Form Design

Toolbar: Form Design

Icon: Mouse click Click a button to jump to its description or just scroll the page.

Button: Handle Button: Toolbar Handle (2002) Button: Toolbar handle (2003)

At the left end of a toolbar is an area called the handle, which looks a bit different in different versions of MS Access. Hover over this area and the mouse pointer changes to the Move shape Pointer: Move. Drag while in the Move shape and the toolbar will move. If you drag perpendicular to the bar, it will undock and float. Drag to another edge of the window and the toolbar will dock there.

Toolbar: Database - slide to the right

Toolbar dragged to the right

Toolbar: Database - floating

Toolbar floating

Toolbar: Database - Docked at left

Toolbar docked at left

Button: Views Button: Views (Datasheet) Button: Views (Design) Button: Views (Print Preview)

The Views button toggles between Datasheet and Design or Print Preview and Design. The arrow opens a list of all of the available views.

Button: Views for a table Button: Views - Table - list dropped
Table Query
Button: Views - Form - list dropped button: Views - Report - list dropped
Form Report

Button: Save Button: Save

The Save button is used to save the current object that is open for editing.

It does not save the whole database. It does not save a record. The button is grayed out Button: Save (gray) in the Database bar since there is no object selected to be saved.

Saving records automatically: By default, MS Access automatically saves a record when you switch to a new record, or when you close the active object where you were adding or editing records, or when you close the database or Access itself.

Save immediately: The menu command  Records  |  Save Record  will save the current record before you leave it. SHIFT + ENTER is the key combo to save a record immediately.

Saving database with new name: To make a copy of a database with a new name is rather awkward.

  1. Close the database, copy and paste it in an Explorer window, and then rename the copy. Awkward!
  2. Icon: Access 2003 Access 2003: Save a backup copy with File | Backup Database...

Button: Search Button: Search

The Search button opens the Basic Search task pane. In this pane you can search your computer or network locations for files, especially Office documents.

Window with Task Pane - Basic Search

Button: Print Button: Print

The Print button prints the selected object immediately.

WarningThe Print dialog does NOT appear.  Do not use this button unless you are SURE that the print settings are what you want. Be sure that you want to print the whole thing!!

Button: Print Preview Button: Print Preview

The Print Preview button changes the view to show how the current object will look if printed.

Print Preview: Report

Buttons: Cut, Copy, Paste Buttons: Cut, Copy, Paste

The Cut, Copy, and Paste buttons work as usual for database objects, the contents of fields, and design elements for forms and reports.

Button: Cut Cut removes the selected item and copies it to the Windows Clipboard.
Keyboard shortcut CTRL + X

Button: Copy Copy leaves the selected item in place and copies it to the Windows Clipboard.
Keyboard shortcut CTRL + C

Button: Paste Paste inserts the contents of the Windows Clipboard.
Keyboard shortcut CTRL + V.

The Windows Clipboard can only remember one thing at a time, but the Office Clipboard task pane can remember the last 24 items copied from MS Office programs.

Task Pane: Clipboard Options - Collect without showingThe Office Clipboard task pane has to be active, either by being displayed on screen or the Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard option must be on, at the bottom of the Clipboard task pane.

Button: Format Painter Button: Format Painter 

The Format Painter button offers an easy way to copy a whole set of formatting choices from one object to another of similar type.

How it works:  Click the Format Painter button and the mouse pointer changes to the Format Painter shapePointer: Format Painter and the button gains a thin, blue border Button: Format Painter. Click on the object that you want to format. The pointer changes back to the Select shape Pointer: Select shape and the button loses its border.

TipThe mouse pointer has bar across itPointer: Format Painter - not available here when Format Painter is turned on but the pointer is not over an object that you can format.

TipDouble-click the Format Painter button to format several objects. The pointer will not go back to the Select shape until you click the button again.

Buttons: Undo/Redo Buttons: Undo, Redo

The Undo and Redo buttons let you change your mind about what you just did. These buttons are gray when there is nothing in the action list. Buttons: Undo and Redo - unavailable

Button: Redo - list of actionsDesign view: Undo or redo the 20 most recent actions.
The down arrow opens the full list of actions. All actions above the one you pick will be undone or redone. The list of actions is cleared when you leave Design view.

Editing Records: You can undo actions only for the current record.  The Redo button does not show. Button: Undo
There is no list of actions, but clicking the Undo button repeatedly will back up through the changes you made for this record. You cannot redo what you have undone for records. The Undo list is cleared when you move to a new record or apply a filter or switch to a different window.

