The real power of a relational database lies in its ability to quickly retrieve and analyze your data by running a query. Queries allow you to pull information from one or more tables based on a set of search conditions you define. In this lesson, you will learn how to create a simple one-table query.
Throughout this tutorial, we will be using a sample database. If you would like to follow along, you'll need to download our Access sample database. You will need to have Access installed on your computer in order to open the example.
Watch the video below to learn more about designing a simple query in Access.
Queries are a way of searching for and compiling data from one or more tables. Running a query is like asking a detailed question of your database. When you build a query in Access, you are defining specific search conditions to find exactly the data you want.
Queries are far more powerful than the simple searches or filters you might use to find data within a table. This is because queries can draw their information from multiple tables. For example, while you could use a search in the Customers table to find the name of one customer at your business or a filter on the Orders table to view only orders placed within the past week, neither would let you view both customers and orders at once. However, you could easily run a query to find the name and phone number of every customer who's made a purchase within the past week. A well-designed query can give information you might not be able to find out just by examining the data in your tables.
When you run a query, the results are presented to you in a table, but when you design one you use a different view. This is called Query Design view, and it lets you see how your query is put together.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn how to navigate Query Design view.
Click the View drop-down arrow to switch to another view of your query. In most cases, you will only need to use two main views: Datasheet view and Design view. Datasheet view lets you view your query results in the form of a table. Design view, featured here, allows you to view and modify the design of your query.
After you have designed your query, click the Run command to view the results of the query in a table.
All of the tables you choose to include in your query will appear as small windows in the Object Relationship pane. Each window contains a list of every available field within that table.
The first row of the design grid contains the names of the fields included in the query. Directly beneath each field name is the name of the table that field belongs to.
The bottom part of Query Design view is called the design grid. It contains a table that lists all of the fields included in the query. Within this table, you can set criteria to specify which information the query should retrieve.
You can sort the data retrieved by a query. Simply click in the Sort: row of the field you want to sort, and select either an Ascending or Descending sort. By default, query results are not sorted.
You may want to include fields in the design of your query but hide them in the query results. To hide a field, uncheck the checkbox in the Show: row of that field.
Entering query criteria lets you specify exactly what type of information you want your query to retrieve. Simply type the desired criteria in the Criteria: row of the field you want to search. Here, the criteria has been set so the query will search for records with Raleigh in the City field or zip code 27513.
Let's familiarize ourselves with the query-building process by building the simplest query possible: a one-table query.
We will run a query on the Customers table of our bakery database. Let's say our bakery is having a special event, and we want to invite our customers who live nearby because they are the most likely to come. This means we need to see a list of all customers who live close by, and only those customers.
We want to find our customers who live in the city of Raleigh, so we'll search for "Raleigh" in the City field. Some customers who live in the suburbs live fairly close by, and we'd like to invite them as well. We'll add their zip code, 27513, as another criteria.
If you think this sounds a little like applying a filter, you're right. A one-table query is actually just an advanced filter applied to a table.
Now you know how to create the simplest type of query with only one table. In the next lesson, you'll learn how to create a query that uses multiple tables.