The following terms describe the basic parts of a database. You should become familiar with these terms to better understand how the accounting system stores data.
Fields A field represents one category of information that can be stored in a table, such as a customer name or a customer address. For instance, if you were to track customer names and addresses, you could use the following fields:
Records A record is made up of one instance of each field in a table. All of the records in a table contain the same fields (categories of data). For keeping track of customer names and addresses, think of a record as one row in a table containing the information. Each row (record) contains the information for one customer.
Tables A table is a collection of records, such as your business’ customer records. Tables group related records the same way the table in the following illustration groups customer records.
Keys A key is a field or combination of fields within a record that is used as a basis by which to store, retrieve, and sort records. Typically, the value of the key field is unique for each record so a particular record can be located quickly.
For instance, to locate a particular customer in the customer name and address table, you could search the table alphabetically using the customer name column. In this case, the customer name field is used as the key.
The following example shows how a database application could store information for customer records in a table:
This table has five fields: Customer ID, Customer Name, Address, City, and State. It also has four records, each containing one Customer ID, Customer Name, Address, City, and State field. The table has two keys. The first key is composed of the Customer ID field. Because no two customers can have the same Customer ID, this key ensures each customer is uniquely identified. The second key is composed of the Customer Name field. This key allows a customer record to be easily located, based upon the customer’s name.
Table Groups A table group is a group of logically-related tables. For example, a customer master table, a customer address table, and a customer history table all compose a table group. Every table in Microsoft Dynamics GP is part of a table group.