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While forms are what the end user interacts with, the underlying data behind a form is stored in various elements within the database – tables and queries. Without a table, forms wouldn’t have anywhere to store the data users enter.
Each form is comprised of graphical elements called controls. You can use controls to give end users the ability to type in a text field or use a dropdown list. Once you place a control on a form, you must tie the control back to a field within a table.
You can also provide non-interactive elements, such as pictures and text to provide information to users or improve the form’s appearance.
Since this is a beginner tutorial we’ll keep things simple, but you can easily expand the use of forms as you continue learning.
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Let’s start by creating a table. Once we create a table, we can create a form quickly using the Form Wizard.
- Open Access and create a blank desktop database.
- Give your database a name and click Create.
- Your first table will be created for you. Under the Views section click Design View.
- Create a few fields by entering a name and data type. As you can see in Figure 1, I’ve created a few different types of fields including text, number, date and lookup.
- Click the Views button again to go back to Datasheet View.
Now we’ll create our form.
- Click the Create tab and select Form Wizard.
- The Form wizard opens and you can select which table and fields you want to use on the form.
- Select All Fields from our newly created table and click Next (Figure 2).
- Next, we need to decide on the layout for our form. Let’s use the Justified layout. Note that we’ll be able to adjust this in a later step. Click Next.
- Give the form a title and select the option to modify the form’s design. Click Finish.
As you can see in Figure 3 the results of the Form wizard were… functional. Let’s spruce it up a bit. We can get a feel for the actual form by clicking the View button.
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Customizing the Form
Be sure to use the Align feature to make sure boxes are lined up nicely. Click on the boxes you want to align and click Form Design Tools -> Arrange -> Align (Figure 4).
Now I want to add a static text box to provide some specific details to form users. To do this, click Form Design Tools -> Design. In the main area are the controls for your form. You will find a few options that will work, but in our case we’ll use a text box.
Once we place the text box we will see that it is unbound. This means it isn’t tied back to a field in our table. Go to the property sheet for the item by clicking on it. In the property sheet, we will add our text using the Data tab and Default Value field. We also want to make sure people can’t change the text so we mark it Locked (Figure 5).
Note that you can easily change the font and color of text by selecting the text and using the text formatting options on the Home tab.
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Using the Form
Let’s check out our form. Click the View button. You will see our finished form (Figure 6). You can enter data and it will be saved to our table. If we check our table, sure enough the data is there (Figure 7).
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That was a very brief overview of creating a Form in Access 2013 – there are a lot of things you can do with forms, so I suggest you continue learning about Access and Forms in general. Good luck!