Dress up your Access database

Applies to
Microsoft Office Access 2003
Microsoft Access 2000 and 2002

Do you want to change the dull gray look of your forms and reports? Would you like to display your company's logo in your reports? Have you been wondering how to include visuals in your company's product catalog? Or, do you just want to add color to your database to make it more interesting for your users? If you answered YES to any of the above questions, read on.

ShowBrighten your forms, reports, and data access pages

You can change the background of a form or page with a background picture. The following illustrations show a sample form before and after adding a background picture.

Customer form with gray background

Customer form with a background picture

To add a background picture to forms and reports in your database, see the Access Help topic Add a picture or object, and expand the section Add a background picture.

If you want to add a background picture to a specific section, such as a form header or page footer, see the next section of this article.

ShowDisplay your company's logo (or any picture) on your forms, reports, and data access pages

You can include a picture anywhere on your form, report, or data access page — in the header section, page footer, or detail section. The following illustration shows a form with different types of visuals — a logo, banner, and vertical bar.

A form with a logo, banner, etc

Note that the visuals do not change as you browse through your data.

For step-by-step procedures to add pictures to your forms and reports, go to the Help topic Add a picture or object, and expand the section Use an image control to add an unbound picture.

Note that whether you add a picture as a logo, banner, or section background depends on the size and position of the picture. The steps for adding them are exactly the same. If the picture hides an existing control, select the picture, and on the Format menu, click Send to Back.

If the size of a picture matches the size of a section, you can add the picture as the section's background.

ShowDisplay a picture instead of text on a command or toggle button

You often see buttons that display text, such as OK, Cancel, and Finish. You might have also noticed that the toolbar buttons in Design view use art. For example, the Print button displays a printer, and the Cut button displays a pair of scissors. Adding a picture to a button enhances the visual appeal of your form and reduces learning time for your users. It could also save space when you replace a lengthy caption with a catchy icon.

The following illustration shows some buttons on the Travel Reservations form that use pictures instead of text.

Buttons with art

Note that the button's caption is not displayed when it displays a picture. To display text along with a picture, make the text part of the picture.

For steps to add pictures to a command or toggle button, go to the Help topic Add a picture to a command or toggle button.

ShowAdd rectangles and lines to a form, report, or page

Rectangles and lines enhance the readability of a lengthy form or report. You could use lines to separate controls, or rectangles to visually group multiple controls. You need not create a picture of a rectangle or a line to use it in Access. Instead, you can draw them in Design view and work with them the same way you would with a text box or label control. You can move, resize, and set other properties in the control's property sheet.

The following illustration shows a report that uses lines and rectangles to separate the summary section from the details.

A report with lines and rectangles

If you have forms or reports that could use lines and rectangles, see the Help topic Draw a rectangle or line for steps to add and customize lines and rectangles to a form, report, or data access page.

ShowDisplay a splash screen when your database is opened

In Access, you create a splash screen by creating a form and adding the pictures and text that you want to display on database startup. You might also want to add a Close button to the form to let the user close it. Then, specify the name of the form in the Startup dialog box, so that Access opens the form automatically each time the database is opened.

For steps to display a form at database startup, see the Help topic Display a form or data access page at startup.

ShowChange the background color of a control or section

Adding pictures is one way to make your database visually appealing. A quicker and more cost-effective way to achieve the same goal is to use colors that are pleasing to the eye. You can change the color of controls, such as labels and text boxes, and sections, such as headers and footers.

For steps to change the color of a section or control, see the Help topic Change the background color of a control or section.

ShowSet alternate row colors for a data access page

Large reports laid out in tabular format are not easy to browse, because it is difficult to keep track of the rows. Displaying alternate rows of data in a different color is one way to overcome this problem. In Access, you can do this quickly for data access pages.

For steps to change the color of alternate rows in a section, see the Help topic Set alternate row color for a data access page.

ShowDisplay a picture as part of each record on a form, report, or page

A product catalog is much more appealing if it includes a picture of each item. A report that prints employee identification cards is more useful if it includes the picture of each employee. These are just a couple of examples of cases where you would want to display a different picture for each record.

The following illustration shows three pages from an electronics catalog. Note that the picture corresponds to the product and is different on each page.

Product catalog

Where are the pictures coming from? One method is to store them in an OLE Object field in a table, just as you store any other data. You could then add an image control on a form or report to display the contents of this field for each record. Note that this technique does not work for data access pages.

Instead of storing the pictures in the database, you could store just the path to the pictures. If you use this technique for a form or report, you need to write a Microsoft Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA) procedure to read the path information and display the pictures when the user opens the form or report. On a data access page, you add an image control and then bind it to a text field that contains the path to the pictures.

For steps on storing pictures or their paths in an Access field, go to the Help topic Add a picture or object and expand the section Add a bound image control.

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Applies to:
Access 2003