Access XP: Identifying the Basic Parts of the Access Window

Lesson 3: Identifying the Basic Parts of the Access Window



By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Identify the parts of the main Access window
  • Identify the parts of the database window
  • Understand the role of design windows

Launching Microsoft Access from the Windows desktop

Microsoft Access is launched from the Windows desktop similar to how Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are launched. You can launch Access either from the desktop shortcut or from the Start program.

To open Microsoft Access using the desktop shortcut:

  • Double-click the Microsoft Access shortcut icon on the Windows desktop.

    Access icon

To open Microsoft Access using the Start program:

  • Click the Start button located in the lower-left corner of the Windows screen.
  • Click the Programs option on the Start menu.
  • Click the Microsoft Access selection.

    If Access does not appear, click the double-down areas immediately below the Microsoft PowerPoint entry and locate Access from a complete list of software installed on your computer.

    Start Programs on Windows Desktop

The main Access window

When you open Microsoft Access, many items you see are standard in most Microsoft software programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Main Access Window

Menu bar

Access Menubar

The menu bar displays all menus available for use in Access XP. The contents of any menu can be displayed by double-clicking the menu.

The main Access window


The pictured buttons in the toolbar are quick and easy shortcuts to specific actions. For example, if you want to save a spreadsheet using the menus, you would click File and then Save. Using the toolbar to perform this save operation actually saves you a click. Click the Save button once to save the spreadsheet.

Access Toolbar

Some commands in the menus have pictures or icons associated with them. These pictures may also appear as shortcuts in the toolbar.

File Menu and Associated Buttons

The database window

Database toolbar

Database Toolbar

The database toolbar presents operations that can be performed against different database objects, including buttons to open, design, delete, and create a new object.

Left pane

Objects Palette

Database objects are created and opened by choosing any of the buttons listed in the left pane of the database window.

Right pane

Right Pane of Database Window

Any of the first four options—tables, queries, forms, and reports—open additional choices related to the selection in the right pane.

Choosing the Tables button, for example, displays at least three options in the right pane: Create table in Design view, Create table by using wizard, and Create table by entering data. It also shows any objects you created in the database.


  • Display the contents of the File, Edit, View, Insert, Tools, Window, and Help menus in the main Access menu bar. As each menu is displayed, either write down or take a picture of the contents listed under each.

    Access Menubar
  • Identify the operation performed by each button in the main Access toolbar.

    Access Toolbar
  • Some buttons in the toolbar also appear alongside options listed in a menu. For each button in the main Access toolbar, identify the menu where that operation can be performed.