Access Basics:
Access Settings

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
Did you want: Working with Databases: Access 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016

Access offers a large number of settings that you can adjust. This is both wonderful and confusing! It can be hard to find a setting that you know exists!

There are several dialogs that manage your choices for how Access itself behaves:

  • Customize dialog- Controls what buttons and menu commands are available.

  • AutoCorrect dialog - Automatically corrects spelling or replaces short character string with a long string.
      Tools | AutoCorrect Options...

  • Options dialog - Main location for configuration settings.
      Tools | Options...
    Has 11 tabs in Access 2002 and 12 in Access 2003!

  • Page Setup dialog - how documents will print.
      File | Page Setup...

Options and Page Setup dialogs are not available unless a database is open.

TipIf Access does not do what these directions say it will do, check for a setting in the Options dialog.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Databases

Before you start...

Project 1: Intro

Project 2: Access Basics Arrow: subtopic open
    InterfaceTo subtopics
    Getting Started Arrow: subtopic open 
    Icon: StepOpen Access
    Icon: StepSettings
    Icon: StepUsing Help
    Access ObjectsTo subtopics
    RelationshipsTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: Tables & Queries

Project 4: Forms & Reports


Icon: Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Access Settings

 Icon: Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to configure with Customize dialog
to configure AutoCorrect
to open a recently used file
to configure with Options dialog
to configure with Page Setup dialog

Start with:  Class disk, Access open but no database open.

Dialog: Customize

This dialog allows you to customize toolbars and menus. These lessons will assume that you are using the default toolbars and menus. One change that you may need to make is on the Options tab. These lessons assume that you will see the full menu, instead of just the most recently used commands.

WarningThe choices on the Options tab apply to all of your Microsoft Office programs, not just Access.

  1. Task Pane: Getting StartedIf necessary, open Access with no database open. A task pane is open at the right.
    For Access 2002 the pane is the New File pane. For Access 2003 it is the Getting Started pane.

  2. Right Click Menu: CustomizeRight click in a blank area at the end of a toolbar or menu. A popup menu appears.
    Or from the menu select Tools.

  3. Dialog: Customize - Options tabClick on Customize.... The Customize dialog appears.

  4. If necessary, click on the Options tab.

  5. Verify that your dialog matches the illustration:
       Always show full menus
       List font names in their font
       Show ScreenTips on toolbars

  6. Click on Close to close the dialog and save your changes.

Dialog: AutoCorrect

Microsoft Office programs can automatically correct certain kinds of typing errors like two initial capitals in a word. AutoCorrect can also replace an abbreviation with longer text. In Access, AutoCorrect works in datasheet and form views only.

In Access the AutoCorrect dialog has only 1 tab, unlike other Office programs which have 3 to 5 tabs for this dialog.

WarningYour choices here will apply to all of your Office programs.

  1. Dialog: AutocorrectFrom the menu select  Tools  |  AutoCorrect Options... . The AutoCorrect dialog opens.

  2. Verify  that there is a check mark in all boxes.

  3. Click on OK to close the dialog and save your changes.


Open Recent File

You must have a database open in order to view the next dialog we want to look at, the Options dialog. In the previous lesson you opened a database from your resource files. So it should still be on your list of recent files.

  1. In the task pane, click on starwars.mdb at the bottom of the menu. The database opens.
    Task Pane: New File: Open a file: starwars.mdb Task Pane: Getting Started: Open: starwars.mdb
     Icon: TroubleNo starwars.mdb in the list:
    Either you did not do the previous lesson or, since then, you have opened other databases which moved starwars.mdb off the recent files list.
    Solution: Click on the More files... or More... link in the task pane and use the Open dialog to navigate to where you saved starwars.mdb in the previous lesson and open it. Or open any another Access database.

Dialog: Options

The Options dialog has many choices that change the way Access behaves.

  1. Once a database is open, from the menu select  Tools  |  Options... . The Options dialog opens with its many tabs.

    Dialog: Options - View tab

  2. View tab: If necessary, click on the View tab.
    These settings control what you see in an Access window.
  3. Verify that the choices match those shown in the image above:
       Show: Status bar, Startup Task Pane, New object shortcuts, and Windows in Taskbar.
       Click options in database window: Double-click to open.
  4. General Tab: Click on the General tab.
    This tab holds items that do not seem to fit anywhere else.

    Dialog: Options - General tab

  5. Verify that your settings match the following:
    • Print margins: 1" for all.
      These are the default margins for all Access print-outs.
      You can also change the margins in the dialog Page Setup but your choices apply only to the current object.
    • Recently used file list: 4
    • Default database folder:
      Type in the path to the folder in which you usually save databases. For these lessons that might be e:\complit101\databases if you use a flash drive. If you work with other databases regularly, you might want to use c:\My Documents or some other folder.
      Unfortunately, you cannot browse to the folder that you want. You must type in the path yourself.
  6. Keyboard tab: Click the Keyboard tab.
    These settings control how you navigate Access by using the keyboard.

    Dialog: Options - Keyboard tab

  7. Verify that your settings match the illustration:
       Move after enter = Next field
       Arrow key behavior = Next field
       Behavior entering field = Select entire field
  8. Click on each of the remaining tabs to see what they can control, but do not make changes.
  9. Click on OK to close the Options dialog and save your changes.

Dialog: Page Setup

The Page Setup dialog is only available when a database is open and a printable object is selected. Page Setup choices apply to the selected object only. They are saved when you save a form or report, but not for other objects. So, for a table or query, you have to choose your page settings whenever you print or else accept the default settings.

  1. With a database open in Access, if necessary, click on Forms and then on a form to select it.
    Icon: TroubleDatabase has no forms: If you did not open starwars.mdb and your database does not have a form, click on Tables in the list of Objects and then on a table listed at the right. Click on the Open button in the Database Window to open the table. Now you have selected a printable object.

    Database Window: Forms

  2. Menu: File | Page SetupFrom the menu select  File  |  Page Setup... .
    Icon: TroublePage Setup is not available: You must select a printable object for this command to be available.

    The Page Setup dialog appears with its three tabs.

    Dialog: Page Setup - Margins

  3. If necessary, click on the Margins tab.
    TipDefault Access margins: Tools | Options... | General tab.

    Saving changes to Page Setup: Any changes you make in Page Setup only apply to the selected object. They will be saved only for a form or report.
    For other objects, you have to make any changes in Page Setup every time you print the object. How awkward!


  4. Dialog: Page Setup - Page tabClick on the Page tab.
    You will often want to change the orientation of the print-out to Landscape for datasheets.

  5. Dialog: Page Setup - Columns tabClick on the Columns tab.
    This tab is most often used to format a report into two or more columns. Getting columns to work correctly can be tricky because the report itself also has measurements. The two sets of measurements have to work together.

  6. Click on OK to close the dialog and save any changes.

  7. Close the database.