Part 2: Vendor Database (MS Access)
As you recall, data is a collection of facts (numbers, text, even audio and video files) that is processed into usable information. Much like a spreadsheet, a database is a collection of such facts that you can then slice and dice in various ways to extract information or make decisions. However, the advantage and primary use of a database over a spreadsheet is its ability to handle a large volume of data and yet allow for quick access to the information that is desired.
Databases are everywhere now and impact our lives in a multitude of ways. It can accurately be said that “your life is in a database” or, more accurately, in multiple databases, and information about you (a retrieval of facts about you) is easily accessible. Your shopping history, credit history, medical history, even your driving history, is stored in one or more databases.
This exercise will introduce you to the basic building blocks of any database – fields, records, and files (also called tables). Although you will create a database with a single table containing a small amount of data about computer vendors, the more applicable use of databases involves the creation of many tables linked together with a common field or “key.” Regardless of the size of the database, the data is stored in the same way – in fields which are combined to create a record. And those records are stored in a file or table. The data is entered into the field via a data entry form, and the information is extracted (to answer a particular question or need) via reports and/or queries.
Create a vendor database and related reports and queries to capture contact information for potential PC vendors. This information will be used to populate an MS Access database.
This MS Access database assignment has the following parts:
- a simple database table to hold vendor contact information;
- a simple database form that can be used to enter data into the database table;
- a simple database report that can used to present the data as information; and
- a separate MS Word document answering questions about the database.
All aspects of the assignment will be evaluated according to the following criteria and overall professional, business-like appearance. This would include clear readability and formatting for both screen and print-based output.
Launch MS Access and open a Blank Access database.
Save the new database with the following name:
“Student’s Last Name_Vendor”
Create a table with all the following fields and settings:
A. Vendor ID (auto number)
B. Company Name (text)
C. Contact’s First Name (text)
D. Contact’s Last Name (text)
E. Billing Address (text) (this is the street address)
F. City (text)
G. State (text—limited to 2 characters)
H. Zip Code (text—limited to 5 characters)
I. Phone Number (text)
J. YTD Orders (currency) (if any)
K. Preferred Vendor (Yes/No)
The Vendor ID field must be set as the primary key (*). If the Vendor ID is not the primary key, 0.5 points will be deducted. If you have properly set the Vendor ID field as the primary key, it will be numbered automatically (Auto Number).
Name the table as follows:
Use the Form Wizard to create a form that uses all the fields from the Vendor table.
Let the Form Wizard guide you through the completion of the form.
Use a Columnar layout
Select a theme
Name the form as follows:
Vendor Contact Entry Form
You should be finished with the form at this point. It is best if you allow the Form Wizard to open the form to view and enter information.
You can either use the form or enter data directly into the table.
Enter all the appropriate data for three vendors (such as Best Buy, CDW, and CompUSA.) Ignore data that is not required.
It is important to complete all data entry prior to moving on to create the report. You should also use the table to manually review and audit all entries to ensure accuracy and consistency prior to report setup. If find any data entry errors or inconsistencies, simply go back the item in the form and make the appropriate corrections. Missing data or including data that should be ignored will result in a deduction.
When you are finished, the table should contain all the contact information three vendors. You may need to create fictitious information for contact names –other field information should be available from the company website.
The form will automatically populate the Vendor ID for you because this is your primary key. Vendor Names will be your three vendors (for example – Best Buy, CDW, and CompUSA.)
Use the Report Wizard to create a report for the database that uses the following fields:
Contact First and Last Name
Let the Report Wizard guide you through the completion of the report.
Make sure that you do not select the Product ID field.
Set up the report to be sorted by Vendor Name.
Use Landscape orientation.
Select an appropriate style that improves readability.
Name the report as follows:
Vendor Contact Report
After you name the report, you should allow the Report Wizard to let you preview the report. If you created the report correctly, you should see the items sorted alphabetically by Vendor. (Only one report should be submitted for grading or points will be deducted.)
Create an MS Word document. Set it to double space, normal text, Arial, 12 point. Save the document as:
“Student’s Last Name AccessQuestions”
Title Page which shows title, your first and last name, course and due date.
The title must be “Answers to Access Questions”.
In your MS Word document, answer both of these questions in 4 to 5 well written sentences.
If your database contained data about 1,000 vendors (using the same fields contained in this exercise), what other types of reports (besides contact information) could you create with the data?
How would these reports assist you in preparing your solution to your case study?
Spelling and data entry consistency.
These points are not included in deductions for missing data or incorrect grouping on the report. This means a combination of missing data; report grouping problems; or spelling and data entry consistency errors could result in a several point deduction.