Re: The proverbial: Where do I put my BE?
Well, first of all, you can use another Access file as a back-end; that's actually the easiest method. The other options are certainly viable, however.
Now, regardless of which back-end you use, however, if you're doing it manually, you link to the back-end via whichever 'External Data' option your version has. For 2007 or later, it's a tab on the ribbon labeled 'External Data'. Then you click on either the visible button for what you want to pull data from (on mine, they are Access, Excel, SharePoint List, Text, and XML File), or if it doesn't appear, on 'More'.
The 'More' button pulls up a plethora of other options. If you want to hook into SQL Server, you use 'ODBC Database'.
You'll be given the option to either import or link the data - select link.
Now, for Access, you'll be given a standard Open File window. Navigate to the .accdb or .mdb file you plan on using for your back end. Double click it, then select the tables you want to link to, then Ok. Voila, you now have a front end and a back end.
For SQL, for manual connections, you'll need a DSN. You can create them by searching Windows (start menu for 7, search bar for 10) for 'ODBC', then running the Data Sources (ODBC) file that comes up. (The specific file name is odbcad32.exe.) You'll see a list of existing data sources - if the one you want isn't there, then select 'Add'. You'll get a list of drivers - you want whichever version of SQL Server Native Client you get. Click Finish, and a wizard opens up.
Fill in the Name (how you want it to show in the DSN list), a description (which I have never seen used), and the server name (which was created when the server was set up).
The next screen lets you choose between making the user login, or using Integrated Windows authentication, which is a fancy way of saying that the user's login ID is passed to SQL server, and the server checks the assigned rights itself. It's faster and less annoying than server authentication (where users supply login and PW), but more secure.
The next screen allows you to set the default database (it defaults to 'master'), and gives a few options. Leave them alone unless you are quite familiar with the program.
The screen after that is even more options, and again, just leave them alone until you're more familiar with SQL Server.
Then press Finish, and a confirmation screen with a data summary comes up. I'd always recommend using the Test button to make sure the connection works. You can also either save it or cancel.
That said, you'll also need to become familiar with whichever backend system you've chosen to use. VERY familiar.
This is a test.
This is only a test.
If this were a real emergency, you would NOT have been informed, and we would have fled screaming in terror.