Microsoft Access provides sample databases that you can use while you're learning Access.
Northwind Traders sample database
The Northwind database and Access project (available from the Sample Databases command on the Help menu) contains the sales data for a fictitious company called Northwind Traders, which imports and exports specialty foods from around the world. By viewing the database objects (database objects: An Access database contains objects such as tables, queries, forms, reports, pages, macros, and modules. An Access project contains objects such as forms, reports, pages, macros, and modules.) included in the Northwind database, you can develop ideas for your own database application. You can also use the Northwind data to experiment with Access before you enter your own data. For example, you may want to practice designing queries using the Orders table in Northwind, since it contains enough records to produce meaningful results.
About creating the NorthwindCS.adp SQL Server database
Unlike the sample Microsoft Access database (Microsoft Access database: A collection of data and objects (such as tables, queries, or forms) that is related to a particular topic or purpose.) (Northwind.mdb) , the data and data definitions for the sample Access project (Microsoft Access project: An Access file that connects to a Microsoft SQL Server database and is used to create client/server applications. A project file doesn't contain any data or data-definition-based objects, such as tables and views.) (NorthwindCS.adp) need to be created the first time you open the project from the Sample Databases command on the Help menu. However, Access can automatically create the Northwind SQL Server database (Microsoft SQL Server database: A database that consists of tables, views, indexes, stored procedures, functions, and triggers. You can connect your database to SQL Server data by using ODBC or by creating an Access project (*.adp) file.) for you the first time you open the Northwind Access project.
The Startup form first asks you to log on to SQL Server, looks for Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Personal Desktop Engine or SQL Server running on your computer, and then does one of the following:
- If the Startup form finds SQL Server running on your computer, it asks if you want to create the NorthwindCS SQL Server database so that you can connect to it.
- If the Startup form doesn't find SQL Server running on your computer, it prompts you to enter a server name, user name, and password so you can connect to a SQL Server database on the network.
In either case if you say yes, the Northwind sample Access project runs the SQL installation script (NorthwindCS.SQL), located in the \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Samples folder. This SQL script is a sequence of SQL statements that creates the SQL Server database data structure, extended properties, queries, and database diagrams, and then loads the sample data. Once the script has finished running, the Northwind sample Access project connects to the newly-created SQL server database.
Microsoft Access also includes a Database Wizard that you can use to create common types of Access databases. You can use the databases exactly as created by the Database Wizard or as learning tools to help you design your own databases.