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Introduction to Strings

The Message Box

Introduction

A message box is a relatively small window that displays a piece of information to the user. As opposed to a regular form, the user cannot type anything in the message box. There are usually two kinds of message boxes you will create: one that simply displays information and one that expects the user to make a decision.

   

The function to create a message box is named MsgBox. Its syntax is:

MsgBox([Message] [Buttons] [Title] [HelpFile] [Context])

The MsgBox() function takes five arguments and only the first one is required: the Message.

Practical Learning: Starting Microsoft Access

  1. Start Microsoft Access
  2. Click Blank Desktop Database
  3. Set the File name to Exercise2 and click Create
  4. On the Ribbon, click Create and click Form Design
  5. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click Button Button and click the form.
    If a wizard starts, click Cancel
  6. Right-click the new button on the form and click Build Event...
  7. In the Choose Builder dialog box, click Code Builder and click OK

The Message of a Message Box

The Message argument is the text that will display on the message box. As a string, you can display it in double quotes.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing Message Boxes

  1. Type the following line of code:
    Private Sub Command0_Click()
        MsgBox "Welcome to the wonderful world of VBA programming."
    End Sub
  2. Return to Microsoft Access and switch the form to Form View
  3. Click the button

    Introducing Message Boxes

  4. Click OK on the message box and return to Microsoft Visual Basic
  5. You can create a message from other pieces of strings. The Message argument can be made of up to 1024 characters. To display the Message on multiple lines, you can use the constant vbCrLf between two strings. For an example, change the code as follows:
    Private Sub Command0_Click()
        MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked." & _
                vbCrLf & "To complete your application, please " & _
                "fill out the following survey"
    End Sub
  6. Return to Microsoft Access and click the button

    Message Box

  7. Press Enter on the message box and return to Microsoft Visual Basic

The Buttons on a Message Box

The Buttons argument specifies what button(s) should display on the message box. There are different kinds of buttons available and Visual Basic recognizes them by a numeric value assigned to each. The Buttons argument is a value of the VbMsgBoxStyle enumeration. It can be one of the following members or constants:

VbMsgBoxStyle Member Constant Value Button(s) Displayed
vbOKOnly 0 OK
vbOKCancel 1 OK Cancel
vbAbortRetryIgnore 2 Abort Retry Message Box Button: Ignore
vbYesNoCancel 3 Yes Message Box Button: No Cancel
vbYesNo 4 Yes Message Box Button: No
vbRetryCancel 5 Retry Cancel

Based on what we learned about enumerations, you can use the name of the member of the VbMsgBoxStyle enumeration directly, that is, without qualifying it. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdMessageBox_Click()
    MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
           "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
           vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
           "to take our survey survey now?", _
           vbYesNo
End Sub

We also learned that you can use the constant value of the member of the enumeration if you know it. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdMessageBox_Click()
    MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
           "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
           vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
           "to take our survey survey now?", 4
End Sub

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Using the Buttons on a Message Box

  1. Chanmge the code as follows:
    Private Sub Command0_Click()
        MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
               "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
               vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
               "to take our survey survey now?", _
               VbMsgBoxStyle.vbYesNo
    End Sub
  2. Return to Microsoft Access and click the button

    Message Box

  3. Click No and return to Microsoft Visual Basic

The Icons on a Message Box

Besides the buttons, to enhance your message box, you can display an icon in the left section of the message box. To display an icon, you can use a member of the VbMsgBoxStyle enumeration. The available members for the icons are:

VbMsgBoxStyle Member Integer Value Description
vbCritical 16
vbQuestion 32 Question
vbExclamation 48 Exclamation
vbInformation  64 Information

To use one of these icons, you have two options. You can combine its VbMsgBoxStyle button with the VbMsgBoxStyle icon member. To perform this combination, you use the Or operator.

