Microsoft Access Database Reports Tutorial

A database table is where your actual information is stored in a database. Microsoft Access Reports is what Microsoft includes to better visualize that data for presentations, printable formats, management reports, or even as a simple summary of what the tables represent.

A report can have header sections used for titles or images that summarize what a column represents, and every report requires a detail section that holds the visible data from the database. Footers are an option too, that summarize the data from the detail section or that describe page numbers.

Group headers and footers are allowed as well, which are separate custom areas where you can group your data.

Below are instructions for creating professionally formatted reports automatically from our database information. It's just a few buttons away.

Free Templates for Microsoft Access Databases. (c) Paul Bradbury / Caiaimage / Getty Images

How to Make a Report in MS Access

The steps for making MS Access reports is a little different depending on the version of Access you're using:

Microsoft Access 2016

  1. With a table open in Access, navigate to the Create in the menu, and press Report under the the Reports section.

  2. Take note of the Report Layout Tools section now visible at the top of Microsoft Access:

    • Design: Group and sort elements in the report, add text and links, insert page numbers, and modify the sheet's properties, among other things.
    • Arrange: Adjust the table to be stacked, tabular, etc.; move rows and columns up an down or left and right; merge and split columns and rows; control the margins and bring elements to the "front" or "back" in a layering format.
    • Format: Includes regular word processor formatting tools like bold, italic, underline, text and background color, number and date formatting, conditional formatting, etc.
    • Page Setup: Lets you adjust the page's overall size, and toggle between landscape and portrait.
  3. That's it!

Microsoft Access 2000

For this tutorial relevant only to MS Access 2000, we're going to use the Northwind sample database. See How to Install the Northwind Sample Database before we begin if you don't already have this database.

  1. Once you've opened Northwind, you'll be presented with the main database menu. Go ahead and select the Reports selection to see a list of the various reports Microsoft included in the sample database.

    If you want, double-click on a few of these and get a feel for what reports look like and the various types of information that they contain.

  2. Once you've satisfied your curiosity, press New, and we'll begin the process of creating a report from scratch.

  3. The next screen that appears will ask you to select the method you wish to use to create the report. We're going to use the Report Wizard which will walk us through the creation process step-by-step.

    After you've mastered the wizard, you might want to return to this step and explore the flexibility provided by the other creation methods.

  4. Before leaving this screen, we want to choose the source of data for our report. If you want to retrieve information from a single table, you can select it from the drop-down box. Alternatively, for more complex reports, we can choose to base our report on the output of a query that we previously designed.

    For our example, all of the data we need is contained within the Employees table, so choose this table, and press OK.