The purpose of Microsoft Access is to create quick and easy databases. Access provides a user-friendly interface that helps the user build and develop an information storage and retrieval system without much programming experience.
Much of Access's functionality builds off that of Microsoft Excel. However, Access is significantly more powerful for complex computing tasks or for large data sets. Rather than operating through worksheets, Access stores data in tables that are operated using SQL. The data in these tables are accessed through queries, which are simple sets of commands that detail how to sort and report the data.
The program also allows more complex development of applications and other programs. Access allows users to develop graphical user interfaces so that future users need not work with code or queries directly. These interfaces are built using a drag-and-drop set of GUI commands in Access or through more complex scripting.
Access works in tandem with several other programs for ease of data acquisition and processing. Data from Excel are uploaded using simple commands and are readily translated in Access's table format. Access is built on SQL, but scripting can be done in Visual Basic, as in other Microsoft Office products. Through macros, users can develop novel functions to sort or manipulate their data.