MS Access - Alternate Criteria

Queries come in with many advantages. You can save and run the same query again and again, and a lot of times you want to add alternate criteria.

You can add alternate criteria in the following two ways −

  • You can use the OR operator to combine two sets of criteria.
  • You can also use the query design grid, but instead of specifying criteria on the same line, you will need to separate it in multiple row.


Let us look at a simple example of alternate criteria. Open database and in the Create tab select Query Design.

Query Design Employee

Double-click on tblEmployee and close the Show Table dialog box.

Select Show Table

Double-click on all the field you want to see as query result.

Query Result Field

You can now see that alternate criterion is specified in different rows of the LastName field. When you run this query, you will see the employees whose last name is either Pollard or Manning. Let us now run this query.


As you can see that only two employees have been retrieved, because of the alternate criteria.

If you want to add alternate criteria in multiple fields then you will have to use different rows for all the fields. Let us now add another alternate criterion where we can retrieve information for employees whose last name is either Pollard or Manning or the job title is Accounting Assistant.

Let us now run this query.

Job Title

You will now see the following result.