Learning Resources

Wizard and Design view


A screen of the Table wizard
The wizard asks questions and acts according to your answers.

Access comes with wizards that step you through the process of creating tables. Wizards are particularly useful if you prefer to be prompted for the items to include in your table.

The wizards will ask you a series of questions about your tables, so it's a good idea to have that information ready as you create tables.

Fields of a table in design view
Fields in Design view

You can also create a table in Design view, or you can use Design view to change a table's field names and settings.

Some people like to use a wizard to get a head start on a table, and then switch to Design view to refine their table.

Other people like to work from scratch in Design view, because this method gives the most control over the characteristics of the table and its fields as they are set up.

Design view is a good way to create a table when you know exactly how you want to set up your fields. It doesn't step you through the process like a wizard, though, so it will require more tinkering.

Typing in data to create a table
Entering data to create a table

The quickest and least controlled way to create a table is in Datasheet view, by simply entering data and naming fields as you go. Datasheet view looks somewhat like a worksheet, and you can type data directly into its cells as you can with a worksheet.

Access will apply some table settings based on the data that you enter this way.

You might use this method when you need to set up a basic table and enter data quickly. Unlike using a wizard or Design view, however, this method doesn't enable you to control many details about your tables. You could switch to Design view and refine your basic table. You would want to refine the table design before entering a lot of data, in case changing the settings affects the data already entered.

If entering data quickly is a priority for you, and you have lots of data to enter, consider creating a form based on a table. Forms can provide instructional text, drop-down boxes, default choices, and other aids to make data entry easier and more consistent. For a lesson about Access forms, see the course "Forms follow function."

Note    Changing a field's data type after you enter data in a table causes a potentially lengthy process of data conversion when you save the table, especially if the table contains a large amount of data. If the data type for data already stored in a field conflicts with the data type to which you've changed, you may lose some data.