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Action Queries–Introduction

The name query implies that you are asking a question. Indeed, that is what selection queries do. However, action queries perform actions that change data in some way or other.

Action queries come on four ‘flavours.’

  • Append
  • Make Table
  • Delete
  • Update

It is important to keep in mind that an action query will perform its action on all records that meet its criteria. The same action is applied to all records so an action query is not an appropriate way to modify the data of individual records.

Append queries select data from the query source and append them to a specified table.

Make Table queries select data from the query source and create a new table containing just the selected records.

Delete queries remove all records that match the query criteria from the data source.

Update queries modify the contents of one or more fields in the query’s data source.

You follow the same general rules and procedures for creating action query criteria as you do for creating criteria in simple selection queries. Before executing an action query is very important to view the records selected. Otherwise you may end up making unwanted changes to your data. As an added precaution against unwanted data changes, you should also back up the database or at least the table(s) that will be affected by the query.

To create an action query start by creating a selection query in design view. In Access 2003 look for the Select Query Type Icon on the Query Design toolbar:

A2003SelectQueryType

In Access 2007 and 2010 look for the Query Type group on the Query Tools Design Tab.

QueryDesignRibbon_QueryType

Depending on the query type you choose, the design grid will be modified. If you choose a Make Table or Append query type, a dialogue will appear to allow you to enter the name of the target table.

In the next four articles in this series, we will look at the specifics of each of the action query types in detail.

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