- Understanding Access Functions and Modes
- Opening the Northwind.accdb Sample Database
- Understanding Access's Table Windows
- Navigating the Home and Create Ribbons
- Using the Function Keys
- Setting Default Options
- Creating a Customized Template File
- Using Access Online Help
- Spelunking the Database Utilities
- Packaging, Signing, and Distributing an Access 2007 Database
- In the Real WorldReading the Ribbon UI's Tealeaves
Setting Default Options
You can set about 100 options that establish the default settings for Access. (But you aren't likely to want to change default options until you're more familiar with Access 2007.) This book is a reference as well as a tutorial guide, and options are a basic element of Access's overall structure, so this section explains how to change these settings.
You set defaults by clicking the Office button to open the gallery and then clicking the Access Options button to open the Access Options dialog's default Popular page (see Figure 3.15). The options you set on the Popular, Datasheet, Object Designers, Proofing, Advanced, Customize, and Add-Ins pages apply to the system as a whole. Settings on the Current Database page apply only to the database that's open when you change the settings.
Figure 3.15 The default Popular page of the Access Options properties dialog sets global option values that apply to all databases you open in Access 2007, as do all other pages except Current Database.
Most settings are option buttons and check boxes, although many other items require multiple-choice entries that you select from drop-down lists. In some cases, you must type a specific value in a text box. After you complete your changes, click OK to close the dialog to save your changes. If you decide not to implement your changes, click Cancel to exit without making any changes. The next few sections and their tables summarize options that affect Access as a whole and those options that affect viewing and printing data in Datasheet view.
The Popular Page
The Popular page (refer to Figure 3.15) contains the following control groups to set the most common default option for all Access databases and projects you create:
- Top Options for Working with Access—Enables ClearType for LCD monitors. Also sets the ScreenTip style and default color scheme: Blue, Silver, or Black. (ScreenTips are the formatted ToolTips for ribbon command buttons.)
- Creating Databases—Sets the default file format for new database files (Access 2007 .accdb, Access 2002–2003 .mdb, or Access 2000 .mdb). Also specifies the default .accdb or .mdb file location (My Documents for Windows XP; Documents for Windows Vista) and database sort order (General to use the Windows language's sort order).
Personalize Your Copy of Microsoft Office—Lets you change the default username and add or edit initials. The Language Settings button opens the Microsoft Office Language Settings 2007 dialog that's common to all Office 2007 applications (see Figure 3.16). This dialog lets you add additional editing languages and change the default editing language. However, languages other than that of your version of Office 2007 might require additional features, such as a Language Pack, to fully enable editing in those languages.
Figure 3.16 The Microsoft Office Language Settings 2007 dialog lets you make other editing languages available, but you might need additional resources to make full use of those languages.
The Current Database Page
The Current Database Page lets you change default properties of the currently open database or project with controls in the following groups:
Application Options—Lets you specify a custom application title and icon; substitute the custom icon for standard form and report icons; name a startup form to open when Access loads; hide the status bar at the bottom of the Access window; replace tabbed documents with nonmodal (overlapping) windows; disable special access keys (F11 for the Navigation Pane, Ctrl+G for the VBA Editor's Immediate window, and Ctrl+Break to halt VBA code execution); and automatically compact the database after closing the file (see Figure 3.17).
Figure 3.17 The Current Database page's Application Options group includes new option settings for tabbed documents, Layout view, designing tables in Datasheet view, and the Attachments field data type.
Navigation—The Display Navigation Pane check box enables hiding the Navigation Pane (see Figure 3.18). The Navigation Options button opens the Navigation Options dialog.
Figure 3.18 The Current Database page's remaining groups are more specialized than Application Options.
- Ribbon and Toolbar Options—Lets you replace all ribbons, add groups and command buttons to existing ribbons by selecting a stored RibbonX (XML) document, or discourage users from editing objects. For example, you can specify a custom shortcut (context) menu bar; clear the Allow Full Menus check box to hide all ribbons except Home; and clear the Allow Default Shortcut Menu check box to hide noncustom context menus.