Once again, you can use the name of the member of the VbMsgBoxStyle enumeration without qualifying it. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdMessageBox_Click()
    MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
           "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
           vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
           "to take our survey survey now?", _
           vbYesNo Or vbQuestion
End Sub

The second alternative it to use the integral constants instead of the members of the enumeration. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdMessageBox_Click()
    MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
           "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
           vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
           "to take our survey survey now?", _
           4 Or 32
End Sub

Alternatively, you can add (using the arithmetic addition) the integral value of the button to the integral value of the icon. For example, the integral value of the Yes/No button is 4 and the integral value of the question icon is 32. If you add both, you get 4 + 32 = 36. Therefore, if you use 36 for the second argument, you would get the question icon, the Yes, and the No button. This would be done as follows:

Private Sub cmdMessageBox_Click()
    MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
           "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
           vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
           "to take our survey survey now?", 36
End Sub

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Showing Icons on a Message Box

  1. Change the code as follows:
    Private Sub Command0_Click()
        MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
               "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
               vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
               "to take our survey survey now?", _
               VbMsgBoxStyle.vbYesNo Or VbMsgBoxStyle.vbQuestion
    End Sub
  2. Return to Microsoft Access and click the button:

    Message Box

  3. Click No and return to Microsoft Visual Basic

The Default Button of a Message Box

If you create a message box with more than one button, the most left button usually has a thick border, indicating that it is the default. If the user presses Enter after viewing the button, the effect would be the same as if she had clicked the default button. If you want, you can designate another button as the default. To do this, you can use one more member of the a member of the VbMsgBoxStyle enumeration. The available members are:

VbMsgBoxStyle Member Integral Constant If the message box contains more than one button, the default would be
vbDefaultButton1  0 The first button
vbDefaultButton2  256 The second button
vbDefaultButton3  512 The third button
vbDefaultButton4  768 The fourth button

Once again, to specify a default value, use the Or operator to combine a VbMsgBoxStyle Member with any other combination.

These additional buttons can be used to further control what the user can do:

Constant Value Effect
vbApplicationModal 0 The user must dismiss the message box before proceeding with the current database
vbSystemModal 4096 The user must dismiss this message before using any other open application of the computer

Once again, you can use the name of the member of the VbMsgBoxStyle enumeration directly without qualifying it. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdMessageBox_Click()
    MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
           "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
           vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
           "to take our survey survey now?", _
           vbYesNoCancel Or vbQuestion Or vbDefaultButton2
End Sub

Also, remember that you can use the constant integer of a member. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdMessageBox_Click()
    MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
           "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
           vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
           "to take our survey survey now?", _
           3 Or 32 Or 256
End Sub

You can also arithmetically add the constant values of the desired members.

Practical LearningLearning: Considering the Default Button of a Message Box

  1. Change the code as follows:
    Private Sub Command0_Click()
        MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
               "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
               vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
               "to take our survey survey now?", _
               VbMsgBoxStyle.vbYesNoCancel Or VbMsgBoxStyle.vbQuestion _
               Or VbMsgBoxStyle.vbDefaultButton2
    End Sub
  2. Return to Microsoft Access and click the button:

    Message Box

  3. Click Cancel and return to Microsoft Visual Basic

The Title or Caption of a Message Box

The Title argument is the caption that would display on the title bar of the message box. It is a string whose word or words you can enclose between parentheses or that you can get from a created string. The Title argument is optional. As you have seen so far, if you omit the title, the message box uses a default one. Otherwise, if you want a custom title, you can provide it as the third argument to the MsgBox() function. The caption can be a simple string.

The title can also be a string created from an expression or from a variable or value.

Practical LearningLearning: Considering the Default Button of a Message Box

  1. Change the code as follows:
    Private Sub Command0_Click()
        MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked " & _
               "and your application has been approved: Congratulations!" & _
               vbCrLf & "Before leaving, would you like " & _
               "to take our survey survey now?", _
               vbYesNoCancel Or vbQuestion Or vbDefaultButton2, _
               "Crofton Circle of Friends - Membership Application"
    End Sub
  2. Return to Microsoft Access and click the button:

    Message Box

  3. Click Cancel
  4. Close the form
  5. When asked whether you want to save the form, click No

Help for a Message Box

If your application is using a help file, you can specify this and let the message box use it. The HelpFile argument is a string that specifies the name of the help file, and the Context argument provides the number that corresponds to the appropriate help topic for the message box.

