In simple terms Excel can be used to represent a Flat data structure
Access is used to represent a relational or multi-dimensional data structure
What does this mean?
If you only have a list of data i.e. customers’ names and addresses then EXCEL is perfect for storing the data
If however you have a list of Customers’ names and addresses and orders by date for each customer then use ACCESS or another database
The Excel data structures is easy to create and to maintain, as long as you don’t have too much information.
Excel is designed to create and maintain simple flat list of data
In Access, the data is also stored in flat files tables but each table is related to one or multiple other tables
e.g. customer names, addresses, orders, accounts
EXAMPLE CASE – BOOK SELLER
Customers names and Addresses, Orders, Books, Publishers, Orders, Returns
The easiest way to which to use – as soon as your Excel spreadsheets start to contain duplicate data e.g. if you have multiple orders for the same customer, this means their name is duplicated, then you should start using a database.
It’s easier to maintain and it’s easier to provide valuable related information
Which product sold the most this year?
Who is our best customer?
What were the top 10 books over the past 10 years?