access

  • To close Microsoft Access, click the Close button on the top right corner of the window

MOUS Topics

S4 Use the Microsoft Office Assistant
S5 Select an object using the Objects Bar



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  1. If you have Internet connection, go to
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  3. During your search, change different options and mileage and verify how the price changes

US Senate

  1. Go to
  2. Review the names of senators and all available information about them
  3. Find the name of the Chairman of the Finance Committee.

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