Use a screen reader to create tables in Access desktop databases

Use a screen reader to create tables in Access desktop databases

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This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use Access with your keyboard and a screen reader to add tables to an Access desktop database. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll also learn how to save, rename, and delete tables.


In this topic

Tables in Access

Tables are essential objects in a database because they hold all the information or data. For example, a database for a business can have a Contacts table that stores the names of suppliers, email addresses, and phone numbers. Before you create tables, consider your requirements and determine all the tables that you might need. For help planning and designing a database, refer to Database design basics.

A relational database, like Access, usually has several logically connected tables. In a well-designed database, each table stores data about a particular subject, such as employees or products. A table has records (rows), fields (columns), and field values (cells) for each record.

  • A record (row) contains specific data, like information about a particular employee or a product.

  • A field (column) contains data about one aspect of the table subject, such as a first name, email address, or price.

  • A field value (cell) for a record contains different types of data, such as text, numbers, dates, and hyperlinks.

Although each table stores data about a specific subject, the tables in a relational database such as Access, store data about related subjects. For example, a database might contain the following:

  • A Customers table that lists your company’s customers and their addresses

  • A Products table that lists the products that you sell, including prices and pictures for each item

  • An Orders table that tracks customer orders

To connect the data stored in different tables, you create relationships. A relationship is a logical connection between two tables that have a common field. For information on creating relationships between tables in an Access desktop database, refer to Create, edit or delete a relationship.

Add a table

  1. Open a new or existing database.

    Tip: Your screen reader may not start reading until a table is open. If you open an existing database with no open tables, press Enter. The top table in the Navigation pane opens.

  2. Press Alt+C, T, N. A new table is added, and you hear: “Table X.” The focus in the first cell of the second field. (The default name of the first field is ID.)

  3. Enter your data in the table. You can also paste the data from another source, like an Excel workbook.

    When you enter a field value in the new field and move to the next field value, Access automatically names the field FieldX.

Rename a field header

You can rename a field (column) header in the table.

  1. To select the field, place the focus in the field and press Ctrl+Spacebar.

  2. To open a shortcut menu, press Shift+F10.

  3. Press N. The focus moves to the field header, and you hear “Leaving menus, Datasheet, Row X,” the name of the field, and “Type and text.” Enter a new name for the field.

Tip: Meaningful header names, such as Product name or Price, help you know what each field contains without seeing its contents.

Add a field

You can add a field (column) to the table.

  1. Move to the record around which you want to add a new field.

    • To move to the first record of the table, press Ctrl+Home.

    • To move to the last record of the last field in the table, press Ctrl+End.

  2. To move to a new field, press the Right arrow key.

  3. To move to the first record of the new field, press Ctrl+Up arrow key.

  4. Enter your data. When you move to another cell, the new field is added with the default name Field X.

Save a table

After creating a new table or modifying an existing table, save your work.

  1. To save a table, press Ctrl+S or Alt+F, S.

    When you save a table the first time, the Save as dialog opens and you hear “Save as,” and the default name of the table.


    • If you try to close a table before saving it, a dialog automatically appears. You hear: “Do you want to save changes to the design of table?” The focus is on the Yes button. To save the table, press Enter.

    • When you save changes to an existing table, the table has the name your previously gave it. To rename the table when you save it, press F12. The Save as dialog opens, and you can enter a new name.

  2. Type a name for the table, and then press Enter.

    When you save a table for the first time, give it a name that describes the data that it contains, for example, Customers, Parts Inventory, or Products.

    Tip: Decide on a naming convention for the objects in your database, and use it consistently.

Rename a table

Note: You cannot rename a table when it is open. To close an active table, press Ctrl+W. The focus moves to the Navigation pane.

  1. In the Navigation pane, press the Tab key until you hear "Tables," and then press the Down arrow key until you hear the table you want.

  2. To open the context menu for the table, press Shift+F10.

  3. On the context menu, press M twice and then press Enter. You hear: “Rename."

  4. Type the new name and press Enter.

Delete a table

  1. In the Datasheet view, close all tables. The focus shifts to the Navigation pane.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the table you want to delete.

  3. Press Delete. A window opens asking you to confirm the deletion. The focus is on the Yes button.

  4. To delete the table, press Enter.

Note: To switch to the Datasheet view from the Design view, press Alt+J, D, W, and then H. To switch to the Design view from the Datasheet view, press Alt+H, W, and then D.

See also

Use a screen reader to start Access

Use a screen reader to create a query in Access desktop databases

Technical Support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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