What Is Data Type in MS Access?


Larry Thompson

What Is Data Type in MS Access?

In Microsoft Access, data type refers to the specific category or format of data that a field can store. It is an essential aspect of database design as it determines the kind of values that can be entered into a field, as well as the operations that can be performed on those values.

Common Data Types in MS Access

MS Access provides a wide range of data types to accommodate various types of data. Here are some commonly used data types:

  • Text: This data type is used to store alphanumeric characters and text strings. It can hold up to 255 characters by default but can be extended to 65,535 characters if necessary.
  • Number: The number data type is used to store numeric values such as integers, decimals, or floating-point numbers. It can handle both positive and negative numbers.
  • Date/Time: This data type is specifically designed to store date and time values.

    It allows for easy manipulation and calculation of dates and times within the database.

  • Boolean: The boolean data type is used to represent logical values – either True or False. It is commonly used for fields that require a yes/no or true/false response.
  • Memo: The memo data type is similar to the text data type but allows for larger amounts of text. It can store up to 65,535 characters and is useful for storing lengthy descriptions or notes.

Selecting the Right Data Type

Choosing the appropriate data type for each field in your database is crucial for efficient storage and retrieval of data. Consider the following factors when selecting a data type:

1. Nature of the Data

Think about the kind of data that will be stored in the field. Is it text, numbers, dates, or something else? Ensure that the selected data type can accurately represent and handle the expected values.

2. Storage Requirements

Consider the size of the data you need to store. If you anticipate lengthy text or large numbers, choose a data type with sufficient storage capacity.

3. Data Integrity and Validation

Data types can help enforce data integrity by limiting input to valid values only. For example, using a date/time data type for a birthdate field prevents users from entering invalid dates.

4. Performance and Efficiency

The choice of data type can impact database performance. Using appropriate data types can optimize storage space and improve query execution time.

Changing Data Types

In MS Access, you can change the data type of a field even after it has been created. However, be cautious when altering existing fields as it may result in loss or corruption of existing data.

To change a field’s data type:

  1. Select the table in Design View.
  2. Select the desired field and go to its properties.
  3. In the “Data Type” property, choose the new data type from the dropdown list.
  4. Save your changes.

Note that changing a field’s data type may require additional modifications to queries, forms, or reports that use that field.


Data types play a crucial role in defining and organizing data in Microsoft Access. By selecting the appropriate data type for each field, you ensure accurate representation, efficient storage, and effective manipulation of data within your database.

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