The Return Value of a Message Box

The MsgBox() function can be used to return a value. This value corresponds to the button the user clicks on the message box. Depending on the buttons the message box is displaying, after the user has clicked, the MsgBox() function can return one of the following values:

If the user click The function returns Numeric Value
OK vbOK 1
Cancel vbCancel 2
Abort vbAbort 3
Retry vbRetry 4
Ignore vbIgnore 5
Yes vbYes 6
No vbNo 7

Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdMessage6_Click()
    Dim intResponse As Integer
    
    intResponse = MsgBox("Your printing configuration " & _
                         "is not fully set." & vbCrLf & _
                         "If you are ready to print, click" & vbCrLf & _
                         "(1) Yes: To print the document anyway" & vbCrLf & _
                         "(2) No: To configure printing" & vbCrLf & _
                         "(3) Cancel: To dismiss printing", _
                         vbYesNoCancel + vbInformation, _
                         "Critical Information")
End Sub

Fundamentals of Strings

Introduction to Strings

A string is one or a combination of characters. To support strings, the Visual Basic language provides the String data type and many accompanying functions. As seen in previous lessons, to declare a variable for a string, use the String data type. To initialize a string variable, put its value in double-quotes and assign it to the variable.

String Concatenation

String concatenation consists of adding one string to another. To support this operation, the Visual Basic language provides the & operator. The formula to follow is:

=Value1 & " " & Value2

Here are examples

=FirstName & " " & LastName

This would display, for example, Boniface Dunkirk

=[LastName] & ", " & [FirstName]

This would produce, for example, Chang, Helene

=[Address] & " " & [City] & " " &
      [State] & " " & [ZIPCode] & " " &
      [Country]

This would display a complete address in a field

To add a string to an existing string, add the new string to the first and assign the expression to the first string. You can use either the + or the & operator. Here is an example:

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing Strings

  1. On the Ribbon, click File and click Open
  2. In the list of files, click Business Starter from previous lessons
  3. In the Navigation Pane, right-click Employment Application2 and click Design View
  4. On the form, right-click Get Full Name and click Build Event
  5. In the Choose Builder dialog box, click Code Builder and click OK
  6. Implement the event as follows:
    Private Sub cmdGetFullName_Click()
        Dim fullName As String
        
        fullName = txtFirstName
        fullName = fullName + " "
        fullName = fullName + txtLastName
        
        txtFullName = fullName
    End Sub
  7. Return to Microsoft Accecss and switch the form to Form View
  8. Click Employee # and type an employee number such as 20-864
  9. Click First Name and type a first name such as Jonathan
  10. Click Last Name and type a last name such as Roberts

    Accessing the Members With an Object

  11. Click the Get Full Name button

    Accessing the Members With an Object

  12. Save and close the form

The String() Function

One way you can initialize a string is to fill it up with a certain character of your choice. To let you do this, the Visual Basic language provides a function named String. Its syntax is:

String(number, character) As String

The second argument is a character you want to repeat in the string. The first argument to is the number of occurrences you want the second argument to be repeated. The String() function returns a String value. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdString_Click()
    Dim strValue As String
    
    strValue = String(18, "#")
    MsgBox strValue
End Sub

This would produce:

String

 
 
 

Introduction to Characters

The ASCII Character of a Number

To help you find the equivalent ASCII character of a number, the Visual Basic language provides a function named Chr. Its syntax is:

Public Function Chr(ByVal CharCode As Integer) As String

When calling this function, pass a small number as argument. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdCharacter_Click()
    Dim Character
    Dim Number As Integer

    Number = 114
    Character = Chr(Number)

    MsgBox "The ASCII character of " & Number & " is " & Character
End Sub

This would produce:

Character

To create a new line in a string, such as a break in a message box, you can use the combination Chr(10) & Chr(13) between two strings. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdMessageBox_Click()
    MsgBox "Your logon credentials have been checked." & _
            vbCrLf & "To complete your application, please " & _
            "fill out the following survey"
End Sub

