Formatting Forms

Learn all about formatting Access forms to make your Access database look more professional, consistent, and user friendly.

Formatting forms

Video: Formatting Forms in Access 2010

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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.

Command buttons

If you want to create a way for users of your form to quickly perform specific actions and tasks, consider adding command 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:

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 want your command button to be, then 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 Navigation category.
  5. The list in the Actions pane will update to reflect your chosen category. Select the action you want 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, then 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 you can 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, click Finish.
    Typing a name for the buttonTyping a name for the button
  9. Switch to Form view to 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.