- Name AutoCorrect Options—Enables a controversial process for conforming references to renamed Access objects. If you'd rather do the job yourself, clear the Track Name AutoCorrect Info and Perform Name AutoCorrect check boxes. (Don't bother trying Alt+A; all the check boxes have the same shortcut key combination.)
- Filter Lookup Options—Lets you disable displaying lookup field lists from indexed, non-indexed, or ODBC fields in linked or client/server tables, or where the lists would have more than a specified number of items. As an example, a lookup list of customers in an orders table might have 10,000 or more items from which to choose, which could cause a substantial performance hit.
The Datasheet Page
The Datasheet page (see Figure 3.19) sets the defaults for table, query, and form Datasheets.
Figure 3.19 The Datasheet page sets design defaults for Datasheet views in new databases.
Following are descriptions of the page's three groups:
- Default Colors—Provides color pickers for Font, Background, Alternate Background, and Gridlines colors.
- Gridlines and Cell Effects—Enables customizing visibility of horizontal and vertical gridlines, as well as cell special effects and default column width.
- Default Font—Lets you change the default 11-point Calibri font to any other Windows TrueType or OpenType font.
The Object Designers Page
The Object Designers page (see Figure 3.20) sets the defaults for table, query, form, and report Design view.
Figure 3.20 The Object Designers page's first two groups set design defaults for table Design view, query Design view, and SQL view.
Following are descriptions of the page's four groups:
- Table Design—Sets the defaults for new field data types (Text) and default Text field size (255 characters, the maximum) and Number field size (Long Integer). By default, Access will add an index to any field that contains the characters "ID", "key", "code", or "num". You might want to remove the semicolon-separated string from the text box so that you, not Access, determines when to add indexes fields. Clearing the Show Property Update Options Buttons check box hides the drop-down lists for properties (such as Format) on the General page of table Design view's lower pane, which is not a recommended practice.
- Query Design—Lets you disable auto-addition of table names to all query SQL statements, add an all-fields asterisk (*) to all query field lists, or disable automatically creating join lines between related tables or fields with the same name. You also can change the default design font from Segoe UI to a different family and larger size, and specify SQL Server–compatible syntax based on the ANSI SQL-92 standard. With the exception of font size, departing from the default query Design settings isn't recommended.
Forms/Reports—Enables changing how controls on forms and reports are selected (partial or full enclosure) and the names of form and report templates (see Figure 3.21). You can use an existing form or report as a template or create a form or report specifically as a template for the new objects you create. This book uses forms and reports generated from the default Normal templates. Marking the Always Use Event Procedures check box doesn't force Access 2007's Control and other wizards autogenerating VBA code; doing this only prevents wizards from generating embedded macro code.
Figure 3.21 The Object Designers page's last two groups specify design defaults for form and report Design view, and control design error checking.
- Error Checking—Enables or disables Design-mode error checking and uses a color picker to select the error indicator smart tag's color.
The Proofing Page
The Proofing page enables customizing the AutoCorrect feature and Office spelling checker for all Access applications (see Figure 3.22).
Figure 3.22 The brief Proofing page lets you modify default AutoCorrect and spelling checker settings.
The Proofing page has these two groups:
- AutoCorrect Options—Provides an AutoCorrect Options button to open the Office AutoCorrect dialog.
- When Correcting Spelling in Microsoft Office Programs—Lets you set spell-checking options, including custom dictionaries in the Custom Dictionaries dialog, and specify a main dictionary language other than the default English (U.S.).
The Advanced Page
The Advanced page (see Figure 3.23) contains the following five groups:
Editing—Lets you customize the default cursor, arrow key, find/replace, confirmations, Datasheet IME (Input Method Editor) control, and Hijiri (Islamic or Arabic) lunar calendar options. (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Yemen use the Hijiri calendar officially).
Figure 3.23 The Advanced page's Editing group enables customizing data entry defaults and use of the Hijiri calendar.
Display—Enables changing the number of most recently used (MRU) databases displayed in the Office button's gallery; hiding the status bar, animations, smart tags on Datasheets, and Smart Tags on form and reports; and showing the Names and Conditions columns when editing standalone or embedded macros (see Figure 3.24).
Figure 3.24 The Advanced page's Display, Printing, and General groups let you customize 17 more properties.
