Use Custom AutoNumbers in MS Access 2013

MS Access 2013 is nowadays widely used to prepare databases for many small-scale organizations and some medium scale companies. Since this latest version of Microsoft Access has various new features that best fit the companie’s requirements, organizations no longer have to purchase the expensive Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle to manage and maintain their databases.

Although MS Access 2013 is a complete and full-fledged Relational Database Management System (RDBMS), it still has some limitations. For example, while preparing tables in a database, the MS Access 2013 strongly suggests the users to create a primary key. Microsoft recommends that the primary key should be set on the AutoNumber field. The AutoNumber data type in MS Access 2013 automatically increments the numbers by one every time a new record is added to the table.

For some companies, especially the ones that belong to small-scale, this default behavior of MS Access is quite acceptable as they can maintain their product IDs, employee IDs, etc. starting from 1, 2, 3, etc. However for some organizations this might not be the appropriate sequencing convention. Such organizations might want their custom format of using the IDs when used as primary keys. For example, an organization named ABC might want to define the employee IDs as ABC-001 instead of using simply 1. This is a very simple process in MS Access but is widely in debate across the planet.

In this tutorial, you will learn how you can set your custom format while specifying the AutoNumber field when using it as a primary key.

Below is the process to do so:

    ■Log on to the computer using any account.

    ■Ensure that MS Access 2013 is successfully installed on the computer.

    ■Initialize MS Access 2013.

    ■On the opened interface, go to the CREATE tab from the top.

    ■From the displayed options in the ribbon, click Table Design icon from the Tables section.


    ■On the displayed interface, specify the name of the field in the Field Name column.

    ■In the Data Type column, select the AutoNumber option from the displayed list.


    ■Ensure that the field is selected.

    ■From the Field Properties section, type the desired format in the Format field. (E.g. “ABC-”00. In the above example, the first field record will now be automatically generated as ABC-01.).


    ■Once done, create other fields in the table as desired.

    ■Finally save the table with appropriate name.

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