Access Basics:
Data Access Page

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101


A data access page is a web page that shows records from a database. Users can view, sort, filter, create, and update the records in a database on a web or network server.

Examples below are from starwars.mdb.


Advantages of a Data Access Page

  • Do not have to have a local copy of the database

  • Can be viewed from any computer on the intranet or Internet

  • Multiple people can view, update, or add records from multiple locations.

Data Access Page in browser window

Data Access Page viewed in a browser

Controls with white background are for fields that you can edit.

Unlike a form, a data access page cannot show the images that are part of a record.

A data access page is the only kind of object in an Access database that is NOT stored inside the database file.


Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Databases

Before you start...

Project 1: Intro

Project 2: Access Basics Arrow: subtopic open
    InterfaceTo subtopics
    Getting StartedTo subtopics  
    Access Objects Arrow: subtopic open
    Icon: StepTable: Design View
    Icon: StepTable: Datasheet View
    Icon: StepManage a Table
    Icon: StepSort & Filter a Table
    Icon: StepQuery Wizard
    Icon: StepAutoForm
    Icon: StepAutoReport
    Icon: StepData Access Page
        About Printing
    Icon: StepPrint Objects
    RelationshipsTo subtopics
    Summary
    Quiz
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: Tables & Queries

Project 4: Forms & Reports


Search  
Glossary
  
Appendix



Views

Button: Views - Page View (2003) Page View

Data Access Page: Page ViewThe Page View for a data access page looks very much like a form and even uses the form icon on the Views button.

You are inside Access in this view, unlike the Web Page Preview where your page opens in a browser.
 

Toolbar: Navigation on Data Access Page

The navigation bar at the bottom of the data access page includes buttons for deleting a record, saving an edited record, undoing an edit, sorting, Filter By Selection, remove a filter, and Help.

Button: Views - Design View (2003) Page Design View

Design View: Data Access Page - labeledThe Page Design View is similar to the Design View for forms and reports.

You have controls with labels and a navigation bar.

Each object and section of the data access page has its own properties, which you can view and change with the Properties dialog.

There is a pane at the right called Field List, which shows what fields you could choose to include on this form. You can display fields from more than one source. However, the page can be used to edit, add, and delete records for only one of these objects at a time.

You cannot control as much about the features of a data access page as you can for a form or report. Web pages and browsers have their own ways of doing things!
 

Web Page Preview

Data access page in browserThe Web Page Preview opens your data access page in your browser. This should be close to what your users will see in their browsers. They can add, delete, and edit records in the database on the web server using this page.

You cannot edit the value in a control that has a gray background. Such a control is either an AutoNumber field, like ItemID, or is from a different table or query than the other controls. You can only update fields from one object in the Field List.
 

Navigation bar in a read-only data access pageRead-only: You can make your data access page Read-Only. Users can see all the records and even sort and filter. They cannot make changes to the records or add new ones.

The Navigation Bar buttons that relate to editing will be disabled or deleted for a read-only type of page. That's the only difference in the appearance of the page.
 


Quick Page

Access provides two quick methods for creating a data access page: AutoPage and the Page Wizard. After creating a page, you can edit the form as you wish. Using one of these quick methods to get your page started can be a real time-saver even when you plan to make a lot of changes. (Does this sound familiar??)

AutoPage

On the toolbar is a button for New Objects. If you open the drop list of objects and choose Button: New Objects - Page (2003) Page, then Access opens the New Data Access Page dialog.

You must choose a table or query and a method. If you choose AutoPage: Columnar in the New Data Access Page dialog, then Access creates a page immediately.

Button: New Object - Page  Dialog: New Page   Page View: AutoPage

The AutoPage is a bland and boring page. It puts all of the fields from the table or query that you picked into a single column. You can go to Design View to revise it as you please.

Page Wizard

If you want to make some choices for your page first, either select the New Data Access Page Wizard and then Page Wizard, or click on Pages in the Database Window and use the link Create data access page by using wizard. Link: Create Data Access Page by using wizard
The wizard walks you through some choices for your web page.

  • Source for the data
  • Which fields to show
  • To group data (perhaps by year or region or postal code)
  • To sort on up to 4 fields
  • To apply a theme (set of colors, buttons, bullets, lines, etc. for a web page)

You will still want to make adjustments to the page that the Page Wizard creates. It is not as smart as you might think at first glance.


Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Create a Data Access Page

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to create a data access page using the wizard
to create and format a page title
to select multiple objects
to change properties in Property dialog


Start with: mytrips.mdb from previous lesson

Create a Data Access Page with the Wizard

Since the AutoPage is so boring, let's try the Page Wizard to create your first data access page.

