In every company, no matter how large, there are always at least seven Claires, five Bens, one or more Allans in the accounting department and a Christine on reception. This goes without exception, although sometimes with some subtle variations (for instance, the reception is occasionally ran by a Chris, Kriss, Chrissy or Kristina.)
There are many applications which can be used to keep track of personnel information within a company, such as the names of everyone you have trouble remembering as they ask you about your kids in the canteen and other slightly more business-related uses. Microsoft Access is one such application whose main advantages over programs like Excel is that it can present data in a visually appealing way and is easy to work with. The structure and benefits of Access are quick to master – within no more than half-an-hour you’ll learn how to set up an sample company personnel list within the program.
It’s usually handy to have a clear idea of how you want the finished article to look before you begin, including what you‘d like to display, how many records you‘ll need to make, etc. Many people like to map out or already have their data ready in Excel which makes things a little easier to work from, but you’re welcome to make it up as you go along during this step-by-step tutorial which is a good way to find your feet.
Let’s look at how to create a personnel database – we’re going to assume you are using Access 2007. There are two ways of going about this, one of which is to use a template provided with the application and the other is to create a database from scratch.
Using A Microsoft Access Template
Although it has limited options when it comes to designing your database, the Access Database Wizard is the quickest way to set up a simple document and is more than enough for most requirements.
- To open the creation wizard within Access, select the New icon on the toolbar.
- The New file task pane will now open. Under the Templates tab, select On my computer.
- Going into the Databases tab, you’ll be able to select the type of database you wish to create.
- Specify a name and location for the new database in the next prompt before clicking Create.
- The wizard will then give you step by step instructions which will lead to a complete database.
Creating A Database From Scratch
If you’d rather have a greater degree of control during the creation process, making a fresh document without the help of the wizard is the way to go. It isn’t as daunting as it sounds, and doesn’t take long (depending on the amount of information you wish to organise, of course.)
- On opening Access you’ll be given a pop-up box with a variety of choices. Select Blank access database and confirm.
- Save your new database, giving it a desired name and location. When you click Create, you’ll see your database window within the Access.
- Time to create a table in which to display your information. For the sake of simplicity, it’s best to choose Create table in design view.
- You’ll need to input the fields you need for your data – in this case, you’ll want to make a list of fields relevant to the people in the company (name, department, e-mail address, etc.) which can be entered sequentially under the field names column.
- Next, either click on or tab over to the Data type column. Text is the default option in this column, but if you have access to pictures of employees you can create a “photo“ field and should select the Image option here.
- Once you’ve selected your data type, select the next field over in Description column. Type a description here for the field, such as ’Employee name’ or ’Photo’ if you want to enter an image as mentioned in the previous step.
- Hitting the tab key again will bring you back to the Field name column. Enter extra fields in exactly the same way as described in steps four to six.
- Next we can choose what is known as a Primary key for the table. Usually the first field in the table, this is used in conjunction with the search function within Access. In this case it is likely to be ’Employee name’ – click this text in the Field name column. On the tool bar you will see a yellow key icon – by clicking this you will designate ‘Employee Name’ as your primary key.
- Close Access and save the table when prompted. On reopening you’ll be back at the main Access screen. Double-click your table (which should be visible in this window) and begin inputting personnel data, working your way through each row.
Congratulations, you’ve just made an Access database! Okay, it’s a simple one, but you should be able to see its usefulness even from this basic example. In addition, you can always add more data and create new fields in design view.
If you are working with sensitive data such as bank details and salary information (Access is a great tool for the HR department) you can password protect certain fields whilst leaving more general information open to others – this can be managed using the User-level security wizard found in the Security options in Tools.