Access DBMS · Technology

Modern MS Access Forms


Let’s face it, Microsoft Access has never been cool. It has never been flashy, it has never been on the cutting edge, and I’ve yet to see an Access database application “go viral.” But that’s okay: Microsoft has steadily improved the desktop application over nearly two decades and people are still tolerating it’s clunky interface. This is how I’m currently doing forms.

  1. User a Form Header and Form Footer. Put information (like title) and filter/reset buttons in the header. Put auxiliary information and buttons (like report generation) in the footer. Think of how the forms flows.
  2. The form detail is a subform with it’s own header and footer.In general, it looks like this:
  3. If you want the subform to automatically expend to fill the form (which it should), be sure to set The Horizontal Anchor and Vertical Anchor from the default of “Top” and “Left” to “Both.”
  4. Now let’s look at the subform. The first thing I do is drop the fields in from the Record source and set up a Tabular format. This is what the form looks like when you drop the fields in:
    With the selection as shown, go to the Arrange tab in the ribbon, and click Tabular:
    This is auto-arrange your fields in a tabular format:
  5. Go ahead and resize/align the fields however it suits you.
  6. Another thing I like to do is have alternating color rows, making it easier on the eyes. Do this by setting the Alternate Back Color of the subform Detail section. You can do it in the Properties:
    or the Ribbon:
  7. I also set the form header background color:
  8. Finally, I set the Form Record Selectors and Navigation Buttons properties to “No,” for a nice clean look.

The end result:


How are you customizing your MS Access forms to give them a more modern style?

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