How to Create a Table in Design View in Access 2016

Design View can make some things easier to do than Datasheet View when creating a table.

Here's how to create a table in Design View.

  1. Screenshot of Microsoft Access 2016 with the Table Design button highlighted

    Click the Table Design Button

    Click Table Design on the Ribbon (from the Create tab).

  2. Screenshot of the blank table

    The Blank Table

    A blank table will appear in Design View.

    You can see that field names are to be entered on top of each other down the left column, and their corresponding data types will be listed in the next column.

    One of the big differences between Design View and Datasheet View is how they display the fields. Design View displays them as rows (down the left), whereas, Datasheet View displays them as columns (along the top).

    Regardless, this doesn't change the design of the table. It's still the same table whether it was designed in Datasheet View or Design View.

  3. Screenshot of the table in Design View with the field section highlighted

    Enter the Fields

    Enter a name for each field down the left column.

    Select each field's data type from the next column.

    You can also create a lookup table if required, by selecting Lookup Wizard... from the data type list.

  4. Screenshot of the table in Design View with the field properties section highlighted

    Enter the Field Properties

    You can also change each field's properties in the bottom pane.

    To do this, you need to click on the field first. Clicking a field updates the bottom pane with the properties for that field.

    The properties displayed in the bottom pane are different, depending on the data type of the selected field.

    Field properties can be used to do things like, specify a default value for the field, specify whether it's a required field, create an input mask, and more.

  5. Screenshot of setting a primary key

    Set a Primary Key

    To set a field as a primary key, right click on the field and select Primary Key.

Once the table has been configured, be sure to save it. In any case, you will be prompted to save it when you try to switch to Datasheet View or close the table.

You can switch between Design View and Datasheet View at any time by using the little Datasheet View/Design View icons at the botton right of the screen, or the View icon in the left part of the Ribbon (from the Design tab).

Design View vs Datasheet View

You can create a table in either Datasheet View or Design View. Generally, you can do most things in both views. However, there are some things you can do in Design View that you can't in Datasheet View.

But there are some things that are just easier to do in Design View. For example, you can see all fields' data types in one screen, without having to click on each field.

The Design View interface can be easier to adjust field properties too.