Getting Started in Access

Become familiar with the Access database environment, including Access help with the ribbon, navigation forms, and more.

Databases with navigation forms

Some databases include a navigation form that opens automatically when the database is opened. Navigation forms are designed to be a user-friendly replacement for the Navigation pane. They contain tabs that allow you to view and work with common forms, queries, and reports. Having your frequently used objects available to you in one place lets you access them quickly and easily.

To open an object from a navigation form, click its tab. The object will be displayed within the navigation form. Once an object is open, you can work with it as you normally would. In the example below, the navigation form has tabs near the top left for orders, customers, and menu items, and each one will open a corresponding object.

Viewing the Orders form using a navigation form

Generally, navigation forms include only the objects a typical user will need to work with fairly regularly, which is why your navigation form may not include every single form, query, or report. This makes it easier to navigate the database. By hiding tables and rarely used forms, queries, and reports, it also reduces the chance of the database being damaged by users accidentally editing or deleting necessary data.

For this reason, it's important to ask your database designer or administrator before working with objects that are not available in your navigation form. Once you have the go-ahead, you can simply maximize the Navigation pane and open the objects from there.