Is Number a Valid Data Type in Access?


Scott Campbell

When working with databases, it is essential to understand the data types that can be used to store different kinds of information. Microsoft Access, a popular database management system, provides several data types to choose from. One such data type is Number.

The Number data type in Access allows you to store numerical values such as integers and decimals. It is a versatile data type that can be used to represent various numeric values, including whole numbers and fractions.

Using the Number Data Type

To use the Number data type in Access, you need to define a field with this specific data type when creating a table. When designing your table structure, you can specify whether the number should be an integer or a decimal by setting the Data Type property accordingly.

If you want to store whole numbers without any decimal places, you can use the Integer data type. This is useful when dealing with quantities, counts, or unique identifiers that do not require decimal precision.

If you need to store numbers with decimal places, such as monetary values or measurements, you would choose the Decimal data type. The Decimal data type allows you to specify both the total number of digits and the number of decimal places.

Numeric Field Properties

In addition to the basic definition of a numeric field using the Number data type, Access provides several properties that allow further customization:

  • Precision: Determines the total number of digits that can be stored in a number field. For example, if you set the precision to 5, your field can hold numbers up to 99999.
  • Scale: Specifies the number of decimal places that can be stored in a decimal field.

    For instance, if you set the scale to 2, your field can hold numbers like 3.14 or 99.99.

  • Format: Controls the appearance of numbers in forms and reports. You can choose from various predefined formats like currency, percentage, or scientific notation.

Number Data Type Limitations

Although the Number data type in Access is quite versatile, it does have some limitations:

  • The maximum value that can be stored in a Number field is approximately 1.79E+308.
  • The minimum value that can be stored in a Number field is approximately -1.

Keep these limitations in mind when designing your database structure and working with numeric data.


The Number data type in Access provides a flexible way to store numerical values. Whether you need to work with whole numbers or decimal values, Access offers the Integer and Decimal subtypes respectively. By understanding and utilizing the various properties associated with numeric fields, you can ensure accurate storage and manipulation of numeric data within your Access databases.

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