Where Is the AutoNumber Data Type?


Larry Thompson

Where Is the AutoNumber Data Type?

If you have worked with Microsoft Access or any other relational database management system (RDBMS), you may be familiar with the concept of an AutoNumber data type. It is a special data type that automatically generates a unique number for each record in a table. This is particularly useful for creating primary keys or unique identifiers for your data.

Why Use AutoNumber?

The AutoNumber data type offers several benefits:

  • Unique Identification: With AutoNumber, you can ensure each record has a unique identifier, which is crucial for maintaining data integrity and avoiding duplicate entries.
  • Ease of Use: Instead of manually assigning identifiers to each record, the database system automatically generates them, saving time and effort.
  • Data Sorting: The AutoNumber field allows you to sort your records in ascending or descending order based on the generated numbers.

Where Can You Find the AutoNumber Data Type?

The AutoNumber data type is commonly used in Microsoft Access databases. When designing a table in Access, you can assign the AutoNumber data type to a field by following these steps:

  1. Create a new table or open an existing table in Design View.
  2. Add a new field where you want to use the AutoNumber data type.
  3. Select the field, and in the “Data Type” drop-down menu, choose “AutoNumber.”
  4. Save your changes, and your field will now automatically generate unique numbers for each record.

Additional Considerations

It is important to note that the AutoNumber data type is not universally available in all database systems. While it is a commonly used feature in Microsoft Access, other RDBMS like MySQL, Oracle, or PostgreSQL may have different ways of achieving similar functionality.

In MySQL, for example, you can use the AUTO_INCREMENT attribute when defining a primary key to automatically generate unique numbers. In Oracle, you can utilize sequences or triggers to achieve similar results.


The AutoNumber data type is a powerful tool for generating unique identifiers in relational databases. Its automated nature saves time and ensures data integrity. However, it’s important to be aware of alternative methods if you are working with different database systems.

So next time you design a table in Microsoft Access or any other RDBMS that supports the AutoNumber data type, take advantage of this feature and simplify your record identification process.

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