thanks CraigR, not really sure how to use views as just got my head around fk's recently.
when you say idenctical do you just mean the data type? or the actual column name?
as i have say 25 product tables, they are similar but not identical. for example they each have a "productid" field which may be "product1id", "product2id" and so on.
should i use a union then or use a linked table that has these values?
thanks for the advice.