Demo: Expose your Access database structure

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Have you ever struggled to understand how the components in a database relate to each other? Microsoft Office Access 2003 puts the answers right before your eyes with a new tool called the Object Dependencies task pane. This task pane makes clear the relationships among the forms, tables, queries, and other objects in a database.

Now, you can update or troubleshoot a database without having to spend hours learning its structure. No more worrying about whether you'll break one part of your database if you make changes somewhere else. Access 2003 shows you what you need to know.

 Note   For screen reader text detailing the onscreen actions and a screen reader version of the audio script, click Demo text version.

ShowDemo text version

Screen Action Audio Script
Access 2003 is open. The pointer goes to the Help menu, points to Sample Databases, and clicks Northwind Sample Database. The Northwind database opens, and the pointer clicks OK, then Display Database Window. Have you ever inherited a database? Managing one can be a tough job, especially when that database is extremely complex.
In the Database window, the pointer selects Tables on the Object bar, then Queries, and then Forms. Lists of tables, queries, and forms appear as the pointer clicks each object class name. The Northwind database is a good example. You can see that it contains a large number of tables, queries, and data entry forms.
In the list of forms, the pointer clicks Orders and then clicks the Relationships button on the toolbar. The entity relationship diagram for the sample database appears in the Relationships window. To manage a database properly, you have to know how these components work together. If you don't, you can't update or troubleshoot the database.
The pointer closes the Relationships window. Access 2003 provides a new tool called the Object Dependencies task pane that helps you learn the structure of a database quickly and easily.
The pointer goes to the View menu and clicks the Object Dependencies command. The Object Dependencies task pane appears. The pointer goes to the task pane and selects Objects that I depend on. With just a few clicks, you can see the tables, queries, and other components that the Orders form uses.
The pointer opens the Order Details Extended treeview node and the Orders Qry node. You can also see the tables from which the queries get their data.
The pointer then opens the Orders subform node and pauses over the table and the query shown for that node. And, you can see that the Orders form uses a subform, and the subform takes its data from a table and a query.
The pointer goes up to the Tables treeview node and opens its Customers and Employees subnodes, showing listings for several tables under each of those two subnodes. If you explore a bit further, you can see the relationships between the tables in the database.
The pointer goes to the Database toolbar and clicks the Relationships button. The entity relationship diagram for the database appears in the Relationships window again. What you see in the Object Dependencies task pane is a much more detailed view of the information in the Relationships window.
The pointer closes the Relationships window and the Object Dependencies task pane. The pointer then opens the Customers form. After a brief pause that form closes. The task pane really shines when you need to update a database. For instance, say that many of your customers now have their own Web sites, and you want to use the Customers form to store their Web addresses.
The pointer returns in the Database window to the View menu and opens the Object Dependencies task pane again. In that task pane, the pointer hovers over Customers to show the table from which the Customers form takes its data. The pointer then opens the Customers form, which now contains a URL text box containing the text office.microsoft.com. The task pane shows you which table you need to change. You can quickly add a new field, change the form, and let your data entry team get back to work.
The pointer clicks the forward arrow in the form to show the next record, which also has the new text box with the same text in it. The animated text Experience Your Own Great Moments appears. Under it appears the static text For more information followed by a URL: http://www.microsoft.com/office. The Object Dependencies task pane in Access 2003 makes understanding the structure of complex databases so much easier, that you'll finally have time to work with the actual data!

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Applies to:
Access 2003