Installing the Northwind Sample Database in Microsoft Access 2010

Hispanic couple paying bills on laptop
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

These instructions are for Microsoft Access 2010. If you are using Access 2013 or 2016, see Installing the Northwind Sample Database in Microsoft Access 2013.

Microsoft Access 2010 is a popular database management system that provides the software tools you need to organize data in a flexible manner. No one said it was easy to learn, though. The Northwind sample database has long been available to Access users. It contains some great sample tables, queries, reports, and other database features, and it frequently appears in tutorials for Access 2010. If you're learning Access and working your way through online tutorials, you'll no doubt be asked to use the Northwind database.

Installing the Northwind Database

Access database templates used to be downloadable from the web, but they are now available only from within Access itself. Here's how to install the Northwind database in Microsoft Access 2010.

  1. Open Microsoft Access 2010.
  2. On the New tab (opened by default when you start Access), select Sample Templates under the Available Templates section.
  3. Click on Northwind. This may also be called Northwind 2007 Sample.
  4. In the File Name text box on the right side of the screen, provide a filename for your Northwind database.
  5. Click the Create button. Access downloads the Northwind database from Microsoft and prepares your copy. This may take a few minutes.
  6. The database opens automatically when it has completed downloading.

About the Northwind Database

The Northwind database is based on a fictitious company—Northwind Traders. It incorporates sales transactions between the company and its customers, as well as purchasing details between the company and its vendors. It includes tables for inventory, orders, customers, employees and more. It is the basis for many tutorials and books on using Access.

In 2010, Microsoft updated the 2007 version to be a web-based database in order to illustrate web features such as feedback forms or web-based data entry. This 2010 web-based version, however, is no longer available.