Microsoft Access 2010 Database Tutorial: Create a Database from Scratch

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While creating an Access database from a template is an agreeable, easy approach to building a database, there isn’t always a template available that meets your needs. In this article, we review the process for creating an Access database from scratch.

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Getting Started

To begin, open Microsoft Access. The instructions and images in this article are for Microsoft Access 2010. If you're using a different version of Access, see Creating an Access 2007 Database from Scratch or Creating an Access 2013 Database from Scratch.

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Create a Blank Access Database

Next, you'll need to create a blank database to use as your starting point. Click "Blank Database" on the Getting Started with Microsoft Office Access screen to begin this process, as shown in the figure above.

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Name Your Access 2010 Database

In the next step, the right pane of the Getting Started window will change to match the image above. Give your database a name by typing it into the text box and click the Create button to begin building your database.

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Add Tables To Your Access Database

Access will now present you with a spreadsheet-style interface, shown in the image above, that helps you create your database tables.

The first spreadsheet will help you create your first table. As you can see in the image above, Access begins by creating an AutoNumber field named ID that you can use as your primary key. To create additional fields, simply double-click on the top cell in a column (the row with a gray shading) and select the data type you would like to use. You may then type the name of the field into that cell. You can then use the controls in the Ribbon to customize the field.

Continue adding fields in this same manner until you've created your entire table. Once you've finished building the table, click the Save icon on the Quick Access toolbar. Access will then ask you to provide a name for your table. You can also create additional tables by selecting the Table icon in the Create tab of the Access Ribbon.

If you need help grouping your information into appropriate tables, you may wish to read our article What is a Database? that explains the structure of database tables. If you're having difficulty navigating in Access 2010 or using the Access Ribbon or Quick Access toolbar, read our article Access 2010 User Interface Tour.

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Continue Building Your Access Database

Once you've created all of your tables, you'll want to continue working on your Access database by adding relationships, forms, reports, and other features. Visit our Microsoft Access Tutorials section to get help with these Access features.