  1. Database Window: Pages - Create data access page by using wizardIf necessary, switch to the Database Window.
     
  2. Click on Pages in the list of objects at the left.
     
  3. Double-click the link Create data access page by using wizard.
    The Page Wizard opens to the first of 4 steps
     
  4. Dialog: Page Wizard - step 1: select source and fieldsChoose Table: Trips in the first text box.
     
  5. Click on the >> button to move all of the fields from Available Fields to Selected Fields.
     
  6. Click on the Next button.
     

    Dialog: Page Wizard - step 2: GroupingIn the second step of the wizard, you could choose a grouping level, but none of these would be helpful for this page.
     

  7. Click the Next button.
     
  8. Dialog: Page Wizard - step 3: SortingIn third step of the wizard, in the top box, select DateStarted and Ascending for the button beside it.
     
  9. Click the Next button.
     
  10. Dialog: Page Wizard - step 4: Title, modify, theme?In the fourth step of the wizard, type the name  Trips Page  in the text box.
     
  11. Click on the radio button "Modify the page's design" and also in the checkbox for "Do you want to apply a theme to your page?"
     
  12. Click on the Finish button.
    Dialog: Theme - ExpeditionThe Theme dialog appears. A pre-designed theme is a set of formats and lines and buttons for a web page. For your data access page, you won't use many of the design elements, but this is a fast way to get some visual interest on your page.
     
  13. Scroll the Theme list and click on various themes.
     
    A sample of the features of the theme shows in the right pane of the dialog window.
     
    Especially notice  at the bottom the example of a label with data. Your data access page will be almost entirely made up of these.
     
    Which themes are available depends on which version of Office you have installed. Themes may not be installed.
     
    Icon: TroubleProblem: Theme must be installed:
    Message in Theme dialog: To install the selected theme and see its preview, click InstallWhen you click on a theme, you may get a message on the right about installing the theme. To install the missing themes, you will need to have the correct Office installation CD. Just click on the Install button and follow the directions. You will not have to shut down Access or reboot the computer.
     
  14. Page Design ViewClick on the theme Expedition and then on OK. The theme is applied to your page in Page Design View.
     

TipChange a theme: To switch to a different theme later, in Design View open the Format menu and select Theme... The Theme dialog will open again.


Page Design View: Create & Format Title

At the top of the page in Design View is an area for a title. It has some text that is barely readable in this theme: "Click here and type title text. "
Click Here - hard to read

  1. Click in the title area and type My Trips.
  2. Select what you just typed and click Button: Align Left (2003) the Left Align button.
     
  3. Button: Font Color - palette with brown selectedWhile the text is still selected, open the palette of colors for Font/Fore Color by clicking the down arrow on the toolbar button with the A.
     
  4. Select Brown in the top row.
     
  5. Design View: title with blank lineClick below the title in the blank area. The cursor shows you that there is a blank line there.
     
  6. Design View: edited titleBackspace to delete the blank line.


     

Page Design View: Modify Labels with Property Dialog

This simple layout needs some help. Do you see what the problems are?

  1. Data Access Design View: Controls not tall enoughInspect the labels beside each control.
    Strangely, the wizard did not make the labels tall enough to show the bottoms of letters like y and g. This is not a hard problem to fix! There are two choices - reduce the font size or change the label height. This time we will go for taller labels.
     
  2. Drag from below the label Diary straight up the page to DateStarted. Do not drag across any of the white controls.
    Release
    the mouse button.

      Page Design View: Drag across labels to select  Page Design View: Handles show that labels are selected.

          Dragging across labels; Labels selected

     All of the labels now have handles (black squares), which shows that they are selected.

    Alternate method of selection: Click on the first label. Hold the SHIFT key down and click on each of the other labels that you want to include in the selection.
     

    WarningDragging across controls may not select them in a Form or Report:
    You can change the selection behavior to select only if completely enclosed by the dragging rectangle or if partially enclosed.  (Tools | Options... | Forms and Report | Selection behavior.)
    Icon: ProblemProblem: Can't select more than one object at a time:
    You must have installed Internet Explorer 5.5 or a later version.
     

  3. Dialog: Propeties - multiple sections - heightIf necesssary, click on Button: Properties (2003) the Properties button on the toolbar to open the Properties dialog.
     The dialog is titled "Multiple selection".
     
  4. If necessary, click on the Format tab or the All tab.
    The properties are happen to be in alphabetical order this time.
     
  5. Scroll until you can see the Height property, which is currently set to 0.177in.
     
  6. Click on the Height property. A down arrow appears in the white area.
     
  7. Dialog: Properties - Height set to AutoClick the down arrow and select auto from the one-item list. (Other properties have more choices!)
     
