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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK, short story long.


I've been out of regular work since last year, which I'm a bit naffed off about however...


I've been offered a bit of work by a friend, but unfortunately it's doing something I know nothing about, but hope someone can point me in the right direction or help in some way.


I've been asked to find and compile a load of data about various companies for him, and I'd like to present it as some sort of database rather than a spreadsheet.


I'm wondering if I can use Microsoft Access 2007 (which I have a licensed copy of) to do this, but as I've NEVER used it, I'm wondering if I'm biting off more than I can chew? I can use basic Excel, but have never built a database of any kind.


In my mind I'm seeing the results of my information gathering as something like a screen with a list of all the companies in a right hand pane, and a selection of maybe 6 drop-down boxes on the left which narrow down the search and eliminate (or grey out) some of the company names in the right hand list.


I think what I'd like to build is something called a "Relational Database" but please correct me if I'm wrong.


First question: Does Access take data from Excel to build this database, so I can start gathering the info (from the web, phone and visiting sites) putting it in Excel and worrying about how it's presented later on??


I really am out of my depth here, but am not a quitter, so I'd like to give it a go. My mate has said come back and see him in 4 weeks with what I've done, and I'm hoping it might turn into something a bit more long term (or a real job) if I can create the beginnings of something useful for him.


So, can anyone help or point me in the right direction please?


I see it as a steep learning curve, as I've never compiled company statistics and info, and I've certainly never ever made a database.





Cheers




Bob :thumbup:





P.S. My mate isn't David Cameron, just in case you were worried about what a coincidence this all is!!
 

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Truffle shuffle king
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While it's not my day job I do love databases and messing with them (now I have said that I know I will be sorry)

with databases it is important you get the structure right from the start so you dont have to go back and start changing relationships.


Access is a good tool but isn't that intuative to start with. Make sure the chap you are doing it for has the same so he can use it.

The hard bit is to get the access tables to start the process. Once you have them then it is a matter of creating forms so you can then add your data.

Have you got some information already, say I'm excel?

More than happy to have a chat with you and can set up the tables for you.
Just pm if you need help.
Geeky ackackflack
 

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Wing Commander
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Pretty sure Access will do what you need. I have never used it unfortunately but I did once do a one-day (or was it two-day) course at one of these approved Microsoft places and learned bucket loads about both excel and Word that I never knew you could do.

Might be worth doing that.

I assume you are compiling a database of breasts?:D
 

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How much is the fish?
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MS Access will certainly do what you want. Unfortunately it’s one of the most unfriendly pieces of software I’ve ever come across!! There are other much simpler database software packages out there which would do what you need and be much easier to learn/understand. The downside is that you’d have to buy one, and none of them are very cheap.

The best thing you could do is get the book “MS Access for Dummies”. These books are great & written in a none-technical fashion. If I have a new computer related subject I want to learn about then the first thing I do is buy the “Dummies” book. :thumbup:
 

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SOTGATT
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P.S. My mate isn't David Cameron, just in case you were worried about what a coincidence this all is!!

I knew it ....it's a list of Lib Dem MP's and and their 'habit's' innit !!!! :hitler:

A variation on "New Deal"...................:p
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #6
MS Access will certainly do what you want. Unfortunately it’s one of the most unfriendly pieces of software I’ve ever come across!! There are other much simpler database software packages out there which would do what you need and be much easier to learn/understand. The downside is that you’d have to buy one, and none of them are very cheap.

The best thing you could do is get the book “MS Access for Dummies”. These books are great & written in a none-technical fashion. If I have a new computer related subject I want to learn about then the first thing I do is buy the “Dummies” book. :thumbup:


Finances are the problem, so I'd much rather work with Access if I can.

I will search for a dummies guide, hoping that it starts on a really basic level.

Thanks


:thumbup:
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #7
While it's not my day job I do love databases and messing with them (now I have said that I know I will be sorry)

with databases it is important you get the structure right from the start so you dont have to go back and start changing relationships.


Access is a good tool but isn't that intuative to start with. Make sure the chap you are doing it for has the same so he can use it.

The hard bit is to get the access tables to start the process. Once you have them then it is a matter of creating forms so you can then add your data.

Have you got some information already, say I'm excel?

More than happy to have a chat with you and can set up the tables for you.
Just pm if you need help.
Geeky ackackflack

OK, the words "forms" and "tables" already getting me thinking.

Thanks for the geeky offer, which you MAY end up regretting!!!

I won't trouble you until I've got the Dummies guide, as I'll have a bash and see where I get.



Any other comments or suggestions will be greatly received :thumb:





Bob :thumbup:
 

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Truffle shuffle king
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Dummys guides are always a good start but they never show you how to do stuff in the real world.

Some of the online example databases are good microsoft office site. You can try them, wreck it and start again.
I have a few databases that I createed which you can play with to get a feel for.
 

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First question: Does Access take data from Excel to build this database, so I can start gathering the info (from the web, phone and visiting sites) putting it in Excel and worrying about how it's presented later on??
Yes, start getting things together in a spreadsheet, as long as things are organised properly it's an easy import into Access.

By the way, a database is a collection of tables that link together, and a table is just a spreadsheet without formulas! Isn't too difficult to get your head around once you start.

In the dummies book start concentrating on tables, forms, SQL and listboxes.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK, Access 2007 All-In-One Dummies guide has been bought, paid for, and on it's way.

