Creating an Access 2013 Database From Scratch

 Many people choose to create their first database using one of the many free Access 2013 database templates. Unfortunately, this isn't always an option, as you sometimes need to create a database with business requirements that aren't met by one of the available templates. In this article, we walk you through the process of designing your own Access database without the use of a template.

The instructions and images in this article are for Microsoft Access 2013. To begin, open Microsoft Access.

01
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Create a Blank Access Database

Access software home page.

 Mike Chapple

Once you've opened Access 2013, you will see the Getting Started screen shown above. This presents the ability to search through the many templates available for Microsoft Access databases, as well as browse the databases that you've recently opened. We won't be using a template in this example, however, so you should scroll through the list and locate the "Blank desktop database" entry. Single-click on this entry once you locate it.

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Name Your Access 2013 Database

Blank database pop up.

 Mike Chapple

Once you click on "Blank desktop database," you'll see the pop-up shown in the illustration above. This window prompts you to provide a name for your new database. It's best to choose a descriptive name (such as "Employee Records" or "Sales History") that allows you to easily identify the purpose of the database when you later browse the list. If you don't want to save the database in the default folder (shown below the textbox), you may change it by clicking on the folder icon. Once you've specified the database file's name and location, click the Create button to create your database.

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Add Tables To Your Access Database

Adding columns in Access 13.

 Mike Chapple

Access will now present you with a spreadsheet-style interface, shown in the image above, that helps you create your database tables.

The first spreadsheet will help you create your first table. As you can see in the image above, Access begins by creating an AutoNumber field named ID that you can use as your primary key. To create additional fields, simply double-click on the top cell in a column (the row with a grey shading) and select the data type you would like to use. You may then type the name of the field into that cell. You can then use the controls in the Ribbon to customize the field.

Continue adding fields in this same manner until you've created your entire table. Once you've finished building the table, click the Save icon on the Quick Access toolbar. Access will then ask you to provide a name for your table. You can also create additional tables by selecting the Table icon in the Create tab of the Access Ribbon.
 

Continue Building Your Access Database

Once you've created all of your tables, you'll want to continue working on your Access database by adding relationships, forms, reports, and other features.