Access 2010 Formatting Forms

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Access 2010

Formatting Forms

Introduction

Access 2010
After creating a form, you might want to modify its appearance. Formatting your forms can help make your database look consistent and professional. Some formatting changes can even make your forms easier to use. With Access 2010's formatting tools, you can customize your forms to look exactly the way you want.
In this lesson, you will learn how to add command buttonsmodify form layouts, add logos and other images, in addition to changing form colors andfonts.

We will be showing you how to modify forms with examples from our sample bakery database. If you would like to follow along, download example and use it to follow the procedures demonstrated in this lesson.

Formatting Forms

Launch video!Watch the video (3:54). Need help?
Access offers many options that let you make your forms look exactly the way you want. While some of these options, like command buttons, are unique to forms, others may be familiar to you.
Watch the video to learn about formatting forms in Access 2010.

Command Buttons

If you want to create a way for users of your form to quickly perform specific actions and tasks, consider addingcommand buttons. When you create a command button, you specify an action for it to carry out when clicked. By including commands for common tasks right in your form, you're making the form easier to use.
Access offers many different types of command buttons, but they can be divided into a few main categories, including:
  • Record Navigation command buttons, which easily allow your user to move among the records in your database.
  • Record Operation command buttons, which let your user do things like save or print a record.
  • Form Operation command buttons, which give your user the ability to quickly open or close a form, print the current form, and other actions.
  • Report Operation command buttons, which offer the user a quick way to do things such as preview or mail a report from the current record.

To Add a Command Button to a Form:

  1. In Form Layout view, select the Form Layout Tools Design tab and locate the Controls group.
  2. Select the Button command.
    The Button commandThe Button command
  3. Your cursor will turn into a tiny crosshairs with a button icon  . Place it in the spot where you would like your command button to be, and click.
    Placing the new command buttonPlacing the new command button
  4. The Command Button Wizard will appear. In the Categories pane, select the category of button you want to add. We want to find a way to move more quickly to specific records, so we'll choose the Record Navigationcategory.
  5. The list in the Actions pane will update to reflect your chosen category. Select the action you would like the button to perform, then click Next. For our example, we'll choose Find Record.
    Selecting the type of command buttom to createSelecting the type of command button to create
  6. You can now decide whether you want your button to include text or a picture. A live preview of your button appears on the left.
    • To include text, select the Text option and type the desired word or phrase into the text box.
      Adding text to the command buttonAdding text to the command button
    • To include a picture, select the Picture option. You can decide to keep the default picture for that command button, or select another picture. Click Show All Pictures to choose from another command button icon, or Browse... to choose a picture from your computer.
      Using a picture in the command buttonUsing a picture in the command button
  7. When you are satisfied with the appearance of your command button, click Next.
  8. Type a name for the button. This name won't appear on the button, but knowing the name will help you quickly identify the button if you ever want to modify it with the Property Sheet. After typing the button name, clickFinish.
    Typing a name for the buttonTyping a name for the button
  9. Switch to Form viewto test the new button. Our Find Record button opens the Find and Replace dialog box.
    Testing the command buttonTesting the command button
Some users report that Access malfunctions while formatting forms. If you have a problem performing any of these tasks in Layout view, try switching to Design View.

Modifying Form Layout

When you create a form, Access arranges the form components in a default layout where the fields are neatly stacked up on top of each other, all exactly the same width. While this layout is functional, you might find that it doesn't best fit your information. For instance, in the form below, most of the fields are almost completely empty, since the data stored there doesn't take up much room.
A form with the default layoutA form with the default layout
The form would fit the data a little better if we made the fields and command buttons smaller, and even put some of them side by side. However, with the default layout, you won't be able to put two fields next to each other or resize one field or button without resizing them all. This is because Access lines up form components in rows and columns. When you resize a field, you're really resizing the column that contains it.
All of the selected fields are contained in one columnAll of the selected fields are contained in one column, making it impossible to resize just one
To resize and rearrange our fields the way we want, we'll have to modify the form layout. For instance, since the default layout for our form contains only two columns-- one for the field labels and another for the fields-- we would have to create a new column to put two fields side by side.
We can do this using the command on the Arrange tab, which contains all the tools you need to customize your form's layout. If you've ever built and modified tables in Microsoft Word, you already know how to use most of these tools. If you're unfamiliar with tables, review the Word 2010 Working with Tables lesson.
The commands on the Arrange tabThe commands on the Arrange tab

To Resize Form Components:

  1. Switch to Layout view.
    Switching to Layout ViewSwitching to Layout View
  2. Select the field or button you would like to resize, and hover your mouse over the edge. Your cursor will become a double-sided arrow  .
    Clicking the edge of a field to resize itClicking the edge of a field to resize it
  3. Click and drag the edge to resize, and release when the field or button is the desired size.
    Resizing the fieldResizing the field
  4. The field or button, as well as every other item in line with it, will be resized.
    The resized fieldsThe resized fields

To Move Form Components:

  1. If necessary, add columns or rows to make room for the field or button you wish to move, by using the Insertcommands in the Rows & Columns group.

    In our example, we want to move the Last Name field to the right of to the First Name field, so we'll have to create two new columns to the right: one for the field label, and one for the field itself. To do this, we'll click theInsert Right command twice.
    Inserting a new columnInserting a new column
  2. Click and drag the field or button to its new location. If you're moving a field, make sure to move the field label, as well.
    Moving the fieldMoving the field
  3.  Repeat steps 1-with any other fields or buttons you wish to move.
    Many fields have been movedMany fields have been moved
If you would like to make a field take up more or less space than one column, you can use the Merge and Splitcommands. The Merge command combines two or more cells, while the Split command divides a cell.
Fields in merged and split cellsFields in merged and split cells

More Formatting Options

Adding logos and other images to your forms can greatly improve their appearance, as can applying theme colors and fonts. To learn how to add images and theme elements to your forms, review our instructions forFormatting Reports in our Advanced Report Options lesson. The procedures are identical.
A form with an image and theme colorsA form with an image and theme colors

Modifying the Colors and Fonts of Form Components

To further customize the appearance of your forms, you can apply different colors and fonts to individual fields, buttons, labels, and other form components. Modifying form appearance this way is useful if you want to use a certain color or font scheme in a form, but don't want those design elements to apply to your entire database.
For instance, in the form below, we modified the font of our form title. We also applied a new fill and border colorto the form fields, and are doing the same with the command buttons.
Making additional modifications with tools on the Format tabMaking additional modifications with tools on the Format tab
You can make these changes using formatting techniques and tools similar to the ones you would use to modify shapes in Word and other Office programs. Simply select the object you want to modify while in Layout or Designview and use the formatting options on the Format tab to customize the its appearance. For more information about making these types of modifications, review our Word 2010 Working with Shapes lesson.

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