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The Forms of a Database

 

Introduction

A form is the most friendly object that a person uses to interact with a database. It is the primary object used for data entry and analysis.

A form appears a rectangular object with various sections. By default, form may appear with a tab:

Yugo National Bank - Customers Transactions

Tabbed Documents or Overlapped Windows?

If you want, you can make the form appear with its own title bar and the system buttons. To do this, click the Office Button and click Access Options. In the left frame, click Current Database and, in the right frame, in the Document Window Options sections, click the Overlapping Windows radio button:

After making the selection, you can click OK. You will be asked to close and reopen the database:

Which you should do.

Creating a Form

There are various ways you can create a form. To automatically generate a form, in the Navigation Pane, select the table. On the ribbon, click Create. In the Forms section, click Form.

You can also create a form using a wizard. To launch the Form Wizard, on the Ribbon, click Create. In the Forms section, click More Forms, and click Form Wizard. On the first page, select the table or query that holds the desired fields:

Form Wizard

On the 2nd page of the wizard, select the layout of the form:

On the 3rd page, select a design:

On the 4th page, name the form:

Form Wizard

Data Entry on a Form

Data entry of a database is mainly performed on forms as they provide a friendlier display of information than tables. Data entry on a form is performed using various types of Windows controls. On text boxes, the user enters data by typing it. On a combo box, depending on how the object was configured by the database developer, the user may have to only select an item from the list. In some other cases, the user may be allowed to enter new data.

After entering or changing data on a control, to move from one field to the next, the surest way is to press Tab. On most occasions, the user can also press Enter. The Enter key may not move the focus from a text box that allows multiple lines of text. If the user is simply reviewing data without performing data entry, the keyboard’s arrow keys can also be used to move among fields.

Form Layout

There are various ways you can make a form appear: Columnar, Datasheet, Tabular, Justified:

  • A columnar form is used to display data one record at a time:
     
  • A tabular form displays its data in a series of cells with continuous sets of records:



    To create a tabular form, use the Form Wizard and select its option. Otherwise, you can design a from from scratch. Then, in the Format or the All tabs of the Properties window, set its Default View to Continuous Form
  • A Datasheet form looks and behaves like a table, displaying all possible records at the same time instead of one record at a time
  • A Justified form provides a consistent look with borders added to labels
  • A split form is made of two sections:

Split Form

The Section of a Form

A form can display one to three different sections when in Design View. To add the sections, you can:

  • Right-click the middle of the form and click Form Header/Footer
  • On the ribbon, you can click Arrange and, in the Show/Hide section, click the Form Header/Footer button Form Header/Footer

A form can also be equipped with two other sections. To get them, you can:

  • Right-click the middle of the form and click Page Header/Footer
  • In the Show/Hide section of the Arrange tab of the ribbon, you can click the Page Header/Footer button

A form is equipped with special horizontal lines used to visually separate sections of a form. To equip a form with dividing lines, add a header and a footer sections.

Navigation Buttons

In the bottom section, a form is equipped with navigation buttons used to perform a specific role each:

Button Name Role
First Record Allows moving to the first record of the table
Previous Record Allows you to move one record back (if there is one) from the current record
Current Record Displays the number representing the current record out of the total number of records
Next Record Allows moving you one record ahead
Last Record Allows moving you to the last record of the table
 New (Blank) Record Used to enter a new record on the table

The Background Color of a Section

In all forms we have created so far, unless using the Form Wizard or occupying it with a picture, the body of the form was painted with a white color. If you do not enjoy white forms, you can set the background to a color of your choice. Unlike the picture, the form (fortunately) does not control its background color. This aspect is left to each section to manage.

Before specifying the color of a form, first click or select the intended section. To change the background color of a section:

  • On the ribbon, click Home and, in the Font section, select a color from the Fill/Back Color button Fill/Back Color
  • Right-click a section, position the mouse on Fill/Back Color and click the desired color
     
  • On the ribbon, click Design and, in the Font section, select a color from the Fill/Back Color button Fill/Back Color
  • Access the Properties window of the section. In the Format or the All tab, click the Back Color field. If you click the arrow of the property, you can select a familiar color from the list. Otherwise, you can click the browse button. This would display a list of colors similar to that of the Font/Fore Color window

Unlike the Fill/Back Color (and the Font Color) of the Font sections of the Home and the Design categories of the ribbon, when you right-click a section of a form and position the mouse on Fill/Back Color, the colors that display do not show their tool tip, which would indicate their names. Because the layout of colors is the same as the Fill/Back Color and the Font Color windows of the Font sections of the Home and the Design categories of he ribbon, we will use their names.

Special Effects

Microsoft Access provides some special visual effects used to raise or sink, etc a section of a form or report, a label or a field. These effects can be controlled by using the Special Effect field in the Properties window.

 

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