Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Union Query Basics

Union queries are an important part of your SQL toolset that you may be overlooking. I ran across a two part overview of Union queries that would be a good starting point for anyone trying to understand how to use them, or even why they might be useful. Take a look at:

Microsoft Access Union Queries (Part 1)
Microsoft Access Union Queries (Part 2)

Union Queries are used to bring together two recordsets of data to merge into one recordset of data. For instance, let’s say you have two tables, one for sales going to individuals, and one for sales going to companies. A union query can bring all of the records from both tables (providing you are querying the same number of fields) into one giant recordset so you can view all of your records at once.
This is useful because although you may want to keep tables separate because they may pertain to different departments, bringing them together into one big query will allow you to run different statistical numbers across all of your sales. You would easily be able to compare the percentage difference in corporate clients to individuals in any region, or perhaps see where your greatest individual sales base is in order to target corporations in the same area.
Union Queries can also be used to create a single source for a mailing list. Union Queries eliminate the need to create a make-table query in order to bring in some records, then an append query to add others on top which bloats the size of your database as you’re storing all this data twice – once in their own tables, and once merged in a new table – which means you’ll have to deal with deleting specific data or updating only certain data and creating new object after new object in your database.
Union Queries are just like other queries, they don’t take up the space of a table, and the query is always updated to reflect new table data. Just like other queries, Union Queries can be used for report record-sources as well! Great stuff!

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