Before we get started, open up Microsoft Access and then open the Northwind database. If you need help with this step, please read the article Installing the Northwind Sample Database. If you’re new to Microsoft Access, you may wish to begin with Microsoft Access 2010 Fundamentals. Once you’ve opened the database, follow these steps:
- Choose the Reports menu. Once you've opened Northwind, choose the Create tab on the Microsoft Office ribbon. In the "Reports" selection, you’ll see a number of methods that Access supports for creating a report. If you'd like, feel free to click on a few of these and get a feel for what reports look like and the various types of information that they contain.
- Create a new report. After you've satisfied your curiosity, go ahead and click on "Report Wizard" and we'll begin the process of creating a report. The wizard will walk us through the creation process step-by-step. After you've mastered the wizard, you might want to return to this step and explore the flexibility provided by the other creation methods.
- Choose a table or query. The first screen of the Report Wizard asks us to choose the source of data for our report. If you want to retrieve information from a single table, you can select it from the drop-down box below. Alternatively, for more complex reports, we can choose to base our report on the output of a query that we previously designed. For our example, all of the data we need is contained within the Employees table, so choose “Table:Employees” from the drop-down menu.
- Select the fields to include. Notice that after you select the table from the drop-down menu, the bottom section of the screen changes to show the fields available in that table. Use the ‘>’ button to move the fields you would like to include in your report to the “Selected Fields” section. Note that the order you place the fields in the right column determines the default order they will appear in your report. Remember that we're creating an employee telephone directory for our senior management. Let's keep the information contained in it simple -- the first and last name of each employee, their title and their home telephone number. Go ahead and select these fields. When you are satisfied, click the Next button.
- Select the grouping levels. At this stage, you can select one or more grouping levels to refine the order in which our report data is presented. For example, we may wish to break down our telephone directory by department so that all of the members of each department are listed separately. However, due to the small number of employees in our database, this is not necessary for our report. Go ahead and simply click on the Next button to bypass this step. You may wish to return here later and experiment with grouping levels.
- Choose your sorting options. In order to make reports useful, we often want to sort our results by one or more attributes. In the case of our telephone directory, the logical choice is to sort by the last name of each employee in ascending (A-Z) order. Select this attribute from the first drop-down box and then click the Next button to continue.
- Choose the formatting options. In the next screen, we’re presented with some formatting options. We’ll accept the default tabular layout but let’s change the page orientation to landscape to ensure the data fits properly on the page. Once you’ve completed this, click the Next button to continue.
- Add the title. Finally, we need to give the report a title. Access will automatically provide a nicely formatted title at the top of the screen, with the appearance shown in the report style you selected during the previous step. Let’s call our report “Employee Home Phone List.” Make sure that the “Preview the report” option is selected and click on Finish to see our report!