Working with Forms

In Access forms ensure you're entering the right data in the right location. Use forms in Access to keep your Access database accurate.

Using form features

The exact procedure you use for filling out a form will vary depending on the content and design of the form you are using. The forms in your database might be similar to the examples in the two interactives below. Between them, they include most of the features you'll commonly encounter in forms.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about a simple form.

More Form Buttons

Form buttons can provide quick and easy ways to carry out common tasks. Buttons are usually labeled with text or with icons similar to those used on the Ribbon or Quick Access toolbar. From left to right, the buttons here allow a user to save, delete, and print the current record.

Combo Box

To guarantee users only enter valid responses, database designers may use a combo box, which lets users enter data by choosing from a drop-down list of choices.

Text Box with Validation Rule

If the database designer has created any rules specifying what type of data can be entered in each field, these rules will be reflected in the related forms. If you encounter a message like this one, simply click OK and re-enter the data following the instructions in the dialog box.

New Record Button

Clicking the New Record button will create a new record with all fields cleared except for fields with a default value.

Drop-Down Search Box

This drop-down search box allows you to search for existing records. Simply begin typing, and records that match your search will appear in the drop-down list. You can also browse existing records by clicking the drop-down arrow and scrolling through the list of records.

Text Box

Most data entry using forms is done with labeled text boxes. A text box is the Access equivalent of the blank space where you would write your information on a paper form. To enter data into a text box, simply click inside the text box and begin typing.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about a complex form.

Yes/No Check Boxes

There are only two valid responses for the Pre Order and Paid fields in our related table: yes and no. Check boxes give users an easy way to input this data. Simply click the check box for yes or leave it unchecked for no.

Calendar Button

Because the Pickup Date field on the related form only accepts information formatted as a date, the Pickup Date text box includes a calendar button to ensure users can only enter a date in the desired format. Requiring dates to be entered in a consistent format ensures that the database will recognize each entry in this field as a date.

Subform and Embedded Table

In our database, order items are stored in a separate table from the orders themselves. To enter and display order data, this form includes an embedded subform and a table. This orders table can be viewed and searched like a normal table, but it only includes data linked to this particular order.

Add Item to Sub-Form

This button launches the subform that allows you to add a new record to the embedded table. When using a subform like this, enter the data as you would in a normal form, then click Save and Close. The new record will be displayed in the embedded table.

Drop-Down List

Instead of typing a customer name into a text box, anyone using this form must select a name from this drop-down list. This means users can only record orders from customers whose information has already been entered into the database. Requiring that each order is linked to an actual customer record helps preserve the integrity of a database.

New Order

This customized button will create a new record with all fields cleared. Note that the subform is also totally cleared.