Microsoft Access 2010: How to Customize Form Settings

When working with forms in Microsoft Access 2010, you will probably need to customize settings at one point or another. This tutorial will show you the necessary steps to customizing form settings in Access 2010.

Since users have varying situations and needs when it comes to storing data, Microsoft equipped Access 2010 with capabilities that allow you to adjust specific settings for forms you want to create.  These settings adjustments take place via the handy Property Sheet.  That is where our focus will be for this tutorial, so let’s get started and begin customizing some form settings.

Keep in mind, we are using a distinct sample for this tutorial, so just follow along as best as you can to see how the techniques are applied.  You can then copy these simple techniques to your own samples to put them into action.

To access the Property Sheet to make your settings adjustments, you will first have to be in Layout View, which can be accessed by clicking on View in the toolbar at the top left of the program window.  Once in Layout View, click on the Design tab.  On the right-hand side you should see the Property Sheet option in the Tools section.  Click on it to display the Property Sheet and all of its settings.

Within the Property Sheet are multiple tabs that you can go to in order to adjust different settings.  These tabs include Format, Data, Event, Other, and All.  As for the settings in these tabs, they are displayed with the property name in the left column of each row and the property value in the right column.

Adjusting each property can be done in one of two ways.  Some of the properties will have you enter in a desired value, while others will have convenient drop-down menus with a list of pre-defined values for you to choose from.

It is worth noting that there are plenty of settings that can be adjusted, so you need to proceed with caution when making your adjustments.  It is probably a good idea to write down or copy your settings when you begin.  This gives you a reference to go back to if you are not happy with your adjustments.  Unless you are a complete technical wiz, it is likely that you will not know what many of the properties do.  Luckily, Access 2010 helps you figure things out by putting a description of each property in the bottom left-hand corner of the page.  These descriptions will change as you click on different properties.

So, now you know how to access the Property Sheet and all the adjustable properties and settings it contains.  Let’s start making adjustments.  For our sample form, we are going to begin by hiding the first field in the form, the ID field. 

First, select the ID field in the form by clicking on it.  Next, go over to the Property Sheet and click on the Format tab.  Look down for the Format property labeled Visible.  It is one of the first few properties listed.  At this point, its value is set to Yes.  We do not want it to be visible, however, so click on it to display the drop-down menu, and click No.

To see the effects of your change, click on View at the top left of the program window and select Form View.  Looking at the form, you should see that ID is no longer visible.  Of course, you can make it visible once again by going to the Visible property in the Format tab of the Property Sheet and selecting the Yes option.

For our second modification, let’s work on another form.  This time, we will take a stab at changing around the Orders form in our sample.  First, we click on the form labeled orders from the list of forms on the left-hand side of the window.  Next, we click on View and select Layout View.  If the Property Sheet is hidden, simply click on its icon in the Tools section.

In the Orders form, we want to adjust the field that corresponds to Pickup Date, so we find that field in the form and select it.
Now we have to figure out how we want to adjust the field’s property.  Let’s make the pickup date default to the current date.  With the Pickup Date field selected, click the Data tab in the Property Sheet.  Look for the property that corresponds to Default Value.  We want this default value to be the current date, so to make that happen an expression is needed.  Click in the field next to Default Value and click again on the little button on the right-hand side to make the Expression Builder appear.

Now you see the Expression Builder.  Go to the Expression Elements section on the bottom left and click on Common Expressions.  In the middle column you will see Expression Categories.  One of those is for Current Date.  Click on it.  Next, click on the item listed in the Expression values section on the right.  That expression will appear in the section above.

Click OK to finalize the expression being added to the Property Sheet for the Default Value property.  Once that is finished, close out the Property Sheet.

To test the application of the current date to the form’s Pickup Date field, click on Form View.  Clicking on the form’s New Order button inserts the current date into the Pickup Date field.  This shows that our adjustment has worked properly.

We only made two adjustments to customize the sample form in this tutorial.  There are obviously many more contained within the Property Sheet.  Hopefully the examples were helpful enough to allow you to discover how other properties can be used to customize your form settings.  Making the adjustments is quite simple, but remember to keep tabs on what your values were to begin with just in case you want to go back to them.

Stay tuned for more Access 2010 tutorials here in the future.

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