Access is an effective and easy to use program within the Microsoft Office Suite and with so many ways to effectively store data, it is a shame that we do not capitalise on its benefits and still mislay those all important phone numbers.

Losing paperwork has been known to cause havoc within the workplace and statistics show that businesses waste more than £42.2 million per day in time spent searching for documents. Probably why they call it waste paper!

A tatty business card left in a muddled desk drawer could easily be thrown away or overlooked and that once in a lifetime business opportunity lost forever. Even in our everyday lives, we can easily lose track of a mounting range of phone numbers simply by not having the means to store them effectively.

Many people are making the wise move of searching for numbers online (which is why over 75,000 tons of waste paper is accumulated from unwanted phone directories each year), so why not use an electronic means for storing them? One way of doing this is to make a basic list in Word but there are more functional and reliable methods available.

Access and Excel are probably the two best tools for the job. In this article, we will look at how the former can be used to create your own personal electronic phone book. Pages running out, squinting from having to decipher your own rushed handwriting and trying to find that elusive pen are all a thing of the past as Access has brought contact management into the future. There are no limits to the amount of data you can store and searching for numbers can be done in lightening speed with results in a flash - a real page turner!

This tutorial has been created using Microsoft Access 2007. Different versions of the application have subtle changes but the essence is primarily the same.

A step by step guide to creating a phone book in less than five minutes using Access:

Firstly, don't feel daunted by this task as Access will complete the majority of the process for you using a simple template. Ensure that you are connected to the internet so as you can follow the directions of the template wizard.

1. You need to open Access. Go to the Start menu in the Microsoft Office tab.

2. You will now see a window which says 'Getting Started'. Here you will view the 'Featured Online Templates' category. Select 'Contacts' to inform Access that you wish to download a template which will allow you to edit your contact information.

3. Pick a name for your phone book and hit the 'Download' button. A new window will open entitled 'Getting Started with Contacts'. You can either close this window or spend some time viewing the videos which provide more detailed information.

4. You are now at the data entry part of the task. Click 'New Contact' to generate a 'Contact Detail' window with a selection of tabs. If you have not been directed there already, click the 'General' tab. Now you can add the contact numbers you wish to catalogue, including full addresses and phone numbers.

It is not necessary to create an individual database for work contacts and home contacts, so feel free to bundle all of your contacts together. At the bottom of the window, you will have the option to specify whether the contact mentioned is for professional or private purpose. You can find specific numbers by filtering the results to find your chosen contact quickly and easily.

As you add each new contact, click on the 'Save and New' option. This will allow you to repeat the process as many times as you need. When you are finished, click on 'Save and Close'.

Now you can decide how you would like to view your contacts by using the column headings. The most popular way of displaying names is in alphabetical order.

This must have taken up a whole five minutes of your time but you have created your own reliable and easy to access phone book which will last you a lifetime! You can even import contacts from Microsoft Outlook in a couple of clicks!

Use the Access control panel to sift through your database and display the results in an instant without the laborious task of having to plough through pages of scrappy notepads.

Why not make this a liberating experience and show your notebook what the inside of a waste paper bin looks like. Discard those space wasting business cards and scraps of paper and look forward to the peace of mind that all of your important and valued numbers are easy to Access.