Using the Northwind sample database in Access

Applies to
Microsoft Access 97 and 2000

The Northwind sample database (Northwind.mdb) is included with all versions of Access. It provides data you can experiment with and database objects that demonstrate features you might want to implement in your own databases. Using Northwind, you can become familiar with how a relational database is structured and how the database objects work together to help you enter, store, manipulate, and print your data.

In addition, Access 2000 provides a sample Access project, NorthwindCS.adp. The Northwind sample project contains many of the same sample forms and reports found in the Northwind sample database. However, unlike the Northwind sample database, the Northwind sample project is connected to a Microsoft SQL Server™ database.

For more information about the Northwind sample project, type client/server in the Office Assistant or on the Answer Wizard tab in the Help window, click Search, and then click Work with an Access project. Under Use documentation, click Learn about the Northwind sample Microsoft Access project and Microsoft SQL Server database.

Opening Northwind

The default location of the Northwind sample database is the Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Samples folder. If you don't see Northwind.mdb or NorthwindCS.adp in your Samples folder, or if you need more information about opening Northwind, type open the northwind sample database in the Office Assistant or on the Answer Wizard tab in the Help window, and then click Search.

You can also download the Northwind sample database (Northwind.mdb) from the Microsoft Office Online site.

 Tip    You might want to make a copy of Northwind before you begin working with it. For more information, type make a copy of a database in the Office Assistant or on the Answer Wizard tab in the Help window, and then click Search.

Working with Northwind

After you have opened Northwind, you can:

Examine table relationships Examining the tables and their relationships can help you understand database design and give you insight into how to structure your own databases. To see table relationships, click Relationships on the Tools menu.

Try things out Create new database objects, try new features, and test your ideas. Because the tables in Northwind are already filled with meaningful data and the relationships between tables are already established, trying things in Northwind is a good way to learn how to use many features in Access. You can also test prototypes of your queries, forms, reports, data access pages, or Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA) procedures in Northwind before you implement them in your own application.

Read Help about Northwind To view Help topics about Northwind, click Show Me on the menu bar. The Overview of Northwind topic contains links to more information about the various database objects.

Take a tour of Northwind    Visit the Tour of Northwind Traders on the Microsoft Personal Support Center Web site. The Tour of Northwind Traders shows you how features were implemented in the tables, queries, forms, and reports in Northwind. This site is based on the Access 97 version of Northwind, but most of the information also applies to Northwind in Access 2000. If you are using Access 2000, note the following exceptions:

  • In the Access 2000 version of Northwind, date formats were changed to "dd-mmm-yyyy," so an expression that formats a date might be different from the corresponding expression that appears in the Tour of Northwind Traders.
  • This version of Northwind contains data access pages, a new feature in Access 2000. The Tour of Northwind Traders only provides information about tables, queries, forms, and reports. To find information about the data access pages in Northwind, click Show Me on the menu bar.
  • The Northwind sample project is only available in Access 2000. Therefore, the Tour of Northwind Traders does not provide any information about the SQL Server objects - tables, views, stored procedures, and database diagrams.
  • The "References" section of the articles in the Tour of Northwind Traders sometimes suggests that you find a Help topic by searching the Help index. In Access 2000, you can search for a Help topic by typing a question in the Office Assistant or on the Answer Wizard tab in the Help window.