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Learn Microsoft Access

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is a database management software. Access is part of the Microsoft 365 suite and is common among business and enterprise users. It’s used across industries by businesses wanting to manage data, databases, applications, and client/server interfaces. In this overview, you’ll learn more about what Microsoft Access is, what it can do, who uses it, and how to learn it so you can determine how to add this skill to your professional toolbox.

Microsoft Access is a popular database management program. It is used by businesses and professionals worldwide across industries. If you’ve always wanted to learn Microsoft Access but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn Microsoft Access, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use Microsoft Access.

What is Microsoft Access?

Microsoft Access is a database management software. Access is part of the Microsoft 365 suite and is standard for business and enterprise users. Like Microsoft Excel, Access lets users view and manage data. However, Access is more powerful than Excel and can process more data at once. While Excel is appropriate for viewing and managing data in a spreadsheet format, Access is more suitable for managing entire databases. 

Access allows users to create several tables containing their own data that need to be tracked separately and connect those tables. These connected tables make up a database. And, just like with tables, users can connect databases to track relationships. Within Access, users can also query databases to find the necessary information. As with Excel, users can easily export reports from data within Access to create reports for printing and sharing with stakeholders. These multiple features included in Access allow entrepreneurs and businesses to gather large amounts of data, gain insights and take action on operations, projects, and performance.

Read more about what Microsoft Access is and why you should learn it. 

What Can You Do with Microsoft Access?

Microsoft Access is used to build simple database management systems where entrepreneurs and businesses can store large amounts of data. Users can create tables for managing data and can connect those tables to track relationships. The insights gained from these relationships allow businesses to acquire valuable insights regarding their financials, inventory and sales, productivity, and project management, among others. Databases also function for purposes such as keeping track of employee information or managing client/server forms.

When it comes to sharing data, Access makes it easy to compile data and format reports. Data converts into colorful charts and graphs, making this visualization of data helpful for presenting insights to stakeholders. Charts are also customizable to your needs, including interactive elements. Reports have a variety of options as well. They can be printed, exported to another file or program, or emailed as an attachment.

Access' simple interface and built-in tools make it an excellent resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs who may need more application-building experience. Access can also create desktop or web applications. Developers can create macros, build modules, and develop their own code libraries. Access is also helpful for larger companies that want to develop their own applications without the cost of outsourcing.

Careers that Use Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is used by nearly every profession that works with data and other company information. For instance, Data Analysts use Microsoft Access to analyze and draw insights from business data. Accountants can use Microsoft Access to manage financial data and track accounts, payees, and budgets. An IT Support Technician may use Microsoft Access to store and collect employee, customer, and other business information. Similarly, a Project Manager can track project budgets, deadlines, task management, and team members in Microsoft Access.

Beyond managing data, Microsoft Access can assist Application Developers in creating client-facing desktop or web applications. Users can also apply Microsoft Access's application development capabilities internally for departmental use. Small businesses in any industry without the budget for outsourcing can particularly benefit from Microsoft Access's easy-to-use functions. And department personnel can take pride in developing applications that specifically apply to their needs rather than relying on an external team.

Microsoft Access can serve as the front end of a client/server database. These databases store user information and forms, such as purchase or feedback reports. They are also used to deliver applications. Client/Server databases are found mainly in the web or game hosting industries. However, they can also be used across industries by any company needing a server interface for client interaction. A simple version of this interface might be a "contact us" form on a webpage, while a more complex version might include login, payment, and download functions for application delivery.

Why Learn Microsoft Access?

Microsoft Access is an information management tool that allows businesses to store and gain insights from large amounts of data. Insight gathering is vital for modern businesses as it enables them to understand what does and doesn't work within their operations and decide how to best move forward. Learning tools such as Microsoft Access is essential for any profession that works with data, such as Data Analysts, Project Managers, and Accountants. Microsoft Access possesses additional features, such as web and desktop application creation and client/server database management.

Microsoft Office programs are popular across businesses and industries worldwide. Even if your desired profession doesn't require proficiency in Access, you are likely to encounter and be expected to know how to use at least one Microsoft program at your job. Therefore, proven ability in Microsoft Access will likely help job seekers stand out among the competition as it demonstrates your motivation to learn new skills and advance your career. 

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How to Learn Microsoft Access

You can learn Microsoft Access through a few methods. The most traditional method is live classes, which can take place either in-person or live online. Live classes offer engagement with an instructor who answers student questions in real time. However, in-person class options are limited to the locations nearest a student. Live online courses can be taken from anywhere with a stable internet connection and strive to replicate the feel of traditional in-person classrooms. They also eliminate commuting, which can be a time-consuming and costly aspect of in-person learning.

Another learning method includes on-demand, asynchronous, or self-paced Microsoft Access training. This method is best for students who need to learn at their own pace or have personal obligations that prevent them from attending regularly scheduled classes. This method gives students more freedom to learn as they wish. However, on-demand learning lacks an instructor for guidance, and a student’s own self-motivation is key to progressing through the material.

Lastly, students can learn through free training options such as seminars, online tutorials, guides, blog posts, or videos. These options are great for individuals wanting to learn the basics of Microsoft Access. However, like other learning options, they don’t feature a proper instructor and will not be enough for someone wanting to learn Microsoft Access to advance their career. Free tutorials can also be outdated. 

