Introduction to Microsoft Access



One of the types of applications you can use on a network is a database. A database makes it possible in an intranet to have a central location of information so that any computer on the same network can access the database.

Probably the most common type of database used in a Microsoft Windows network is one of a Microsoft Access type. Fortunately, it is not particularly difficult to create and distribute a database on an intranet.

Creating a Database

Of course, to create a Microsoft Access database, you must have Microsoft Access:

When you create a Microsoft Access database, you should pay attention to the version you want that database to have. If you have computers that still use Microsoft Access 97, Microsoft Access 2000, Microsoft Access 2002, or Microsoft Access 2003, the database should have the extension .mdb. If you are creating the database using either Microsoft Access 2007 or Microsoft Access 2010, you can ask it to save the database in a version that is compatible with previous versions. To do that:

  • In Microsoft Access 2007, if you are starting a database, when giving it a name, add the file extension .mdb (if you don't add the extionsion, accdb will be used automatically)

Adding an Extension

  • In Microsoft Access 2007, if you have already created the database, to convert it to a previous version, click the Office Button, position the mouse on Save As, and click Access 2000 Database

Converting a database to a previous version


  • If you are using Microsoft Access 2010, when creating a database, when giving it a name, add the file extension .mdb (if you don't add the extionsion, accdb will be used automatically)

Adding an Extension


Distributing the Database

When it comes to distributing a Microsoft Access database, you may have some issues to deal with, not because it is difficult. One of the concerns has to do with the other computers. If the other computers don't have Microsoft Access, you would need something called the Access Runtime. This is probably the cheapest solution but it may present some challenges. We will not deal with that here.

Another solution is to install Microsoft Access on each computer. This may be the most expensive solution but it is the easiest. Most companies use that solution because it is easy either to purchase many copies or get many licenses of Microsoft Office Professional, which includes Microsoft Access.

If you want to follow the instructions in this exercise, you can use our Bethesda Car Rental database.

  1. To start, using a USB drive or any other way (CD, DVD, etc), copy your database to that portable drive
  2. In the server or the computer of your choice (normally, the database can be located on any computer that is a member of your network) where you want the database to be located, create a folder. For our example, we create a folder named common
  3. Copy the database file into that folder
  4. Access the drive that holds that folder.
    To share it, right-click it and click Share (this is a screenshot from Microsoft Windows Server 2008)
    Sharing a Folder
  5. Click the arrow of the combo box in the File Sharing window and select Everyone:
  6. After selecting Everyone, click Add
  7. Click the down-pointing arrow on the right side of Everyone:
    • If you are sharing from Microsoft Windows Server 2008, select Contributor
    • If you are sharing from Microsoft Windows 7, select Read/Write
  8. Click Share. If you receive a message box, click Continue.
    You should receive a message box telling that the sharing was successful
  9. Click Close
  10. In another computer where you want to access the database, open a file utility such as Windows Explorer
  11. Click Network
  12. Click the name of the computer to show its shared folders:
  13. Open the folder that contains the database
  14. Right-click the name of the database, position the mouse on Send To, and click Desktop (Create Shortcut)
    Send To
    As an alternative, you could right-click the database and click Create Shortcut, then copy that shoftcut where you want the database to be accessible
  15. To open the database from that computer, double-click the shortcut

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