Undo with menu:
Menu: Edit | Undo and Redo
 Edit | Undo <action>  The Edit menu will show at the top of the menu list the last action, like Undo Move or Undo Property Setting. The last action that you did with Undo will show as Redo <action>.

If you leave a record, you can Undo Saved Record only if you have not made a change in another record.

Editing Form/Report - Revert with menu: For a form or report, you can revert to the last saved version after making changes to the form/report. Use the menu  File | Revert . You cannot redo those changes. This is handy for dumping a whole set of changes that you made since the last save.

Button: Insert Hyperlink Button: Hyperlink 

The Hyperlink button opens the Insert Hyperlink dialog. You can create a text link to a web site or a document on your intranet or to an object in the database.

Dialog: Insert Hyperlink (web site)

Dialog: Insert Hyperlink (object in database)

Button: Field List Button: Field List 

Field list for Students tableThe Field List button opens a list of the fields in the source for the current form or report. The source can be a table or query.

You can drag a field from the list and drop it onto the design view of your form or report.

Button: Toolbox Button: Toolbox 

Toolbox bar - labeledThe Toolbox button toggles on and off the display of the Toolbox Bar. The bar holds a number of buttons for adding and formatting controls on a form or report.

Button: AutoFormat Button: AutoFormat 

The AutoFormat button applies one of several formatting schemes to your form or report. You can adjust or change any or all the formats afterwards.

Dialog: AutoFormmat - Form

Choices for a Form

Dialog: AutoFormat - Report, with options

Choices for a Report

Button: Code Button: Code

The Code button opens the window for Microsoft Visual Basic where you can see and edit any Visual Basic code that is associated with the selected object. Database programmers write a lot of code but ordinary users do not!

Window: Visual Basic code for Main Switchboard

Button: Properties Button: Properties

The Properties buttons opens a dialog of the various properties available for the selected object. Objects in the Database window do not have many properties. But objects in the Design view of a form or report often have dozens of properties that can be changed from the defaults. These properties include formatting choices as well as event procedures that control what shows or is hidden and what is calculated.

Dialog: Properties (form) Dialog: Properties (textbox on form)

Button: Build Button: Build

The Build button opens a wizard for creating an expression.

An expression is used to calculate a value for a control or for a criteria or a validation rule. The calculated value can be either a number or a combination of text values.

dialog: Expression builder

 An expression is a combination of identifiers, operators, functions, and values.

identifiers like [Bonus Points]![StudentID]
     where the first identifier is the table name and the second is the field name.
 operators like +  -  *   / > <  = &
 functions like Average, Max, LCase, IsNull

Examples of expressions:

Field names are in square brackets, like [Tax]

Numbers: To calculate the price after adding tax and shipping:
=[Subtotal] + [Shipping] + [Tax]

Text:  To concatenante text or text and values into a single string:
=[LastName] & ", " & [FirstName] & " "& [MiddleName]
="Total Number of scores for A/T " & [A/T ID]

Expressions get messy easily! But they are very powerful and useful.

Button: Database Window  Button: Database Window  

The Database Window button brings that window to the top. The Database window remains open as long as the database is open. You can minimize it or cover it with other windows.

A database programmer can hide the Database window and this button to keep users from interfering in the careful work he has done.

Button: New Object Button: New Object

Button: New Object - list droppedThe New Object button shows the icon for what you chose the last time. The arrow opens a list of links.

The AutoForm and AutoReport choices will create a basic form or report for the table or query that is currently selected. You can, of course, change the layout and the formatting afterwards.

The remaining choices open the New dialog for the object type or the Design view for macros and modules.

Button: Help Button: Help Button: Help (2003)

The Help button looks and behaves differently in Access 2002 than in Access 2003.

Icon: Access 2002Button: Help Opens the Help dialog with tabs for Contents, Answer Wizard, and Index.

Dialog: Help (2002)

Icon: Access 2003Button: Help (2003) Opens the Help task pane.

Task Pane: Help (2003)

Button: Toolbar Options Button: Toolbar Options Button: Hidden buttons and Toolbar options

Button: Toolbar OptionsThe down arrow at the far right of a toolbar opens a cascading menu: Add or Remove Buttons. You can customize the toolbar by adding or removing buttons.

Menu: Add/Remove Buttons

Button: Hidden buttons - droppedButton: Hidden buttons and Toolbar options A double arrow above the down arrow tells you that the window is too narrow to show all of the buttons on the bar. Clicking the arrow in this case will open a palette of the hidden buttons, in addition to the menu Add or Remove Buttons.

All Office programs display the most recently used buttons when there is not room for all of them. As you continue to work in a small window, which buttons are showing will change. This can be confusing!

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