Create a table in the design view

  1. Click the New button and double-click Design View.

    Access Table Design view

    Table Design View

  2. Enter a Field Name.
    Avoid using spaces in field names.
  3. Press tab to move to the Data Type column, click the drop-down arrow to select a data type.
    • Both text and memo data types contain ordinary typing, including letters, numbers & symbols.  The difference between text and memo is that text is limited to 255 characters.  Memo is, for all intents and purposes, unlimited (64,000 characters).
    • An OLE Object is a field type that allows inserting pieces from other applications, such as photos, and Word documents.
    • A hyperlink allows you to link easily to any file, anywhere on your computer or on the network, or to Internet resources, web sites, and email addresses.
    • Tip:  If you need to attach documents to a record (for example: attach resumes to an employee record), it is more efficient to link the record to the document with a hyperlink.
    • AutoNum is an automatically numbered field used exclusively to create primary keys. 
    • If you do not have a real world key in your table, create an AutoNum field.  Alternatively, you can wait until step 10 at which point Access will create one for you.
    • You should not use this field for ‘real world’ counters such as invoice number or report number, because you can never edit an AutoNum field.  Instead, use a number data type—you will create the ‘automatic’ numbering using controls on the form used for data entry.
  4. Optionally, enter a Field Description
  5. Optionally, enter additional parameters in the Field Properties area.  Many properties have drop-down lists which become active when you click in the field.  The properties include:
    • Caption:  the default label for the field on your forms.  Without a caption, the field name is used, and your field names probably don’t have spaces, which make them difficult to interpret.  Enter a caption for each field whose name is not clear or user-friendly.
    • Input mask:  If the field is a date/time or text field, click in the Input mask field and then click the builder ( …)button.  You can select, edit & create data entry formats for fields such as phone numbers, postal codes, Social Security numbers (USA), passwords, and a variety of date and time formats.
    • Format:   for some data types you can specify a display layout in the field properties.
    • Decimal places:  an available property for number and currency formats.
    • Field size:  the maximum number of characters a user can enter into the field.
    • Default value:   set it to the most common value for the field.  A user can press ctrl+alt+spacebar to input that value during data entry.
  6. Tips: Right-click a field and you can:
    • Choose Insert Rows or Delete Rows to add or remove fields.
    • Choose Build to insert a field you think may exist in one of the Table Wizard’s sample tables.
    • Choose Primary Key to designate a field as the table’s primary key.
  7. To close the table design view, click the close button (x) in the upper-right corner.
  8. When prompted to save click Yes.
  9. Enter a name for the table and click OK.
  10. If you did not designate a primary key (Step 6), you will be prompted to do so.  Click Yes and Access will create an AutoNum field which makes a perfectly functional primary key.
    • If you have a ‘natural’ or ‘real world’ key, and you simply forgot to specify it, click Cancel and return to step 6 to designate the primary key.
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