Creating and maintaining a database can often be a tedious and time-consuming pursuit, but it is a necessity, to businesses and personal users alike, that need not be a detested one. A database can best be described as an electronic filing system, stored on a single computer or on a network for a larger user-group, whereby one can promptly access the required fields of data and applicable information.

There are many different types of databases (such as numerical, picture, full text or even a combination of some, or all of, these), organized in such a way that desired sections of data can quickly be selected and used by the appropriate computer programme and the person who is handling the data.

An excellent example of a database management system, for the creation and manipulation of data, is Microsoft's Access. It has a variety of functions that allow for efficient database creation and maintenance. It is not necessary to be a highly-skilled programmer to be able to make use of Access, as anyone with a modicum of skill can use it to build simple applications, but a certain level of training on this package will go a long way in ensuring a comprehensive, efficient database.

Advanced training in Microsoft Access will allow the skilled user to have a better understanding of the more complex features of the product, which will allow him or her to make better use of the product, and thereby create full-featured databases.

Microsoft Access is used by a wide variety of end-users from, for example, small businesses wanting to maintain a customer record, to various departments within large companies for the creation and management of data. The Access database is constructed of various functions, namely: tables, forms, reports and queries.

All of these functions can be contained and managed in one database, as opposed to having parts of the required information stored in different locations on the PC, which can lead to the duplication of data as well as redundancies of information.

The database is similar in appearance to a spreadsheet, in that it is made up of rows and columns, so it is quite simple to import information into the database from a programme such as Microsoft Excel. The important difference between a database and a spreadsheet is how the data is organised.

With Microsoft Access, users are able to:
- Add new data to a database, such as a new item in an inventory
- Edit existing data in the database, such as changing the current location of an item
- Delete information, perhaps if an item is sold or discarded
- Organize and view the data in different ways
- Share the data with others via reports, e-mail messages, an intranet or the Internet

Access is therefore a comprehensive database product with many features and functions that allows users to store data and retrieve and modify it, easily and effectively.