Microsoft Access Interface: The Ribbon



Under the title bar, Microsoft Access displays a long bar called the ribbon:

If the Ribbon is taking too much space on your screen, you can reduce its size. To do this, click the arrow of the Quick Access button and click Minimize Ribbon:


The ribbon is a type of property sheet made of various property pages. Each page is represented with a tab. To access a tab:

  • You can click its label or button, such as Home or Create
  • You can press Alt or F10. This would display the access key of each tab:

    To access a tab, you can press its corresponding letter on the keyboard. For example, when the access keys display, if you press Home, the Home tab would display
  • If your mouse has a wheel, you can position the mouse anywhere on the ribbon, and role the wheel. If you role the wheel down, the next tab on the right side would be selected. If you role the wheel up, the previous tab on the left would be selected. You can keep rolling the wheel until the desired tab is selected

To identify each tab of the ribbon, we will refer to them by their names.

Inside of a tab of the ribbon, the property page is divided in various sections, each delimited by visible borders of vertical lines on the left and right. Each section displays a title in its bottom side. In our lessons, we will refer to each section by that title. For example, if the title displays Font, we will call that section, "The Font Section".

Some sections of the Ribbon display a button Button. If you see such a button, you can click it. This would open a dialog box or a window.

When Microsoft Access is occupying a big area or the whole area of the monitor, most buttons of the Ribbon appear with text. Sometimes you may need to use only part of the screen. That is, you may need to narrow the Microsoft Access interface. If you do, some of the buttons may display part of their appearance and some would display only an icon. Consider the difference in the following three screenshots:

In this case, when you need to access an object, you can still click it or click its arrow. If the item is supposed to have many objects, a new window may appear and display those objects:

From this:

Reduced Ribbon

To this:

Arrow Button Clicked

Windows Controls

To populate a form or a report, you use the Windows controls. The controls are available in the ribbon when the form or report is in Design View. To access the controls, you can click Design on the ribbon. The controls are listed in the Controls section:

In our lessons, we will mostly use controls listed in the Controls section of the ribbon; but if they are not enough, to access more controls, you can click the ActiveX Controls button. This would bring the Insert ActiveX Control dialog box from where you can select a control:

Insert ActiveX Control

After selecting the desired control, you can click OK.

The Windows controls are represented with small icons in the Controls section. Each item is identified with a name. Some of these objects may not be familiar to you. To know the name of a control and have an idea of what it is used for, you can position the mouse on top and a tool tip would appear. Here is an example for a combo box:


For the rest of our lessons, each control will be referred to by the name that displays from the tool tip.



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