Design great looking forms using Access 2007

Access 2007 Plain and Simple book cover

Microsoft Office Access 2007 Plain & Simple
By Curtis D. Frye

Curtis D. Frye is a freelance author and Microsoft Office Excel Most Valuable Professional living in Portland, Oregon. He is a coauthor of Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Programming Inside Out and the author of Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Step by Step, Microsoft Excel Version 2002 Plain & Simple, Faster Smarter Home Networking, several books on Microsoft Access, and numerous online training courses. Curt's newest book is Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Step by Step.

To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, visit Microsoft Press.


In this article



After you have used Microsoft Office Access 2007 to create forms and reports to display your table and query data, you can change the appearance of any control on the form or report. You can change the appearance of individual elements in your Office Access 2007 objects, but an easier way to change the format of an entire form or report at once is to use an AutoFormat that is included with Access. You can use an AutoFormat as it is out of the box, or you can choose to apply certain parts of the AutoFormat. If you want, you can even create and modify your own AutoFormats so you can make the appearance of your forms and reports consistent. Another useful Access capability is to create a conditional format, which changes the appearance of the data in a text box based on the data's value. If a customer hasn't placed an order in the last year, a product has been discontinued, or a shipment took more than a week to arrive, you can use conditional formats to highlight that data and bring it to your attention quickly.

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1. Applying AutoFormats

Rather than define the format of every object in your forms and reports, you can apply one of the AutoFormats installed with Access. AutoFormats let you do more than just apply an existing format, however; you can choose which elements of an AutoFormat to apply, create new AutoFormats to match the formatting of an existing form or report, or modify an existing AutoFormat.

Select an AutoFormat

  1. Open the form or report you want to format in Design view.
  2. Click the Arrange tab.
  3. Click the AutoFormat group.
  4. Click the AutoFormat you want to apply.

AutoFormat

You can't change a built-in AutoFormat; you can only change an AutoFormat you created.

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Apply AutoFormat elements

  1. Open the form or report you want to format in Design view.
  2. Click the Arrange tab.
  3. Click the AutoFormat group.
  4. Click AutoFormat Wizard.

AutoFormat Elements

  1. Click the AutoFormat you want to apply.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Select or clear the Font, Color, and Border check boxes to select the AutoFormat attributes you want to apply.
  4. Click OK.

Element

Customize an AutoFormat

  1. Open the form or report you want to format in Design view.
  2. Click the Arrange tab.
  3. Click the AutoFormat group.
  4. Click AutoFormat Wizard.

Customize an AutoFormat

  1. Click the AutoFormat you want to customize. You can only customize an AutoFormat you created.
  2. Click Customize.
  3. Select the Update option to modify the selected AutoFormat to match the formatting of the active form or report.
  4. Click OK to close the Customize AutoFormat dialog box.
  5. Click OK to close the AutoFormat dialog box.

Customize AutoFormat

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Create an AutoFormat

  1. Open the form or report you want to format in Design view.
  2. Click the Arrange tab.
  3. Click the AutoFormat group.
  4. Click AutoFormat Wizard.

Create an AutoFormat

  1. Click the AutoFormat you want to customize.
  2. Click Customize.
  3. Select the Create A New AutoFormat option and click OK.
  4. Type the name of the new AutoFormat in the New Style Name dialog box.
  5. Click OK to close the New Style Name dialog box.
  6. Click OK to close both the Customize AutoFormat and AutoFormat dialog boxes.

Create an AutoFormat

 Tip   To delete an AutoFormat, open the AutoFormat dialog box, click the AutoFormat that you want to delete, click Customize, select the Delete option, and then click OK twice to close the dialog boxes.

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2. Coloring alternate rows in a form or report

You can create forms and reports that display one table or query record per page, but viewing data one record at a time can take away your ability to relate one record to the next. Viewing multiple records on a form or report helps you spot patterns in your data, but distinguishing one row from another can be difficult unless you change the formatting to make the rows stand out from their neighbors. In Access 2007, you can format your form or report so that alternating data rows have a different background color. You can choose whichever color combinations you'd like, but bear in mind that a combination that works well onscreen might not work well on the printed page. Test your choices to figure out which combinations best meet your needs.

Color alternate data rows

  1. Display a form in Datasheet view.
  2. Click the Home tab.
  3. In the Font group, click the Alternate Fill/Back Color button's down arrow.
  4. Click the color you want to apply to alternate datasheet form rows.

Color Alternate Data Rows

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3. Applying conditional formatting

Changing the appearance of your form and report data by applying formats (or AutoFormats) makes your data easier to read. However, you may want to apply different formats to a control's contents based on the data's value. For example, you might want to highlight the names of any customers who are within 10 percent of their credit limit or display information about discontinued products in red.

Define a conditional format

  1. Open a form or report in Design view.
  2. Click the control to which you want to apply a conditional format.
  3. If necessary, click the Design tab.
  4. In the Font group, click Conditional.
  5. Click the comparison phrase field's down arrow and then click the desired comparison.
  6. Type values into the value fields to define the condition's parameters.
  7. Use the Bold, Italic, Underline, Fill Color, Font Color, and Enabled buttons to define the conditional format.
  8. If desired, follow either of these steps:

Click Add to define another condition.

Click Delete, select which conditions you want to delete, and then click OK to delete a condition.

  1. Click OK.

Define a Conditional Format

If you change the appearance of a control's contents by making the contents bold or increasing the font size, be sure the control is large enough to display the data.

 Tip   If you create multiple conditions, make sure there is no overlap between the conditions, such as one condition checking whether a number is less than 3000 and another checking whether the same number is less than 1500. If there is overlap, the first condition Access checks is applied. The proper way to create the conditions is to check in Condition 1 if a value is between 1500 and 3000 and then check in Condition 2 if the value is less than 1500.

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Applies to:
Access 2007