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This chapter is from the book

Automatic Forms

Form wizards (along with Report wizards; see the next section) are the most useful wizards in Access. They also are the most complex. You'll find that in many instances, your life will be much easier if you create a basic form or report using the wizard and then customize it in design view.

There two types of automatic forms. The AutoForm generates a simple data entry form based on the selected table or query. The other type is the multi-step Form wizard, which allows you more control over the creation process.

Creating a Form Using AutoForm

There are two types of AutoForm—the New Object: AutoForm and the builder-based AutoForm. The New Object: AutoForm generates a very simple and uninspiring data entry form. The builder-based AutoForm creates five different types of forms: Columnar, Tabular, Datasheet, PivotTable, and PivotChart. The AutoForm wizard creates each type of form using the currently selected AutoFormat which is a predefined format. For more information about AutoFormat, while in design view of a form, select the Format, AutoFormat menu.

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It's important for you to establish standard colors and fonts that you will use in your forms and reports. This is commonly referred to as the "look-and-feel" of an application. After you've settled on a pleasing and useful format, you can create your own AutoFormat that you can then quickly apply to all forms in your database application.

Here is how to use the New Object: AutoForm button:

  1. From the database view, click the Tables button.

  2. Click the tblMiscData to highlight it.

  3. Locate the New Object pull-down button on the toolbar (it's the second one from the right with the lightning bolt on it.)

  4. Click the button, which selects the New Object: AutoForm option, or pull the button down and choose AutoForm from the list.

The results are seen in Figure 3.10.

Figure 3.10 The New Object: AutoForm is simple and fast.

Well, that was easy. I've saved this form using the name frmAuto.

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If you choose a query for the form to be based on, the form will only show the fields and the records that are in that query. For example, if you chose the query qryDate in the Queries section and clicked AutoForm, you'll have a form that would show only those records having the date before 1/1/1995.

Creating a Form Using the Form Wizard

Now for something a bit more interesting. The Form Wizard gives you more control over how you want your form to appear. Let's create a form using the wizard, following these steps:

  1. From the database view, click the Forms button.

  2. Click the Create Form by using wizard shortcut to launch the wizard. Figure 3.11 shows the first dialog box of the Form Wizard.

  3. Choose all the qryData query from the Tables/Queries list. Then choose all available fields by selecting the >> button.

  4. Click the Next button to see the layout options. Choose the Columnar option.

  5. Click the Next button to see the style options. Choose the International option.

  6. Click the Next button to see the final step in the Form Wizard. This step allows you to name the newly created form. Name the form frmWizard, or something similar, and click the Ok button.

Figure 3.11 The first step of the Form Wizard.

The results of the Form Wizard are seen in Figure 3.12.

Figure 3.12 The frmWizard opened in Form View.

Note that it's a little more complex than the AutoForm by inclusion of the formatting. The real value of using the full wizard instead of the AutoForm is choosing different types of forms in the second dialog box. By including fields from different, but related, tables or queries, you can vastly extend the value of the Form Wizard, but that topic is a bit heavy for this early lesson. I'll come back to it later in Day 10, "Improving Your Forms."

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