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Whether you’re building an Access database for the first time or learning to work within a custom-built template, it helps to know the ins and outs of how the program works. There are many Access tips available online, but today, we want to focus on tips that are useful but rarely shared. The more you know, the easier it is to manage a successful database.

Below you’ll find five uncommon MS Access tips for 2020.

1. Keep Access database fields as small as possible. 

As you build tables, make your text fields only as big as you need them. By default, Access sets up text fields to hold up to 255 characters. This is a lot of space that you probably won’t end up using. To avoid having all this wasted storage space, make your text fields the appropriate size. 

2. Use number fields for real numbers. 

Use number fields for real numbers, not for text numbers. For example, zip codes do not go in number fields. Software programs perceive a 60609 zip code differently from the number 60,609. The numbers in a zip code are digits, but they aren’t to be used for math and other numeric purposes. So, leave the number fields to numbers you plan on calculating.

3. Carefully delete Access field values. 

Whenever you delete field values from a table, use caution. The reason for this is because you can’t recover the old value if you need to. Once you start doing other things, Access will forget about the value as if it never existed. Unfortunately, there is no Undo option available for an entire record. (Note: If you delete a value and realize you need it before doing anything else, you can do a quick Ctrl + Z.)

4. Backup your databases.

Backing up your database is extremely important. You can maintain backup copies at another location in case something happens at your place of work, such as a fire or flood. You can also store your backups to the cloud so they can be retrieved later. Here’s a great article on how often you should be backing up your databases and why it’s so important. 

5. Ask for help – it’s not hard to find.

One of the great things about Access is that help is easy to find. As the most popular database in the world, you can find support online or from an Access programming expert. The important thing is that you ask for help when you need it. Small missteps can add up quickly and cause huge problems for your database down the line. 

Microsoft Access remains a reliable database program for businesses of all types and sizes. If you need help managing your database, contact Arkware for a free consultation.