Create a Microsoft Access 2013 Database Using a Template

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Create a Microsoft Access 2013 Database Using a Template

Starting from a template is the easiest way to get up and running quickly with Microsoft Access. Using this process allows you to leverage the database design work initially performed by someone else and then customize it to suit your particular needs. In this tutorial, we walk you through the process of creating a Microsoft Access database using a template to get you up and running in just a few minutes.

This tutorial is designed for users of Microsoft Access 2013. You may also be interested in the article ​Creating an Access 2010 Database from a Template.

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Search for a Template

Once you've selected a template, open Microsoft Access. If you already have Access open, close and restart the program so you're viewing the opening screen, as shown in the image above. This will be our starting point for creating our database. If you've previously used Microsoft Access, you will likely find some portions of the screen populated with the names of databases that you've already used. The key thing here is that you notice the "Search for online templates" textbox at the top of the screen.

Type a few keywords into this textbox that describe the type of database that you're planning to build. For example, you might enter "accounting" if you're looking for a database that will track your accounts receivable information or "sales" if you're looking for a way to track your business sales data in Access. For the purposes of our example, we'll search for a database that can track expense reporting information by typing in the keyword "expense" and pressing Return.

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Browse the Search Results

After entering your search keyword, Access will reach out to Microsoft's servers and retrieve a list of Access templates that may meet your needs, as illustrated in the screenshot above. You may scroll through this listing and see if any of the database templates sound like they might meet your needs. In this case, we will select the first search result - "Desktop expense reports" - as it sounds exactly like the type of database that we might need to track reimbursable business expenses.

When you're ready to select a database template, single-click on it in the search results.

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Choose a Database Name

After you select a database template you must now name your Access database. You may either use the name suggested by Access or type in your own name. Generally, it is a good idea to choose a descriptive name for your database (such as "Expense Reports") rather than the bland name chosen by Access (usually something imaginative like "Database1"). This really helps when you're browsing your files later and trying to figure out what the Access file actually contains. Also, if you'd like to change the database location from the default, click the file folder icon to navigate through the directory structure.

Once you're satisfied with your selections, click the Create button to create your database. Access will download the template from Microsoft's server and prepare it for use on your system. Depending upon the size of the template and the speed of your computer and Internet connection, this may take a minute or two.

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Enable Active Content

When your new database opens, you will likely see a security warning similar to the one shown above. This is normal, as the database template you downloaded probably contains some custom business logic designed to make your life easier. As long as you downloaded the template from a trusted source (such as the Microsoft website), it's perfectly fine to click the "Enable Content" button. In fact, your database will probably not function properly if you do not.

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Begin Working With Your Database

Once you've created your database and enabled active content, you're ready to begin exploring! The best way to do this is using the Navigation Pane. This may be hidden on the left side of your screen. If so, simply click the ">>" symbol on the left side of the screen to expand it. You will then see a Navigation Pane similar to the one shown above. This highlights all of the tables, forms, and reports that are part of your database template. You may customize any of them to meet your needs.

As you explore the Access database, you may find the following resources helpful: