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Data Field Design


Fields Design Techniques



As a database is expanding, so are its objects. For example, many of the tables created by the Database Wizard lack some fields that otherwise would not suit a particular scenario. As we learned already, you can add new fields to a table. Since such new fields are not added to the corresponding forms or reports, you have to insert these fields in the appropriate objects. Even though the Form Wizard or the Report Wizard can be used to create quick objects, you still have the option of changing or improving their look by moving fields around and changing the sequence of fields’ navigation.

The modification and design of a form or a report is done in Design View. A form or report in Design View displays the same window controls we have used when performing data entry. This time, these controls are equipped with handles that allow you to move them anywhere on the object.

To perform your design, a form is equipped with two rulers, one horizontal on the top section of the form, and one vertical on the left section, to help you be more precise with dimensions. To assist with controls design, you can use a toolbox equipped with buttons, text boxes and other items to give a lot of flexibility to your application. You also have the originating table, the field list, on your screen in case you want to add an item that you did not include in the beginning. When you do not need any or both of these two items, you can hide them by clicking their buttons on the toolbar.

Form and Report Design Accessories

During form design, there are accessories you will display and dismiss at will. These are the Field List, the Toolbox, and the Properties window. All of these objects are modeless windows. Therefore, you can display one at a time or all of them at the same time and continue designing your form. The Field List is a small window that displays a list of items that are related to the form you are building. These items are from the data source that could be a table or a query.

To display the Field List, on the Form Design toolbar, you can click the Field List button Field List. When the Field List is displaying on your screen, the button appears clicked. To dismiss the Field List, click the same button. You can also close it by clicking its Close button Close. When the list is not displaying, its button looks "normal".

You can also perform these operations of displaying and dismissing the Field List using the menu bar under View. You can resize the list as needed by dragging one of its borders or corners. 

The Field List
Field List
The Toolbox The Toolbox presents a list of some of the most common window controls, Some of these controls can be associated with fields of your Field List; some others can be configured to relate to another existing control on the form. Yet, another control can behave independently of anything else that is on the form.

To display the Toolbox, on the Form Design toolbar, click the Toolbox button Toolbox. You can also close it using either the same button on the toolbar, or clicking its own Close button Close. You can also use the menu under View.

The Properties Window
The Properties Window

Made of five property pages, this Properties window displays the characteristics associated with the object or the control that is selected on the form. To get the Properties window of the properties associated with a control, right-click that control and click Properties.

To display the Properties window for the form, you can:

  • Double-click the button that is at the intersection of both rulers
  • Click the Properties button Properties on the Form Design toolbar to toggle the Properties windows.

Forms, Reports, and Data Existing Fields

As mentioned already, on forms and reports, you can create fields that do not exist on tables or queries, as we have done so far in this lesson. Alternatively, when in the New Form or the New Report dialog box, you can select the object that holds the list of fields in the combo box.
The New Form allows

If you had started the design of a form or report already, you can display its Properties window and select an object in the Record Source combo box

Record Source

Practical Learning: Using Existing Fields of a Table or Query

  1. Open the Rockville Techno1 database
  2. On the Database Window, click the Forms button if necessary and double-click EmployeesOfficeContact
  3. After viewing the form, to switch it to Design View, on the Form View toolbar, click the View button View
  4. On the form, double-click the button at the intersection of both rulers to display the Properties window of the form
  5. In the Properties window, click the Data property page. Click the arrow of the Record Source button and click Employees. Notice that the Field List is now equipped with fields
    (If you are using Microsoft Access 97, now you can display the Field List button)

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