The Benefits of a Good Database

Many people use an address book to keep track of close friends, distant relatives, or annoying coworkers. For the most part, the low-tech address book works great. But consider what happens if you decide to store the same information in an Access database. Even though your contact list isn’t storing Google-sized volumes of information, it still offers a few features that you wouldn’t have without Access:

• Backup. If you’ve ever tried to decipher a phone number through a coffee stain, you know that sometimes it helps to have things in electronic form. Once you place all your contact information into a database, you’ll be able to preserve it in case of disaster, and print as many copies as you need (each with some or all of the information showing). You can even share your list with a friend who needs the same numbers.

• Space. Although most people can fit all the contacts they need into a small address book, a database ensures you’ll never fill up that “M” section. Not to mention that you can cross out and rewrite the address for your itinerant Uncle Sid only so many times before you run out of room.

• Searching. An address book organizes contacts in one way—by name. But what happens once you’ve entered everyone in alphabetical order by last name, and you need to look up a contact you vaguely remember as Joe? Access can effortlessly handle this search. It can also find a matching entry by phone number, which is great if your phone gives you a log of missed calls, and you want to figure out who’s been pestering you.

• Sharing. Only one person at a time can edit most ordinary files like Microsoft Word documents and spreadsheets. This limitation causes a problem if you need your entire office team to collaborate on a potluck menu. But Access lets multiple people review and change your data at the same time, on different computers.

• Integration with other applications. Access introduces you to a realm of timesaving possibilities like mail merge. You can feed a list of contacts into a form letter you create in Word, and automatically generate dozens of individually addressed letters.

All these examples demonstrate solid reasons to go electronic with almost any type of information.

Source of Information : Oreilly Access 2010 The Missing Manual

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