    Page Design View: Labels are resizedThe labels all get taller and show the letters properly.
     
  8. Inspect the labels again to be sure that all parts of each letter are visible. If you missed any, select the label by clicking it and change its Height property to "auto".
     

Page View: Are there problems?

Now you need to check how well the data access page works when there is data showing in the controls. Since the labels were not sized correctly, you might suspect that there will be a problem with the controls, too.

  1. Page View: controls too small to show all dataSwitch to Page View by clicking Button: Views - Form (2003) the Views button, which should be showing the Page View icon (which looks just like the Form View icon!)
     
  2. Navigate through all of the records. Do you see any problems?

     

    • Dates: Too narrow
      The DateStarted and DateEnded controls are missing a digit in some records.
    • Control is too narrow, cutting off the hyperlinkLinks: Too narrow, too short, not clickable
      The PhotoLink control only shows the first bit of the link URL.  Letters like j and g that hang down below the line are cut off. The text is not a clickable link like it was in the form.
    • Memos: Not large enough
      The Diary control is missing a lot of the text in some records.
    • Arrangement: not logical
      Logically, the DateEnded control ought to be up near the DateStarted, which got moved to the top by the wizard because you sorted on it.

    These problems are fixable but a couple will require more work than we want to deal with at this point in the lessons.
     

  3. Switch back to Page Design View.
     

Page Design View: Resize and Move Controls

We can easily fix the size of the controls. There are actually two choices - change the font or change the size of the control.

Dates

  1. Date controls selectedClick on the DateStarted control. Hold the SHIFT key down and click the DateEnded control. Both should have handles, showing that they are both selected.
     
  2. Date controls enlargedMove your mouse pointer over the middle handle at the right edge of the DateEnded control and drag right until the edge is on the vertical gray line. Release the mouse button.
     
  3. DateEnded control - moved to topMove the mouse over the DateEnded control until the pointer changes to Pointer: Open Hand the hand shape.
     
  4. Drag the control (the label will move, too) up to the top of the page level with the DateStarted control and drop.
     

Hyperlink

  1. PhotoLink control - made tallerClick on the PhotoLink control to select it.
     
  2. Move your mouse pointer over the handle in the center of the bottom edge and double-click.
    The control enlarges to the Auto size.
     
  3. Move your mouse pointer over the handle in the center of the right edge and drag to the edge of the grid. Release the mouse.

    PhotoLink control - widened

  4. Switch to Page View and navigate the records. Is the PhotoLink control OK now?
     
    Not really! The PhotoLink control is not a clickable hyperlink like it was in the form. It is showing the Display text and then the hyperlink between hash marks (#).  Kauai#http://jegsworks.com/Lessons/images/trips/kauai/kauai.htm#
    The new size for the control shows all of the characters except perhaps the last #. But, future links might have more characters.
     
    There is a way around this, but it requires entering some scripting code and the addition of another object on the page. That is beyond what we are trying to do in this section of lessons. We will leave this problem standing for now.

Page Design View: Move Multiple Controls

There is now a blank area in the middle of the page where the DateEnded control was. You can move the other controls up.

  1. Dragging to select multiple controlsDrag from the right of the Diary control up and over to the label Description. Release.

    All of the controls and labels that you touched should now be selected.
     
  2. Move the mouse pointer back over one of the selected items until the pointer changes to Pointer: Open Hand the hand shape again.
     
  3. Page Design View: Description control movedDrag up until the Description control is just below the PhotoLink control. Drop.
     
  4. Switch to Page View and navigate through all of the records. All dates should be showing all digits. The PhotoLinks should all fit in the control.

Page View: Problem with Memo Controls

The Page Wizard created large controls for the fields with the Memo data type. But the size was not picked by looking at the actual values. The Description text seems to fit in the allowed space for all of the records. The Diary text, however, is much longer than will fit in the default control size. In the report we used the Grow and Shrink properties, but those are not available for a data access page. In the form some scroll bars appeared when there was more text than would fit. We can add scroll bars to the page, too.

  1. Switch back to Page Design View.
     
  2. Click on the Diary control to select it.
     
  3. Right Click Menu: Element PropertiesIf the Properties dialog is not open, right click on the Diary control and from the popup menu, select  Element Properties .
     
  4. Dialog: Properties - Overflow set to AutoIf necessary, click on the All tab and scroll until you can see the Overflow property.
     
  5. Switch back to Page View and navigate to each record. When there is a vertical scroll bar, you know there is text that is out of sight. Neat!
     

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Last updated: 30 Apr 2012