Tips for Choosing Field Types in Access 2013

Part of the Access 2013 All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When you design a database in Access 2013, you decide what type each field will be. Access provides 12 field types for you to choose among. Choose the field type that best describes the data you want to store in the field and that works for the type of analysis you need to use the field. Here are tips on when to use which type of field.

Field Type What It Holds
Short Text Text up to 255 characters long (including spaces and punctuation). Use a Text field, not a Number field, for codes even if they look like numbers, such as phone numbers, zip codes, and other postal codes.
Long Text Text up to 65,536 characters. A Long Text field can contain Rich Text (formatted text), and you can set it to Append Only so that it can accumulate text notes without allowing the user to delete what’s already there.
Number Only numbers. You may use + or – before the number, as well as a decimal point. If you plan to do math with a field, use a Number or Currency field.
Currency Numbers with a currency sign in front of them ($, ¥, and so on).
AutoNumber Numbers unique to each record and assigned by Access as you add records, starting at 1. Use an AutoNumber field as the primary key field for most tables.
Date/Time Dates, times, or both.
Hyperlink Text string formatted as a hyperlink. (If you click the link, it takes you to the page.) This field type is especially useful if related information is available on the web.
Yes/No Yes or no (a particular condition is, or isn’t, in effect) — or other two-word sets, such as True/False, On/Off, and Male/Female. Use a Yes/No field if you want to display the field as a check box on forms.
Attachment Stores one or more entire files — pictures, sound, Word documents, even video — in one Attachment field.
Calculated Data created with a formula. Use a Calculated field when a calculated value will be used in many queries, forms, and reports.
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Access 2013 All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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