Which Data Type Allows Storing a Sequential Number for Each Record in MS Access?


Angela Bailey

In Microsoft Access, there is a specific data type that allows you to store a sequential number for each record in a table. This data type is called the AutoNumber data type. It is an extremely useful feature that can be utilized to create unique identifiers for each record in your database.

What is the AutoNumber Data Type?

The AutoNumber data type in MS Access is used to automatically generate a unique sequential number for each record in a table. It is particularly handy when you want to assign a unique identifier to each entry without having to manually input it every time.

How Does the AutoNumber Data Type Work?

When you designate a field as an AutoNumber field, MS Access automatically assigns a new sequential number to each new record as it is added to the table. The numbering starts from 1 and increments by 1 with each new record.

Setting up an AutoNumber Field

To set up an AutoNumber field in MS Access, follow these steps:

  1. Open your database: Open the database where you want to create the table with the AutoNumber field.
  2. Create a new table: Create a new table or open an existing one where you want to add the AutoNumber field.
  3. Select the desired field: Select the field where you want to add the AutoNumber data type.
  4. Set the data type: In the Field Properties section, select “AutoNumber” as the data type for this field.
  5. Save and close: Save your changes and close the table design view.

Benefits of Using AutoNumber

The AutoNumber data type offers several benefits:

  • Uniqueness: Each record in the table will have a unique number, preventing any duplication or confusion.
  • Efficiency: The automatic generation of sequential numbers saves time and effort by eliminating the need for manual entry.
  • Referential integrity: AutoNumber fields can be used as primary keys in relationships, ensuring data consistency and integrity.
  • Flexibility: You can customize the format of your AutoNumber field to include prefixes, suffixes, or even alphanumeric characters.


The AutoNumber data type in MS Access is a powerful feature that allows you to automatically generate unique sequential numbers for each record in your tables. It simplifies data management, enhances efficiency, and ensures data integrity. By utilizing the AutoNumber field, you can streamline your database operations and improve overall productivity.

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