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Non-Normalized Tables

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Database Table 0th Normal Form (Spreadsheet Design)

Definition Examples and Recommendations

Zero Normal Form Definition

0th normal form is the classic spreadsheet layout for a database table. Characteristic of a spreadsheet layout are:

Microsoft Access is a fully capable database and it's primary limitations is the number of concurrent users it will support. Generally, we recommend a limit of 10 to 15 users.

We create databases large and small. Some of our databases help run entire small businesses. We also handle unique businesses such as flyrod manufacturing, cheese making, marina management, and cable tv inventory.

  • Repeating groups of fields

  • Positional dependence of data

  • Non-Atomic data


The following table is in spreadsheet design:

Employee_Names     (example data in a single cell would be "Jane Doe,
                                John Doe, Billy Bob"

Problems With Data Stored in Spreadsheet Layout

  • Data duplication

  • Single fields contain multiple data values (Employee_Names), therefore they are non-atomic

  • Queries would require constant update as because of positional dependence of data (sales_2001, etc.)

  • Tables/forms/queries/reports require redesign when a additional milestones or sales years are needed

How to Fix The Problems

All repeating groups should be split out into a separate subordinate table with the column 'data' defined in a table field.  Example for the Project_Sales table would be a table with the following fields:


To solve the problem with multiple employees listed in one field create a subordinate table like:


A Blue Claw Database Design Article:

Why Choose Microsoft Access

Blue Claw Database Design Downloadable Tutorial:
How To Program Continuous-Continuous Master/Detail Forms  

A Blue Claw Software Design Template:

Customer Order Fullfillment Database

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