Microsoft Access - Additional Information

What is MS Access?

MS Access is a database program that allow users to create a database that can capture a sale record, update address book, track inventory, etc.

Where is MS Access?

MS Access is available on all PCs in DECS labs.

Getting Started

To start Microsoft Access click Start > Programs > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office Access. The program will open to its default view.

To create a new Access file, go to File > New, which will bring up a New File menu on the right hand side. From here you can select what type of Access file you would like to create.


You can choose Blank database which will bring up the File New Database dialogue and prompt you for a location to save the file. After the file is saved you will be able to create your database with the preceding dialogue boxes and Microsoft Access features. The rest of the choices are similar to Blank Database. You can create a data access page, a project using existing data, a project using new data or work on an existing file.

Converting a Database

One feature to note in Microsoft Access is the Convert Database Utility. This allows you to convert your database to previous versions of Access for someone who is not working in the same version you are. Be aware however, some features of your database may be removed when you are converting the database to a previous version of Access. This utility can be found under File > Save & Publish > Save Database As 

Securing a Database

Another feature in Access is the steps you can take to secure your database. The security options are seen below.

The first security option is to password protect your database. This should be common practice after creating a new database. The next four options, Workgroup Administrator through User Level Security Wizard, combine to allow you to create workgroups and add users and groups with permission defined by you. Creating these users and groups enhances security when users are given only the permissions they need.

The last security option is Encode/Decode Database. Encoding your database compacts your database and somewhat prevents it from being read by word processors. Encoding is useful when you transfer your database file(s) electronically, or when your store it on an external device.

To encode or decode a database, you must be the owner. When security is used, the owner is the user account that has control over a database or database object, and is a member of the administrator’s (admins) group, which retains full permissions on all databases used by a workgroup. By default, the user account that created a database or database object is the owner of the database.

The setup program automatically adds the default admin user account to the admins group of the workgroup information file—the workgroup information file is a file that Access reads at startup that contains information about the users in a workgroup. This information includes users' account names, passwords, group affiliations and contains the accounts used to help protect the database.

 You must also be able to open the database in exclusive mode— a type of access to data in a database that is shared over a network. When you open a database in exclusive mode, you prevent others from opening the database, which requires you to have Open/Run and Open Exclusive permissions.