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Lesson 1

Microsoft Access Features 2021

Microsoft Access 2021, as part of the Microsoft Office suite, introduces several enhancements and new features designed to improve usability, performance, and integration capabilities over its predecessor, Access 2019. These updates are aimed at providing users with more powerful and flexible tools for database management, development, and deployment. Below are some of the key features and improvements in Access 2021 that set it apart from Access 2019:
  1. Improved Connectivity and Integration: Access 2021 enhances its connectivity capabilities with other data sources and applications. This includes better integration with Microsoft's cloud services like SharePoint and OneDrive, allowing for more seamless data sharing and collaboration across platforms.
  2. Modernized User Interface: The user interface in Access 2021 has been updated to align with the overall aesthetic and usability improvements found across the Microsoft 365 suite. This includes refreshed icons, a more intuitive layout, and improved accessibility features, making the navigation and operation of Access more efficient.
  3. Advanced Data Types: Access 2021 introduces new data types that are more aligned with current computing needs. This includes support for larger numeric values, complex data structures, and improved temporal data support, which enhances the database's ability to handle diverse data sets and complex queries.
  4. Enhanced SQL View: The SQL View for query design has been enhanced, offering better syntax highlighting, line numbering, and error indication. This improvement makes it easier for developers to write, debug, and optimize their SQL queries within Access.
  5. Performance Improvements: Microsoft Access 2021 includes under-the-hood performance enhancements that improve the speed and responsiveness of the application. These improvements are particularly noticeable in database querying, report generation, and large-scale data operations, providing a smoother user experience.
  6. Expanded Template Library: Access 2021 comes with an expanded library of pre-designed templates for common database applications, allowing users to quickly start new projects with professionally designed structures and interfaces. This library addresses a wider range of business scenarios and use cases.
  7. Improved Support for Complex Queries: Enhanced support for complex SQL queries and improved query execution plans in Access 2021 enable developers to create more efficient and powerful queries. This is particularly beneficial for databases that need to handle large volumes of data or complex data relationships.
  8. Enhanced Security Features: Security within Access 2021 has been bolstered with updated encryption standards and improved authentication mechanisms. This ensures that databases are more secure against unauthorized access and data breaches.
  9. Date/Time Extended Data Type: Access 2021 introduces a new Date/Time Extended data type that supports a larger date range and greater precision for time values, enhancing the database's ability to handle historical data and time-sensitive information with accuracy.
  10. VBA Improvements: For developers, Access 2021 includes updates to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), offering new functions and improved debugging tools. These enhancements make it easier to write and maintain code, automate tasks, and extend the functionality of Access databases.

By incorporating these features, Microsoft Access 2021 significantly improves upon the foundation set by Access 2019, offering a more robust, user-friendly, and versatile database management tool. These advancements are geared towards meeting the evolving needs of businesses and developers in managing and analyzing data efficiently.

This course is the fourth of a four-course series on Microsoft Access. This course gives a hands-on look at the features in Access 2021, Microsoft’s popular database program. Microsoft Access is a very powerful database system, giving you features like no other program can. As with other systems, with power comes complexity and you can quickly get Access up and running using the built-in wizards. But once you have gone beyond where the wizards can take you, making Access perform more advanced tasks can become troublesome.
If you have been using Access for a while but feel you should be able to get more out of your database, this is the course for you.

Course objectives

After completing the course, you will be able to:
  1. Increase the referential integrity of your Access Databases
  2. Connect Access with the Web through a new feature called Data Access Pages
  3. Work with the more complex Access features for simple security, application settings, and other add-ins
  4. Automate tasks by using macros
  5. Share data between Access and other Microsoft Office applications

Parent-child Table Relationships

Although parent-child is the most common expression used to explain the relationship between tables related in a one-to-many relationship, you may hear other expressions used, such as master-detail, applied to this design. The important thing to keep in mind is that the intent of referential integrity is to prevent lost records on the "many" side of the relationship. Referential integrity guarantees that there will never be an orphan (a child record without a matching parent record). As you work with related tables, it is important to keep in mind which table is on the "one" side and which is on the "many" side. Notice how difficult it would be to record all the orders for a customer if a separate table were not used to store the order's information. Each time a customer places an order with Northwind Traders, a new record is added to the Orders table. In a one-to-many arrangement, only the CustomerID (for example, AROUT) is added to the Orders table. The CustomerID is a foreign key that relates the order back to the Customers table. Keeping the customer information is relatively trivial because each customer record appears only once in the Customers table.
In the next lesson, we will examine the course prerequisites.

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