How to Install the Northwind Sample Database in Microsoft Access

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About Northwind Sample Database

The Northwind database ships with the Microsoft Access 2003 application. The database is based on a fictitious company named Northwind Traders, which imports and exports specialty foods around the world. The database incorporates sales transactions between the company and its customers, along with purchasing details between the company and its vendors. It includes tables for inventory, orders, customers, employees and more.

It is the basis for many tutorials and books on using Access and is a popular learning tool for users new to the Microsoft Access.

Installing Northwind Sample Database

Installing Microsoft Office Access 2003 on your computer installs the sample Access database file named Northwind.mdb and the sample Access project file named NorthwindCS.adp. The Northwind database contains some great sample tables, queries, reports and other database features. Here's how to install it.

  1. Start Microsoft Access.
  2. From the Help menu, choose Sample Databases.
  3. Select  Northwind Sample Database to open the Northwind.mdb file.
  4. If you've already installed Northwind, it opens immediately. If this is the first time you are using Northwind, you are walked through the installation process in a dialog box.
  5. If prompted to do so, insert the Microsoft Office CD requested by the installation process.

If you'd like to install the Northwind sample Access project, you may do so by choosing Northwind Sample Access Project from the Help -> Sample Databases menu and following the onscreen installation steps.

Why Use Northwind?

  • You can experiment designing queries using the Orders table and other related tables for trend analysis since these tables contain records for a three-year period.
  • With Northwind sample database, you can practice with tables, forms, reports, macros, inventory, invoices and VBA modules. 

    What You Need

    • Microsoft Access 2003
    • Office Installation Media

    Uses for Microsoft Access

    Microsoft Access provides a robust way for small companies to track data and projects. It takes more time to learn than Excel and Word, but it makes projects, budgets and forecasting growth possible. The software makes it easy to run charts and reports of your data and it comes with templates to make the process user-friendly.

    With Access, companies can track all the information for every client, including order information, addresses, invoices and payments. Advanced features allow the mapping of client addresses to plan routes for deliveries.

    Access can monitor marketing and sales information. With existing client information in the database, Access makes it easy to send email, flyers, coupons and regular mail to promote sales or special offers.

    Note: These instructions are for Microsoft Access 2003. If you are using a newer version of Access, read Installing the Northwind Sample Database in Access 2010