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Access Database Terminology

There is specific terminology that is used to refer to the basic elements that databases are comprised of. Let's examine the most commonly used database terminology.

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A field is the smallest piece of a database. It is one specific piece of information like a number, a word, a date, or a reference for some other piece of data. Each column of data will all be the same type, such as numbers or letters. Each field in a table must have a unique name.

For example, this table has three fields (besides ID which is the primary key):

Database Field



A record is a collection of one or more fields together in a row. For example, this table has three records:

Database Record



A table is comprised of zero or more records. (A table with no information is rare, but still allowed under the “rules” of a database.) Each table within a database must have a unique name. Below is an example of a table:

Database Table

Review the information inside the pop-up dialog that appears. Note the File Name field where you can give your new database a name. Click Create to complete the process:



A database is comprised of one or more tables. Each database in a particular location is also given a unique name, just as every file in a folder must have a unique identifier.


A form is used to easily and accurately work with data in a table. Forms in Access are usually used in one of two ways:

  • A form can present one record of a database at a time to a user in order to view or edit the data.
  • A form allows a user to enter new data into the database one record at a time.


A query is a question asked of the database. Fundamentally, there are two basic types of queries: select and action.

  • A select query will extract and display data based on search criteria.
  • An action query will locate data based on search criteria and perform some sort of operation on the data. A query can also be used to add (populate) or delete data, and can be used on one or more tables in a database.


A report is a formal way of presenting data, usually the results of a query. Reports can also include summaries, calculations, charts, and more, based on the data returned by a query. Formal reports are usually turned into professional documents suitable for printing, exporting, or e-mailing.

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