Never thought of Microsoft Office online guides, so will investigate that next.

Database examples would be great (assuming I know how to use them!) so I'll fire off a few PM's with my direct email address, to hose have you that have rather foolishly offered to help me.

The goodwill and wealth of knowledge on this forum never ceases to amaze me, so many thanks to you for taking the time to reply and expressing an interest.


Thanks, much appreciated



Bob :thumbup:
 

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Access will certainly do what you describe,

Do you already have the data?

4 weeks is either going to be fine or a real struggle depending on your experience/ability.

Personally I don't have much experience of creating forms etc through Access (actually almost non with 2007 but I'v used 97 and MSSQL extensively) I'v always written apps which access the database behind the scenes.

the first thing I'd do is write out the structure for everything you have.

company names,
company addresses,
Directors names,
any other relevant info which relates to all the companies,
(Some may have info which isn't relevant or is missing from others, Include this in your structure as well)

then you will have to decide what parts of that info can go into sepearte tables (remember that company address can be many lines (fields) within a table. as can much of the other data as well)

the relational side of it comes from the fact that company a might produce one or more products that are also produced by company b. (there are a few other criteria as well but don't worry about them yet, (One-Many, One-One, Many-Many relationships)they are the basis of a good relational database but that will be covered in the book)

The book for dummies will be a good start but take care not to get bogged down following the examples they give, skim over them first and see how you can make there examples fit what you need, not the other way round.

Getting the structure right for the data to be stored is the most important thing, presenting it through pretty forms afterwards should be nice and easy.

Hope this helps,
If you need any help just shout up.
Axe
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't have the data,and I think this will probably be the most intensive part of the task, which is why I'm hoping to show him a smallscale model of my interpretation of his request in four weeks time.

I'll need to contact a range of companies about their services, and hopefully show on the database companies/main business/location etc.

My idea was a huge list of companies on the right side (pane?) of a screen, and on the left a slection of drop down boxes which would condense or narrow down the list.

Not sure if what I'm suggesting is clever, stupid, basic, or whether there is a much easier way of doing it, so again, suggestions are always welcome.

Remember, I'm not a complete numpty (shut up at the back!) but I'm definitely NOT an ace with Excel and have never even opened Access (well I have now and it looks scary!) so I need to keep a clear head and not get bogged down with too many details, but try and do it the right way from the beginning.


Thanks again


Bob :thumbup:




Access will certainly do what you describe,

Do you already have the data?

4 weeks is either going to be fine or a real struggle depending on your experience/ability.

Personally I don't have much experience of creating forms etc through Access (actually almost non with 2007 but I'v used 97 and MSSQL extensively) I'v always written apps which access the database behind the scenes.

the first thing I'd do is write out the structure for everything you have.

company names,
company addresses,
Directors names,
any other relevant info which relates to all the companies,
(Some may have info which isn't relevant or is missing from others, Include this in your structure as well)

then you will have to decide what parts of that info can go into sepearte tables (remember that company address can be many lines (fields) within a table. as can much of the other data as well)

the relational side of it comes from the fact that company a might produce one or more products that are also produced by company b. (there are a few other criteria as well but don't worry about them yet, (One-Many, One-One, Many-Many relationships)they are the basis of a good relational database but that will be covered in the book)

The book for dummies will be a good start but take care not to get bogged down following the examples they give, skim over them first and see how you can make there examples fit what you need, not the other way round.

Getting the structure right for the data to be stored is the most important thing, presenting it through pretty forms afterwards should be nice and easy.

Hope this helps,
If you need any help just shout up.
Axe
 

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Wing Commander
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When you get to the end of the exam and they want you to stop writing, presumably they say "Start".;)
Either that or you'll get an egg timer while they simply remove all the answers you have given and send you back to the beginning again for no apparent reason ;)
 
L

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My answer is simple...

I hate databases ever since going on a DB3/4 training course back in the late 80's
 

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Discussion Starter #17
My answer is simple...

I hate databases ever since going on a DB3/4 training course back in the late 80's


You attended a training course in the late 80's????
Surely you were still in nappies at that time :rolleyes:


Where's my bloody brioche?


:D
 
L

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Left school in '85, got thrown out of college in '86 (for some reason I wasn't supposed to hack thier server :rolleyes: :rolleyes: ) and the course was in '88 and was a combined dbase3/4, lotus123, wordperfect5.1 (I think), Basic, Pascal and Cobol.. Then went onto DEC as a sys admin before I joined the RAF in 1990
 

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Truffle shuffle king
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Left school in '85, got thrown out of college in '86 (for some reason I wasn't supposed to hack thier server :rolleyes: :rolleyes: ) and the course was in '88 and was a combined dbase3/4, lotus123, wordperfect5.1 (I think), Basic, Pascal and Cobol.. Then went onto DEC as a sys admin before I joined the RAF in 1990
Glad you on our side ;)
 

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DEC SysAdmin? I learned to program on a VAX cluster at Uni, way back in , er, '91. Green screen tastic.

I used Access once back in the mid 90s, it can do a lot, more than you'll need for this project. Keep the essential structure tidy and you'll be OK, the rest is frills. Read a wee bit about E-R diagrams and information modelling if you want to get your head round the theory side of things.
 
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