Using Microsoft Access forms to display records in a far easier layout and format will give users confidence and comfort in controlling data processing tasks.
What is an MS Access Form?
Microsoft Access forms allow the use of data to be presented, managed and controlled in a user-friendly environment making Access more intuitive to use.
Designing forms is critical for other users who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of a database and have very little knowledge of the structure of an Access database or its background processes.
This type of component is deemed as part of the front-end of Microsoft Access and is an optional object that is implemented as part of the database application.
To help identify whether you will need an Access Form, you may need to answer some of the following questions:
- Are you going to be the sole user of the Access database application?
- How many other users may be responsible for maintaining your Access database?
- What is the life expectancy for your database?
- Are our general user’s proficient with Microsoft Access and their management tools?
- Do you need to add some level of security?
- Do you have sensitive data that you need to restrict?
These are just some common questions that need answering in order to allocate the amount of development time required for forms.
I have listed four main types of use of forms that you may want to investigate further in Access (and other learning resources) and learn how to build and implement. In all cases, to get a better understanding and overview of how a form is built, you will need to understand the Access Form design canvas and controls to have better control and improve the final look and feel of a form.
The four types are:
- Data Entry Forms which give users an easy to use interface to add, modify and delete records.
- Screen Enquiries (Read Only) Forms that allow users to view as read only screens restricting functionality and filtering for certain records only.
- Dialog Box Forms which act as a communication interface between users and the system passing data and values to interact with Access.
- Menu Screen (Switchboard) Forms which allow users to navigate around the database system without ever knowing or having access to the background design.
Forms can also have nested forms known as Access Sub-Forms which is a form inside another and will usually be related by a common join. The process can be via the wizard control tool or by setting its properties between the main form and sub-form.
By learning to set up the relational database in Access, the wizards normally handle the rest. The only added caveat is some design layouts will need manually updating – Access layouts for forms are pretty poor!
Of course, I haven’t explained how to create any of the above forms including the design canvas and its controls. You will need to visit my free online Access Database guide to establish an understanding by following my examples.