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This chapter is from the book

Table Wizard

Unless you need a table that is exactly what the wizard can generate, I think the Table Wizard is a waste of time and space. It's really another side of the template-created, full-on applications you saw in the last section. Most wizards act on underlying objects, but there is nothing that underlies a table. It is the basic building block of an Access application. I think Microsoft included this just for consistency so it didn't have to answer the question, "Where are the table wizards?"

Again, there are some good lessons to be learned from running a few table-making wizards to see what Microsoft's engineers produce with you as a proxy. Here are the slightly simplified thought steps necessary to create a field in a table.

  1. Name a field for a table (such as Last Name).

  2. Decide what Data Type of information will go in the field (such as date, number, or text).

  3. Set the correct data type.

  4. Add any supplemental properties, such as format of the field, in the Properties section of table design view.

To start the table wizard, open the Day 3, then double-click the Create table using wizard hyperlink. Figure 3.5 shows the start of the Table Wizard.

Figure 3.5 Unlike other wizards, the Table Wizard acts upon no existing object, but creates the fundamental building block of Access, the table.

Start the table-making process by selecting either Business or Personal type tables from the option buttons at the middle left of the dialog box shown in Figure 3.5. Then choose a table and choose the fields to include by using the > or >> buttons. (The > button chooses the highlighted field, whereas the >> button chooses all fields.) Remove fields by using the < or << buttons. You can change field names here by choosing a field from the Fields in my new table list, and then clicking the Rename button. The Rename button will bring up the Rename dialog box, allowing you to change the name of the field. You also could wait to rename the field until after you've gotten the table finished if you want. I've chosen GuestID, Prefix, FirstName, LastName, and ChildrenNames from the Personal table Guests and clicked Next.

In this step, you can name the table whatever you want. The default name is the name of the table you selected. You also specify whether you want to select a primary key field or let Access do it for you. Remember, no matter who does it, you should have such a field (unique to every record) in each table. In this step I've chosen to let Access set the key field, then I clicked the Next button.

If you already have tables in your database, the wizard tries to determine the relationships your new table has to these other tables. You will learn more about establishing relationships to other tables in Day 4, "The Data Foundation—The Table." Because we don't want to relate our table to any other at this time, just click the Next button.

In the last screen in the wizard, you can specify to modify the table design, enter data directly into the table or launch a form wizard that creates a form based on your new table. Look at Figure 3.6. I chose to enter data directly into the table, which is the default option.

Try entering data directly into the table. Figure 3.7 shows the start of entering some data into a table.

Figure 3.6 The Table Wizard is bone simple. We're almost done.

Figure 3.7 Your finished guest table, ready for data entry.

In almost every instance, you will not want to enter data directly into a table, but instead you'll use a form. Also, for a preview of things to come in Day 4, click the design view button.

TIP

The most important part of table design, aside from the constant of always having a primary key, is making sure the data type is right for each field.

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