MS Access for the Business Environment: MS Access as a Documentation Tool: Database Diagramming - Page 3

August 2, 2004

4.  Click Test Connection to ascertain connectivity.

The Microsoft Data Link message box appears, indicating a successful connection, as shown in Illustration 4.

Illustration 4: The Data Link message box

5.  Click OK to close the message box.

6.  Click OK to accept the settings for, and to close, the Data Link Properties dialog.

The .adp file is created, and the Database window appears as shown in Illustration 5.

Illustration 5: The .adp File is Created ...

Having created our project file and established connectivity to the pubs database, we are now ready to begin our database diagram.

Create and Navigate a Database Diagram

While we are presently interested, for purposes of the hypothetical business need of our practice example, in creating a diagram of an entire database, we have the option at any time of generating such a diagram for any portion of a database, as well.

1.  Click the Database Diagrams button under Objects, as depicted (circled) in Illustration 6.

Illustration 6: Begin by Clicking Database Diagrams ...

2.  Double-click Create Database Diagram in Designer, appearing in the right pane, as shown (circled) in Illustration 7.

Illustration 7: Double-click Create Database Diagram in Designer ...

The diagram design area opens, together with the Add Table dialog, as depicted in Illustration 8.

Illustration 8: Diagram Design Surface with Add Table Dialog

3.  Click the Authors table, and, holding the SHIFT key down, click the Titles table. This should select all tables.

4.  Click Add (we can also add tables individually, as the Add Tables dialog conveniently remains in place until we dismiss it).

5.  Click Close to close the Add Tables dialog.

The tables appear on the design surface, as shown in Illustration 9.

Illustration 9: Auto-Generated Diagram (Zoomed to 75%)

Let's navigate around a bit and explore some of the options we have for working with the diagram.

Field lists for each of the tables appear, with keys indicated by a small key icon. The view of the tables we see is the Column Names view, which we can change for any table / tables we wish to view differently, via the Table Modes button on the toolbar, shown in Illustration 10.

Illustration 10: Table Modes Button, in the Toolbar

6.  Click the Table Modes button to expand it, as depicted in Illustration 11.

Illustration 11: Table Modes Button - Expanded, Showing Options