What is Different Between Microsoft Excel And Access At Work?
migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 21 '10 at 18:21
Both Access and Excel can be used as databases since they both deal with and manipulate tables of information. The primary difference between Excel and Access though is that Excel deals with single tables whereas Access deals with relationships between more than one table (it's a 'relational database').
For instance, Excel would be fine to hold a list of employees and the model of computer that they use. If you wanted to add details about the various PC models however (hard disk size, cpu, memory etc.) it would quickly fill up with lots of repeated information. In Access, you could create a second table just containing the PC specs (cpu, hard disk, memory, once for each model number) and link this to the employee table (using the PC model number which is common to both tables). This method avoids storing a lot of redundant information and makes updating the database more robust.
Aside from this, Excel was developed primarily for financial and accounting work (originally mimicking a written financial worksheet) and has acquired a lot of functionality for manipulating and charting figures. Access was developed to work with more general information (whether textual, numerical or other types such as images) with functionality to aid the retrieval of information from separate but related sources.
One is a spreadsheet, the other is a database.
Seriously, that's the main gist of it. Are you trying to decide which one to use for a specific purpose? Granted, there's some overlap in their usefulness, but they are two very different tools for two very different purposes.
As it is not April First, I am assuming this is a real question.
Excel is a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets allow you to manipulate numbers. An example would be a spreadsheet for a budget. You list your income in a "cell" then list your expenses in "cells" below it. At the bottom you can see the amount of income you have left (or how much you are in debt).
Access is a database. It is used to store data. For example you can make a database to hold peoples names and phone numbers. Each phone number is associated with the persons name.
While each software tool was designed for a separate purpose, over time they have each added features that over lap to a large degree. You can use Excel as a simple database. It lacks many of the features of Access, but if you only need a simple, flat database, it might be enough. Access has fairly powerful math features designed for producing reports. I could do my budget in Access instead of Excel.
Many people are more familiar and more comfortable with Excel then they are with Access. So they tend to use Excel as a simple database rather then getting and learning Access. I have found that most people how know Access also know Excel so you don't see people using it instead of Excel.
You can attribute this to Microsoft's Office bundles. Access was only included in a few higher priced bundles. So more people had Excel then Access.