Learn all about formatting Access forms to make your Access database look more professional, consistent, and user friendly.
When you create a form, Access arranges the form components in a default layout where the fields are neatly stacked 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 because the data stored there doesn't take up much room.
The form would fit the data 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 all of them. 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.
To resize and rearrange our fields the way we want, we'll have to modify the form layout. For instance, because 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 of the tools we'll need to customize a 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 our Tables lesson from our Word 2016 tutorial.
If you want to make a field take up more or less space than one column, you can use the Merge and Split commands. The Merge command combines two or more cells, while the Split command divides a cell. In our example below, the search command at the top of the form is in a merged cell, and the New Customer command at the bottom of the form is in a split cell.