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Databases and Access

by: bs0d
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Data Types in Access

Access has ten different data types used for entering data. Text is the default data type. You can enter the data type in a couple of different ways, by either:

  • Typing the first letter of the data type, (then Access will fill in the data type for you).
  • Or by clicking on the down arrow on the right-hand side, and selecting the data type from the drop-down menu.

Here are the 10 different data types:

  1. Text (default)
  2. Number
  3. Date/Time
  4. Memo
  5. Yes/No
  6. Currency
  7. AutoNumber
  8. Hyperlink
  9. Lookup Wizard
  10. OLE Object

In case if you don't know exactly what some of the data types are, they are all described below...


Use this data type to enter text,symbols and numbers that do not require any calculations (such as phone numbers and zip codes). The default length of the text data type is 50 positions, but it can be up to 255 characters in length.


Use the memo data type for lengthy text or combinations of text, numbers or symbols. Memo fields can be up to 65, 536 characters long. The Memo data type is used for long messages that you might not know exactly how long they will be.


The Number data type is used for entering numbers (duh). This can include integers as well as decimals. This field is used for numeric data that represents a count of items, or numeric data used in mathematical calculations.

The number data type can be further broken down, by specifying the field size for the number. The default is LONG INTEGER. Below are the five different field sizes for numbers.

  • Byte
  • Integer
  • Long Integer (default)
  • Single
  • Double


Use the Date/Time data type if you are going to be working with dates and/or times. Just like the number data type, you can further break the Date/time down by specifying a specific type of date or time. Below are the specific Date/time formats and examples of the formats.

  • General Date: 2/14/02 10:21 AM
  • Long Date: Sunday, March 10, 2002
  • Medium Date: 10-Feb-02
  • Short Date: 04/03/02
  • Long Time: 6:37:03 PM
  • Medium Time: 6:37 PM
  • Short Time: 18:37 CURRENCY

The Currency data type shold be used when you are going to be working with money data fields. The currency data type will insert a dollar sign ($) just to the left of the number.


The AutoNumber data will automatically number the records when you are adding records to a table. It will start with 1 and increase by one each time a new record is added. The AutoNumber data type is good to use for a key field because it ensures that each record will be unique.

*If you delete a record (even accidentally) or you back up to the previous record when entering records, Access will not renumber the records. In the case that you back up, it simply skips that number.


The Yes/No data type is used when fields are either going to have a value or Yes or No. The Yes/No data type is most commonly used for flagging accounts paid or not paid, or checking orders to see if they have been filled or not or determining whether to send a Christmas card to a person on your Christmas list or not.

When the Yes/No data type is used, a box will appear in the field when entering records. Checking the box indicates Yes and leaving it blank indicates No.


The OLE Object data type contains a pointer to an object. This object can be a Word Document, an Excel Spreadsheet or a graphic image embedded in an Access table.


The Hyperlink data type is used to store e-mail addresses or addresses or websites. When the record is entered, the e-mail address or web address will be underlined in blue. When you click on it, Outlook or Outlook Express will be loaded to indicate you want to e-mail that person or in the case or a web address, your browser will transfer you to that website.


The Lookup Wizard is used to choose a value for a field from another table or choose a value from a list of values. This prevents you from having to re-type a lot of information by selecting a value from a table where the data is previously entered.

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