Read the full guide on how to learn Microsoft Access.

Free Introductory Microsoft Access Course Online 

If you are still deciding whether to dive into an entire Microsoft Access course, you can search for an online introduction to Microsoft Access through Youtube, Coursera, Udemy, and other skill-sharing websites. These free courses are usually short, lasting less than two hours. They often feature Microsoft Access fundamentals, such as how to create forms and tables and manage data. Some courses even teach advanced tips and tricks. 

However, many free courses teach older versions of programs. While most of Microsoft Access's features are consistent through subsequent iterations, newer versions of the program usually possess previously unseen features or place features in different locations. With free resources, it can also be impossible to verify whether the information is quality or correct. While free online classes can be valuable and cost-effective for pure beginners, they aren't ideal for professionals looking to learn comprehensive Microsoft Access skills to advance their careers.

Read about more free Microsoft Access videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

Microsoft Access can be somewhat tricky to learn. Individuals who have experience with spreadsheets will find the functions of Access simple to understand. However, the average person needs to gain such knowledge and may struggle with the program. Though Microsoft Access is simple enough to learn that most beginner courses do not require prerequisites, individuals with Microsoft Excel experience will find the process easier.

There are a number of free online resources to get started with Microsoft Access. These include introductory courses and tutorials on YouTube, Microsoft.com, and skill-sharing websites such as Udemy and Coursera. Through these websites, beginners wishing to learn Microsoft Access can do so with minimal cost. However, free resources are often outdated and don't feature expert techniques.

Those wishing to become experts in Microsoft Access to advance their careers will require professional training. Professional courses in Microsoft Access generally cost around $200-$300 and feature multiple levels, such as beginner, advanced, and expert. Due to the ease of learning Microsoft Access, these courses usually last only a day or two.

Read about how difficult it is to learn Microsoft Access.

How Does Learning Microsoft Access Compare to Other Applications/Languages/Fields?

At first glance, Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel might seem to serve the same functions. Both programs work with data and can convert data into charts and graphs for visual presentations. However, while Excel is best for organizing data, Access is best for managing it. Microsoft Excel is spreadsheet software, while Access is database management software. While Excel users can create workbooks that store multiple spreadsheets of data, Access users can create various forms that connect to each to form databases. Some professionals choose to learn Microsoft Excel as a stepping stone to understanding Access.

Microsoft SQL Server is another program with many similarities to Microsoft Access. Both programs function for database management. However, SQL can handle larger amounts of data and more optimized data processing. Microsoft Access better suits entrepreneurs and small businesses with relatively small database management needs. Companies of medium to large size likely find they have more extensive data processing needs than Microsoft Access can handle. Microsoft Access's interface is designed for those unfamiliar with complex database management, making it easy to learn with little training. Learning SQL Server is likely to take much more time as it is a more advanced software for data management experts.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Microsoft Access

The best way to learn Microsoft will vary greatly on your individual needs and why you wish to learn the program. Do you consider yourself a beginner learner? Are you hoping not to spend money on your training? Are you looking for a simple overview of Microsoft Access? If you answered yes to these questions, free introductory courses would be best for you. However, these courses are often outdated and don't feature the comprehensive learning necessary to advance a career. They also lack an instructor, so you'll be troubleshooting on your own and relying on self-motivation to progress.

If you want to learn Microsoft Access to advance your career, professional Microsoft Access training or a bootcamp contains a comprehensive curriculum. These courses feature an experienced instructor and deep dive into Microsoft Access features. You'll be guided from beginner to mastery skills and learn expert techniques and tips. Some of these courses also offer job search assistance, one-on-one mentorship, or portfolio workshops. Professional training courses and bootcamps are available online and in person and vary in cost depending on the provider and curriculum.

If you're looking to pivot to a new career or industry, it may be ideal for demonstrating complete mastery of Microsoft Access. In this case, you'll want to look for a certificate program. Certification in Microsoft Access shows employers your dedication to training and advancing your career. These programs are like professional training and bootcamps, as they teach the subject matter and are open to beginners but also include exam preparation for gaining certification. Certification exams have a separate cost from training courses.

Learn Microsoft Access with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

In today's busy world, live online learning can be a fast, engaging, and cheaper alternative to in-person classes. With live, hands-on training at Noble Desktop, Microsoft Access is easy to learn. Noble Desktop's classes are small, taught by expert instructors, and include free retake options.

Noble Desktop offers Microsoft Access classes at two levels. Microsoft Access Level I teaches beginners the fundamentals of the program. Students learn how to work with data and create tables and forms. Microsoft Access Level II teaches advanced techniques such as data validation, table structure improvement, and advanced reporting. Students build their own databases and learn efficiency tips and tricks. 

The Microsoft Access Bootcamp covers both Microsoft Access Level I and II. This class is ideal for beginners who wish to master the program in one comprehensive course. Students interested in becoming certified in Microsoft Access may want to attend the Access Specialist Certification Program. This course is offered through NYIM, an affiliate school to Noble Desktop, and combines Microsoft Access Level I and II with Access Certification exam training. 

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