One of the hardest applications in the MS Office suite is MS Access. This is why Microsoft separates this application from the general Office suite and you only get MS Access when you purchase the Professional versions or higher. MS Access will be referred to as Access for the remainder of this article.
This application does not follow the normal Windows or Office menus, such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. You also create everything (tables, queries, forms, reports, and macros) into one file rather than create individual files. This is sometimes a hard concept for the casual computer user to understand. To even confuse new computer users, MS Access 2007 is using a new extension, .accdb rather than the traditional .mdb filename.
When you first start to learn Access, most classes teach you about tables first, then queries, then forms, and finally reports. This is all good, but they don't necessarily teach you why you create the tables, other than telling you the field names and which one is the primary key or the table with a primary and foreign key. To really understand and how to use Access, it is key that you learn about how and why you create table relationships and you create a rough draft on paper or via a third party application. Why, you ask?
It saves time in the long run and you can see where tables can be streamlined, eliminated, or new ones are required even before you create them in Access. Learn about 1st, 2nd and 3rd Normal Form. You will thank me in the long run.