Access 2016: Designing Your Own Database

Lesson 16: Designing Your Own Database



Now that you know how to use and modify existing databases, you might be interested in designing your own. Database design can be very complicated—so complicated, in fact, that people take extensive courses just to learn how to plan them. For this reason, we haven't focused on creating a database from scratch. However, we can help you get started.

In this lesson, you will learn how to create a database from an existing template. You will also learn about other resources you can use to understand database design.

To create a database from a template:

Before deciding to build your own database, you may want to look at the templates included in Access to see if any of them match your needs. When you select a template, Access creates a new database based on that template. Once it's created, you can fill the database with your own information or modify it to suit your needs.

Note that some Access 2016 templates require you to save the database online with Microsoft SharePoint. Many businesses use SharePoint to share files at work. To learn more, see our SharePoint Resources page.

  1. Select the File tab. This will take you to Backstage view.
    Clicking the File tab to go to Backstage View
  2. Click New.
    Clicking New in the Backstage View
  3. Several templates will appear below the Blank desktop database option. You can also click a suggested search to find templates or use the search bar to find something more specific.
  4. Select a template to review it.
    Selecting a template
  5. A preview of the template will appear, along with additional information on how the template can be used.
  6. Click Create to use the selected template.
    Creating a new database from a template
  7. A new database will appear with the selected template.

It's important to note that not all templates are created by Microsoft. Many are created by third-party providers and even individual users, so some templates may work better than others.

More resources on database design

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find free, high-quality resources on database design. On this page, you'll find links to online resources that can help you get started. You can also contact your local library for instructional books and resources.

If you are willing to devote even more time and resources to learning database design, you can also search for Access 2016 certification classes online and in your community. However, as a rule, these classes are not free.

Free online resources

  • Create Your First Access Database
    This tutorial series from Microsoft offers basic guidance on database design and creation. The video shows this process in Access 2013, but it's similar in Access 2016.
    Microsoft's Access Basics Training
  • Building an Access Database from the Ground Up's tutorial guides you through the process of creating a database for a small business. This tutorial refers to an earlier version of Access, but a majority of the instructions are still relevant for Access 2016.'s Building an Access Database from the Ground Up