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Microsoft Access Application Design

Planning a Microsoft Access Database Application:

To design a Microsoft Access Database application, you will first need to define the purpose of the application by determining how it will be used and what are the results that it must produce. You can gather this information by talking to the people who will be using the application. You will want to list the tasks that the users must perform with the database and gather together examples of the current paper forms and reports that they use and produce.

This previous article: Planning the Relational Database covers the initial stages of designing the actual relational database design, which should be covered before designing the Microsoft Access database user interface.

A variety of options are available for you to consider when you design a Microsoft Access application interface. After analyzing the database users need and workflow, you can then decide how users should be able to navigate through your application and complete their tasks, and whether you should work from within one Microsoft Access form, or move from one form to another. You can use standard Windows components that users will be familiar with, such as buttons, menus, text boxes, list and combo boxes and scroll bars. Some of the customised navigation tools that you can incorporate into your application design include command buttons, custom menu commands and custom toolbar buttons. You can also design an interface that controls how the database application will start-up and what parts of the database application are available to individuals or groups of the database users. Other elements of the graphical user interface that you should consider are the layout that you should use, how you will group particular objects and the logic that you will apply to allow the user to move from one object to another.

As you will be designing database queries, forms, reports and other objects based upon your database table design, it is extremely important that you take time up front to plan a sound database structure and it's relationships. Problems that occur in the initial database table designs can negatively filter throughout an application. As you analyze the data that the users will be working with, separate it into different subjects, each of which will become an entity. You can eliminate data redundancy and inconsistent data dependency by normalizing your data to ensure that all tables are in at least third normal form

After you have designed the tables and added some sample data, you're ready to create queries to display the data in your forms. By examining the forms that you will need to produce, you can determine how the queries should be designed. Then, by creating queries, you can test your table structures to see if they can produce the results that you need. When you are ready to design your forms, it's a good idea to clarify with your application users whether or not you must adhere to the paper-form layout. Your forms in Microsoft Access can include custom features such as macros, event procedures, object grouping, or other queries that support form objects.

Planning Database Security

You will also need to consider the type of security that will need to be applied to the database if it is important that user access to the application and it's data is required. By planning a strategy for security from the beginning of the design stage, you can eliminate excess work later. Planning security means that you can control what individuals or groups of users can do with the database's tables, queries, forms, reports, macros and modules. You will need to determine, again by interviewing the application's users, who should have access to an application's objects and data and who should be able to change an object's design. To minimize your maintenance work on the user and group security accounts, you might want to investigate organizing the users into groups, and assign object permissions to each group.

You can see detailed information in the article: Microsoft Access Database Security Tutorial

You should now take a look over the Creating a Microsoft Access Application article

Create Database Applications using Microsoft Access

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Download the ebook now and begin creating database applications using Microsoft Access - Microsoft Access Fundamentals