June 8, 2009, 7:52 am
Queries are the database equivalent of filters in a spreadsheet. Just as a filter can limit and reorganize the information displayed in a spreadsheet, so a query limits and reorganizes the information in a database. Either can be an efficient way of finding the information you want, especially when you're dealing with thousands of records. Of course, in the hands of an expert, queries can be far more precise ‚Äî and complicated ‚Äî than a filter, but, if you are using OpenOffice.org Base, then the analogy generally holds true, although queries are slightly more complicated than filters to set up. When saved in Base for long term use, a query becomes a view.
You can create a query in any database set up in Base. In fact, Base offers you three different ways to write a query: in a wizard, which guides you through the process; in Design View, which provides a minimal amount of guidance, and in SQL View, which provides no guidance at all. If you are a database expert, you might prefer Design or SQL View. However, like the Function Wizard in Calc or the introductory wizard in Impress, Base's Query Wizard has the advantage of helping you organize your thoughts while requiring no previous knowledge. For most people or purposes, there is no reason not to use the wizard.