This would produce:

Message Box

The Wide ASCII Character of a Number

If you pass a number lower than 0 or higher than 255 to the Chr() function, you would receive an error. The reason you may pass a number higher than 255 is that you want to get a character beyond those of US English. To support such numbers, the Visual Basic language provides another version of the function named ChrW. Its syntax is:

Public Function ChrW(ByVal CharCode As Integer) As Char

The W here represents Wide Characters. This makes it possible to store the character in the memory equivalent to 2 bytes. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdCharacter_Click()
    Dim Character
    Dim Number As Integer

    Number = 358
    Character = ChrW(Number)

    MsgBox "The ASCII character of " & Number & " is " & Character
End Sub

This would produce:

Wide Characters

The Length of a String

The length of a string is the number of characters it contains. To assist you with finding the length of a string, the Visual Basic language provides a function named Len. Its syntax is:

Public Function Len(ByVal Expression As String) As Integer

This function expects a string as argument.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Getting the Length of a String

  1. The Business Starter database should still be opened.
    In the Navigation Pane, right-click Credentials and click Design View
  2. On the form, right-click Get Full Name and click Build Event
  3. In the Choose Builder dialog box, click Code Builder and click OK
  4. Implement the event as follows:
    Private Sub cmdValidate_Click()
        txtUsernameLength = Len(txtUsername)
        txtPasswordLength = Len(txtPassword)
        txtConfirmPasswordLength = Len(txtConfirmPassword)
    End Sub
  5. Return to Microsoft Accecss and switch the form to Form View
  6. Click username and type a word such as JROBERTS
  7. Click Password and type some text such as Password1
  8. Click Confirm Password and type the same text as the password or something different such as P@s$w0rd#10

    Getting the Length of a String

  9. Click the Validate button

    Getting the Length of a String

  10. Return to Microsoft Visual Basic

Fundamental String Operations

Strings and Empty Spaces

In some other cases, you may work with a string that contains an empty space to its left or to its right. To let you remove all empty spaces from the left side of a string, the Visual Basic language provides the LTrim() function. Its syntax is:

LTrim(string) As String

To remove all empty spaces from the right side of a string, you can call the RTrim() function. Its syntax is:

RTrim(string) As String

To remove the empty spaces from both sides of a string, you can call the Trim() function. Its syntax is:

Trim(string) As String

On the other hand, if you want to include or add empty spaces in a string, you can call the Space() function. Its syntax is:

Space(number) As String

Because all these functions return a string, they can be written as LTrim$, RTrim$, Trim$, and Space$.

Strings Comparisons

To compare two strings, you can call the StrCmp() function. Its syntax is:

StrComp(string1, string2, compare)

The first and the second arguments are strings and both are required. After the function has performed the comparison, it returns

  • -1 if string1 is less than string2
  •  0 if string1 and string2 are equal
  •  1 if string1 is greater than string2

The third argument allows you to specify the comparison in binary or text format. This argument can have one of the following values:

Constant Value Description
vbBinaryCompare 0 Perform a binary comparison
vbTextCompare 1 Perform a textual comparison

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Comparing Strings

  1. Change the code as follows:
    Private Sub cmdValidate_Click()
        Dim iComparisonValue As Integer
        
        txtUsernameLength = Len(txtUsername)
        txtPasswordLength = Len(txtPassword)
        txtConfirmPasswordLength = Len(txtConfirmPassword)
        
        iComparisonValue = StrComp(txtPassword, txtConfirmPassword, VbCompareMethod.vbTextCompare)
        
        MsgBox "Comparing """ & txtPassword & """ with """ & _
               txtConfirmPassword & """ produces " & CStr(iComparisonValue), _
               VbMsgBoxStyle.vbOKOnly Or VbMsgBoxStyle.vbInformation, _
               "Fun Department Store - Employee Hiring"
    End Sub
  2. Return to Microsoft Access and click the button again

    String

  3. Return to Microsoft Visual Basic

Reversing a String

Once a string has been initialized, one of the operations you can perform on it consists of reversing it. To do this, you can call the StrReverse() function. Its syntax is:

StrReverse(string) As String

This function takes as argument the string that needs to be reversed. After performing its operation, the function returns a new string made of characters in reverse order.  Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdCreate_Click()
    Dim strValue As String
    Dim strRev As String
    
    strValue = "Authentic Cuisine"
    strRev = StrReverse(strValue)
    
    MsgBox strValue
    MsgBox strRev
End Sub

This would produce:

Reversing a String

Reversing a String

Because the StrReverse() function returns a string, you can write it as StrReverse$.

