applied tips : february 2007

microsoft access : start 'er up

Using Access can be daunting to users not familiar with the program. For example, when a database opens, you must select the database object you want to work with from the database window. But what if you don't know, or aren't sure?

As the database designer, you can help users out by making it clear where they should start. For example, instead of requiring users to find the form they need to enter data, you could have the form automatically appear when the database is opened. You can help users and give them some direction by opening an access page or form when the database file is opened.

Setting up an object that opens automatically when the database is accessed is quite simple. This article will show you how to display a form or data access page at the startup of a database.

Creating a form

To have a form open at the startup of a database, you first need to create the form.

The easiest way to create a form is to select the table you want to create the form from. Then select Insert > AutoForm from the menu. The form appears, displaying the fields in the table.

If you would like to make changes to the form, such as the spacing of labels or the theme used, you can do so in Design view of the form.

Assigning a form or access page to startup

Now for the next step, assigning the form to appear when the database is opened.

Select Tools > Startup from the menu. The Startup dialog box appears.

Now select the form or data access page that you want to appear at startup. Click the Display Form/Page list arrow and select the form you want to use at startup.

Notice that there are a number of other options you can select in the dialog box, including changes to menus and toolbars.

Remember that any startup settings you make will only change the current database: the changes won't occur in other databases.

Viewing the startup settings

Once you have the form or data access page assigned to appear at the startup of a database, you can view how it will look to other users.

Close the database, then open it again. The startup page or form appears, ready to be used to input data.

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quick reference card

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