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: Select Button: Select

Toolbox - Windows XP default styleToolbox: Windows Classic styleWhen Select Button on the Toolbox bar is active, it has a border and a contrasting background and the mouse pointer has the Select arrow shape Pointer: Select.  When it is inactive Button: Select (inactive), there is no border.

To select an object on a form or report (in Design view), the mouse pointer must have the Select shape. Once the object has been selected, then you can move, resize, format, change the properties, or delete the object.

Button: Control Wizard Button: Control Wizard - active

When the Control Wizard is active (blue border and darker gray background) and you insert a control onto a form or report, a wizard dialog will appear to help you. When the Control Wizard is inactive Button: Control Wizard - inactive (no border), no wizard will appear.

Dialog: Wizard for Option Group

Button: Label Button: Label

You use a label on a form or report to add items like report titles and to label the content of text boxes or option groups. The button shows an upper case A and a lower case a.

Labels are static, that is, their text does not change. Text boxes, on the other hand, show data from a field or a calculation. So text boxes normally change from record to record.

Label and Text Box

Button: Text Box Button: Text Box

A text box shows the values from a field or from a calculation in a form or report. Note that the Text Box button shows the lower case letters ab with a cursor bar at the right.

Label and Text Box

Buttons: Option Controls Button: Option Controls

Use an option group Button: Option Group when your users need to choose one option from a limited number of options. You can use option buttons Button: Option Button (also called radio buttons), checkboxes Button: Checkbox, or toggle buttonsButton: Toggle Button.

Object: Options group with radio buttons Object: Options group with checkboxes Options group with toggle buttons

Option Groups using option buttons, checkboxes, toggle buttons

Access allows only 1 choice in an option group, no matter what type of controls you use. This is different from web pages and Windows dialogs, which normally use checkboxes when multiple items can be selected from the group and use toggle buttons only for simple OK, Yes/No or On/Off choices.

Buttons: Lists
Combo Box Button: Combo Box and List Box Button: List Box

When you want the user to select from a pre-defined list, you can use either a combo box or a list box.

Button: List Box A list box show all or at least several of the list items. You cannot type in a value that is not in the list already. You can type the first letter of an item to move quickly to that part of the list. This works better if the items are in alphabetical order.
           List box

Button: Combo Box A combo box is a drop-list, so it takes up less room on your form than a list box. You can type the first several characters, instead of just the first one, to move to that part of the list. You can configure the list to accept or to not accept new values.
Combo box closed: Combo box - closed
Combo box open:   Combo box - dropped

Button: Command Button Button: Command Button

A command button performs an action, like opening a form or report, closing a window, or doing a calculation after the user entered numbers.

Form with Command buttons

Button: Image Button: Image

Pointer: Insert ImageThe Image button opens the Insert Picture dialog. The dialog opens at My Documents. You can then navigate to the image that you want to put in your form or report. Once you click on OK, the pointer changes to the Image shape Pointer: Insert imageand you can click on the form or report to insert a full size image. You can also drag on your form or report to set the size of the image.

Alternate method: Use the menu command, Insert | Picture...

Dialog: Insert Picture

Icon: Trouble Problem: Only part of image shows
The default setting for images is to Clip them to fit the size of the rectangle that you drew with the pointer. You can change that in the object's Properties dialog to Zoom. Then the image is resized to fit the area.

Dialog: Properties for an image

Image clipped Image zoomed

Clip and Zoom

TipWhere is Clip Art? MS Access does not make it easy to use clip art like the other Office programs. You can get to clip art with the command Insert | Object... | choose Create from File and then choose Microsoft Gallery in the list of Object Types.

Dialog: Insert Object: Clip Gallery

Buttons: Object Frame - Buttons: Object frames - unbound, bound
unbound  & bound

You can insert an outside object like a spreadsheet or a document  or an image using an object frame.

Button: Unbound Object Frame Use Unbound Object Frame when the object remains the same for every record.

Button: Bound Object FrameUse Bound Object Frame when the object changes with each record

Button: Page Break Button: Page Break

The Page Break button inserts a page break indicator Page break indicator onto your form or report. This only affects the printed version, not the onscreen version.

Button: Tabs Button: Tabs

When you have a large number of data fields, you can group the fields onto two or more tabs. This keeps your interface cleaner and easier to work with... IF you have divided the data logically!

Object: Tabls

A subform with two tabbed pages -
 5th grading period and 6th grading period

Button: Subform/Subreport Button: Subform/subreport

A subform or subreport shows data from another table or query that is related to the current records. The source for the main form must be joined to the source for the subform in a unique way.

Form containing a subform

Students info form with subform
showing assignment scores

Button: Line Button: Line

Lines can help separate parts of your form or report, making the data easier to read and understand. Decorative lines can add interest to a plain report.

After you click the Line button, the mouse pointer changes to the Line shapePointer: Draw Line. Click on your form or report or data access page to see a default-sized line there. Click and drag to create a line of a different length.

Report with lines

Lines divide the subtotals and the grand total.
Decorative lines in the Title area

Button: Rectangle Button: Rectangle

Clicking the Rectangle button changes the mouse pointer to the Rectangle shapePointer: Draw rectangle .  Click in the form, report, or data access page to create a default rectangle. Click and drag to create a rectangle of the size and proportions that you want.

Such rectangles can be sent Back underneath other objects to visually separate them on the form, report, or data access page. (Format | Send to Back)

You can format the borders of your rectangle as to their thickness, color, style (like solid or dashed or dotted) and special effects (like Etched or Shadow). You can also change the fill color.

Object: Transparent Rectangle on form

Object: Colored Rectangle on a form

A transparent rectangle and a colored rectangle

Button: More Tools Button: More Tools

Menu: More ToolsThere are many more tools that you can use, if you know what they do! The More Tools button opens a very long list of objects that can be added to forms, reports, and data access pages. On my computer this list has 7 screens of 30 items each!

Most of the items in the More Tools list are specialized for particular programs. But MS Access will let you use them, including many from Microsoft which insert objects from other Microsoft programs.

If you select one of the object types in the list, the mouse pointer changes to the Tool shape Pointer: Tool. You can either click to place a default-sized object, or drag to size it yourself.

Object: Microsoft Office spreadsheet

An Office 9.0 spreadsheet inserted using the More Tools list.


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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