As you open a document window in Microsoft Access, toolbars, menu bars (or Ribbon Bars from version 2007) will change state and can be a little disorientating at first. In some cases, you can only be in one type of window to view a function or feature.
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The Components of the Microsoft Access Database Interface

As you open an object (document window), toolbars, menu bars (or Ribbon Bars from version 2007) will change state and can be a little disorientating at first. In some cases, you can only be in one type of window to view an Access function or feature.

Access 2003

Access Interface - 2003 (or earlier) The Database Window must remain open at all times in order to view or work with any of the document objects as it's the container that stores all objects. However, you can hide this view to stop users from gaining direct access and to prevent misuse of more sensitive objects.

Icons located within the Database Window manage all the documents from creating, running, modifying the design to managing & organising the views.

Use the Help control in the toolbar to ask a question or search on a keyword. The system will launch a 'Search Results' pane (normally located to the right side of the screen). If you have an internet connection, it will load the latest help topics or simply load the offline help if you choose to do so.

It is worth familiarising yourself with Access's options and settings environment as it will change the application's behaviour, set defaults and determine standards for general use within Microsoft Access.

Open the screen making sure the Database Window is active and from the menu bar, choose Tools, Options.

Here you can set Access's components like viewing the Status Bar, hide certain type of objects, Set 'Track name AutoCorrect info' option, confirm critical deletions with a prompt, change the look and feel of datasheets, default a data type and it's size, identify auto index field names to more advanced options. Use the? - Question mark icon in this screen to learn about all the options.

I recommend you get to learn some of the basic keyboard shortcuts some of which belong exclusively to the Access interface and others are more Windows generic. This will speed up tasks that are performed in Access. For example, CTRL + N keys (hold down the 'CTRL' key first and then press and release the 'N' key) will start a new database (the same as File, New... from the menu bar).

Note: If using Access in a Mac operating system, you need to substitute the 'CTRL' key with the 'Command' key.

Tip: Learn to use the right mouse button on selected items to provide a pop-menu to show the more popular commands.

Access 2007

Access Interface - 2007 (and later versions) The newer version provides a more 'Windows Vista' look and feel which replaces traditional toolbars and menu bars with a Ribbon Bar and Quick Access Toolbar instead.

The Navigation Pane which replaces the 'Database Window' can also be hidden to prevent unwanted users gaining access and is a later design implementation process. Once again, all document objects are stored together via this pane.

To create, modify or view any type of object, users will utilise the Ribbon Bar.

Use the Help control in the ribbon bar to launch the help window and ask a question or search on a keyword. If you have an internet connection, it will load the latest help topics or simply load the offline help if you choose to do so but clicking the change to option (located to the bottom right corner of the help window).

Once again, It is worth familiarising yourself with Access's options and settings environment as it will change the application's behaviour, set defaults and standards for general use of Microsoft Access.

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