If you need to record a large amount of information in some kind of logical framework then a database is the answer. Whether you want to catalogue your CD collection, build a content management system or record your company’s entire inventory, a database has everything you need to both record, organise and share your data with others.

One of the biggest problems with databases is that they can be complicated to set up and maintain, which is why Access 2010 has placed a new focus on trying to be as simple as possible to use. It comes packed with templates to give you a helping hand getting started, which then allows you to slowly get to grips with the program’s more powerful features as your database and your needs grow.

Templates are nothing new, of course, but Access 2010 comes with more templates than before, plus it introduces a new modular building system called Application Parts, which allows you to insert pre-built components into your database with a few clicks.

The hand-holding doesn’t end there: format your data more quickly than before thanks to Access 2010’s new support for Office themes, and avoid complex coding with the help of the Expression Builder, which now provides Intellisense to try and help you build formulas and expressions more easily. The Macro Designer has also been similarly redesigned to make it more accessible to newbies while allowing experienced users to tap even further into Access’ features.

There are also more features for those with access to a SharePoint 2010 server, which allows you to publish your database online, sharing it with other users via a web browser, where they can view and edit it (with your permission) even without owning Microsoft Access.

Note that there's no trial version of Acess as a standalone product. You can try the Office 2010 suite.

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A raft of user-friendly improvements help to make Access more accessible than before, but it’s still a little too complex for the average home user.