How to Organize Your DVD Collection Using Access
By Timothy Allen
If you are like most Americans, you have a large collection of DVDs in your house. If you have been interested in taking some steps to efficiently organize your collection, you probably looked into alphabetizing or to writing down the titles on a piece of lined paper or index cards. Microsoft Access offers a great, easy and interactive way to keep track of your collection in a digital, manageable format.
Starting from Scratch
When you first open Microsoft Office 2007 you have an option of downloading templates straight from Microsoft's website or opening a blank database. Double-click to open a blank database and on the right, give your database a name like "My DVDs" or something similar and click "Create."
On the blank table that appears, click "Views" in the ribbon up top, then choose "Design View" and enter a name for your view, which can be anything that sounds good to you.
Now you need to enter names for all the fields that will represent your DVDs, the first field will be the primary "sorting" field for your collection of DVDs, Its default title is "ID" but you can rename that to something else if you want, like "DVD Name" or "DVD Title." Press the "Tab" key and choose "Text" as the field type. If you wish, you can press the "Tab" key again from there and enter a description of what goes in this field as well.
Add other fields to categorize your DVDs. Common ones include: year released (set "Number" as the field type), actor 1, actor 2, actor 3, MPAA rating, genre, synopsis, studio, personal rating and director.
Separating your different actors and actresses into different fields will make it easier for you to conduct searches later, if you want to find all movies with Tom Cruise, for example. Remember, the more fields you create in your table, the easier it will be to sort, organize and find specific movies later.
Design the Form
Design an attractive form than the table for printing out your collection or for entering the data more easily. Click on the "Save" button to save your table then click "Create" on the menu and choose "Form Design" on the ribbon.
Click on the "Add Existing Fields" button, which you will find towards the right of the ribbon. On the right you will see a bar open up with the name of your table and a "+" sign next to it. Open this up by pressing the "+" and then you can click and drag the fields you have chosen out onto the grid area that represents your form. Arrange them in any way that seems aesthetically pleasing and logical to you.
Edit the fields individually to make them more aesthetically pleasing. For example, the title of the movie, you might want to make a different font and larger size than everything else. You can do this by selecting the empty box (not the title) where the title would go and then choosing the font, color or size from the ribbon above.
Use the specific information section for each field when selected, to adjust its tab order. You can find this information on the right, and you can make many changes such as the background color for the field and whether or not it is inset, outset, etc.
Begin entering the data, once your form is done. You can either do this by manually going through each of your DVDs, or you can use an Internet resource like IMDB.com to find all of the details about your movies.
- Advanced Access users can add pictures of the DVD covers or movie posters to their design form for that extra zing.
- You can choose how your form will look when it is printed: either the same way it looks when you are entering it or as a simple table.
- Consider adding a "Checked out to" field if your family and friends are regularly enamored of your collection and asking to borrow. This will help you keep track of who has what, and you can also include a date.
Timothy Allen began writing in 2004, working professionally as a writer for two businesses. He is also a partner in a professional employer organization, and is the company's chief information officer and webmaster. He primarily writes computer articles for eHow. Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Arizona State University, where he is also pursuing a Juris Doctorate at the College of Law.