Access 2003: 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 in a manner similar to that used to launch Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can launch Microsoft 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 bottom-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, then 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, just like with most Microsoft software programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Main Access Window

Menu bar

Access Menubar

The Menu bar displays the menus available for use in Access 2003. The contents of any menu can be displayed by left-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, then you would first click File and then click 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 an object, design an object, create a new object, and delete an 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, or reports—opens additional choices related to that selection in the right pane.

Choosing the tables button, for example, displays at least three options in the right pane: Create a table in Design view, Create a 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, you may want to write down 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.