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Microsoft Access Relational Tables

How to properly relate tables together in Microsoft Access

Q: How do I relate two tables together, and why is this important?

A: Relating your tables together is the fundamental backbone of building databases. It's what separates "modern" databases like Access from spreadsheets and "flat-file" databases of years gone by.

Essentially, you want to make multiple tables in your databases to cut down on duplicate data. Duplicate data slows your database down and makes it inefficient (not to mention cumbersome to update and edit). Imagine having to store every customer's information with every order they place! Not too efficient.

So you make multiple tables, and you relate them to each other - usually with an ID or "key" field. For example, in this screenshot from my class, I'm showing students how to create two tables to relate drivers and vehicles. By moving the driver data to a different table, we've created a properly "normalized" database. Normalization is key to a good database.


Here is a FREE VIDEO TUTORIAL that will walk you through creating relational tables in detail. It's much easier to show you how it's done than to explain it here.

I teach the concepts in this free mini tutorial in my Access 201 course. These are full courses - over 60 minutes in length each. I spend a lot more time going over how to do this, in addition to lots more tips and tricks.


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