At first glance, Microsoft Access looks an awful lot like Microsoft Excel — both involve copious amounts of data that’s organized into rows and columns. But beyond that, it turns out that Access and Excel are completely different.

Excel is for data analysis while Access is for data management. It’s a subtle but crucial distinction that means Excel is more useful when you need to crunch numbers while Access is better when you have to manage a lot of data that’s either non-numeric or relational in some way.