The Character Cases of a String

Converting a String to Uppercase

To convert a lowercase character to uppercase, you can use the UCase() function. Its syntax is:

UCase(strValue As String) As String

When this function is called, each letter in uppercase would remain in uppercase. Each letter in lowercase would be converted to uppercase. Each non-letter character of the argument would not be converted. This function returns a string value. Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdString_Click()
    Dim strValue As String
    
    strValue = "Authentic Cuisine"
    MsgBox strValue
    strValue = UCase(strValue)
    MsgBox strValue
End Sub

This would produce:

Converting a String to Uppercase

Converting a String to Uppercase

Because the UCase() function returns a string, you can also write it as UCase$.

Converting a String to Lowercase

To convert a string to lowercase, you can call the LCase() function. Its syntax is:

LCase(strValue As String) As String

This takes one argument as the string to convert. Any letter in lowercase in the argument would remain in lowercase. Any letter in uppercase would be converted to lowercase. The non-letter characters of the argument would be kept “as-is”.

Since the LCase() function produces a string, you can also write it as LCase$.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Comparing Strings

  1. Change the code as follows:
    Private Sub cmdValidate_Click()
        Dim iComparisonValue As Integer
    
        txtUsernameLength = Len(txtUsername)
        txtPasswordLength = Len(txtPassword)
        txtConfirmPasswordLength = Len(txtConfirmPassword)
        
        txtUsername = LCase$(txtUsername)
        
        iComparisonValue = StrComp(txtPassword, txtConfirmPassword, VbCompareMethod.vbTextCompare)
        
        MsgBox "Comparing """ & txtPassword & """ with """ & _
               txtConfirmPassword & """ produces " & CStr(iComparisonValue), _
               VbMsgBoxStyle.vbOKOnly Or VbMsgBoxStyle.vbInformation, _
               "Fun Department Store - Employee Hiring"
    End Sub
  2. Return to Microsoft Access

    Getting the Length of a String

  3. Click the button again

    String

  4. Save and close the form

Conversion to Appropriate Case

The LCase$() and the UCase$() functions are used to process the whole string. An alternative to these two functions consists of calling the StrConv() function. Its syntax is:

StrConv(string, conversion As vbStrConv, LocalID As Long) As String

This function takes two required arguments. The first argument is the string that will be considered for conversion. The second argument allows you to specify how the conversion would be performed. This argument can have one of the following values:

Constant Value Description
vbUpperCase 1 Converts the lowercase letters of the string to uppercase
vbLowerCase 2 Converts the uppercase letters of the string to lowercase
vbProperCase 3 Converts the first letter of every word of the string to uppercase
vbWide 4 Converts narrow (single-byte) characters in string to wide (double-byte) characters
vbNarrow 8 Converts wide (double-byte) characters in string to narrow (single-byte) characters
vbKatakana 16 For Japan, converts Hiragana characters in string to Katakana characters
vbHiragana 32 For Japan, converts Katakana characters in string to Hiragana characters. 
vbUnicode 64 Converts the string to Unicode using the default code page of the system.
vbFromUnicode 128 Converts the string from Unicode to the default code page of the system

Here is an example:

Private Sub cmdCreate_Click()
    Dim strValue As String
    Dim strConversion As String
    
    strValue = "authentic cuisine"
    strConversion = StrConv(strValue, vbProperCase)
    
    MsgBox strValue
    MsgBox strConversion
End Sub

Practical Learning: Ending the Lesson

  • Close Microsoft Access
 
 
   
 

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