Making Sense of the Database Window in Access 2002

By John Kaufeld

Most of the time when you open a database, it appears in a window
like Figure 1. This window gives you access to all the stuff in your database,
provides tools to change displays or create new items, and generally helps you
manage your database stuff. And it looks cool. Who can ask for more?

Figure 1: Well, this is another fine database that you’ve gotten yourself
into.

The Objects bar buttons down
the left side of the window switch between lists of the objects (tables,
queries, reports, and so on) that make up the database. Four toolbar buttons sit
at the top of the database window to help you work with the database’s objects:

  • Open displays the current object

  • Design lets you change the object

  • New creates a new object
  • The
    X deletes the current object (kiss that table good-bye!)

The other buttons to the right of the X change how Access 2002
lists the objects that your database contains. Your choices run the gamut from
colorful, friendly icons to detailed mini-dossiers. Feel free to try the settings
yourself — you can’t hurt anything! (Just don’t accidentally click the X,
okay?)

Your
database may start up looking like Figure 2. Don’t let the pretty face
fool you, though — this window is just a fancier front hung onto Figure 1’s
database. Seeing something like this window is a clue that you’re working with a
formal Access 2002 application. Most likely, the form was created by one of your
in-house nerds. This special form is called a
switchboard.

Figure 2: An example of a switchboard.