- Printing—Lets you change the default printing margins (0.25 inch).
- General—Lets Access raise an error if a RibbonX document for a customized ribbon is incorrect, add audio cues to keyboard and other actions, animate cursors for several operations, and require four-character year formatting for the current database, all databases, or both. The Web Options button opens a dialog of the same name for setting the style of hyperlinks.
Advanced—Enables specifying the last-opened database as the default when opening Access, changing the default open and record-locking mode, setting OLE/DDE and ODBC properties, and specifying command arguments to be used when starting Access (see Figure 3.25).
Figure 3.25 The Advanced page's Advanced group contains controls to set orphaned properties' default values.
The Customize Page
The Customize page lets you add command buttons—represented by 16x16-pixel icons—from any standard ribbon to the Quick Access Toolbar. The Customize page opens with a list of popular commands and their icons in the left list box and an Add button to move selected commands to the right list box, which contains the default Save, Undo, and Redo commands (see Figure 3.26). Access 2007 has more than 1,000 unique icons; this book uses about 200 different icons to identify commonly used command buttons.
Figure 3.26 The Customize page opens with the three default commands for the QAT and the Popular Commands list for adding QAT commands.
The Choose Commands From list lets you select commands from Access's 28 ribbons (tabs) or five other categories.
You can add the most popular commands to the QAT by clicking the arrow button to the right of the QAT to open the menu shown in Figure 3.27 and clicking the commands to add. Alternatively, right-click any command button in the selected ribbon and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar from the context menu.
Figure 3.27 Clicking the arrow to the right of the QAT opens this menu, which lets you add the most popular commands quickly.
The Add-Ins Page
The Add-Ins page lets you manage Microsoft and third-party COM (Component Object Model) and Access add-in applications (see Figure 3.28). Microsoft includes a single COM add-in for managing replication conflicts, which is enabled only when necessary and isn't applicable to Access 2007 applications.
Figure 3.28 The Add-Ins page displays a single disabled COM add-in for resolving replication problems with earlier database versions.
Selecting COM Add-Ins in the Manage list and clicking Go opens the COM Add-Ins dialog, which lets you enable, add, or remove COM add-ins. Selecting Access Add-Ins and clicking Go opens the Access Add-In manager dialog, which lets you Add New or UnInstall Access add-in libraries (.accda, .accde, .mda, or .mde files). Third-party add-in suppliers usually include detailed instructions for installing and using their add-ins.
The Trust Center Pages
The opening Trust Center page consists of links to Microsoft privacy statements and Microsoft Trustworthy Computing propaganda. The only feature of interest on this page is the Trust Center Settings button, which opens a second Trust Center page to establish Access-wide security settings.
The second Trust Center page offers the following subpages.
Trusted Publishers can apply digital signatures from a code-signing certificate to Access packages or VBA code and class modules. Signing an Access package certifies that all database objects, not just code, have not been modified since being signed. If the certificate is valid, the database (and its code) is considered trusted when the user extracts it.
If you want to test code-signed packages without spending U.S.$99 to U.S.$199 per year, you can create a self-signed certificate with the SelfCert.exe application available at the \Programs\Microsoft Office\Microsoft Office Tools\Digital Certificate for VBA Projects. Figure 3.29 shows the Trusted Publishers page displaying a self-signed certificate for OakLeaf Systems.
Figure 3.29 A self-signed certificate, such as the OakLeafCodeSigningCertificate, can be used to create a package that doesn't generate a security warning upon extracting the database.
Placing .accdb files in a trusted location (folder) is the most practical method to eliminate the need to enable VBA code and potentially dangerous macro actions for each Access 2007 session. By default, Access trusts the \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\ACCWIZ folder that holds all Access wizard files, as shown in Figure 3.30.
Figure 3.30 Access automatically trusts the \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\ACCWIZ folder so that Wizards will run without generating a security warning.
You add other folders and their subfolders as trusted documents by clicking the Add New Location button to open the Microsoft Office Trusted Location dialog, browsing to the folder you want to trust, marking the Subfolders of This Location Are Also Trusted check box (if applicable), adding an optional description, and clicking OK. You no longer see the security warning in the message bar when you open the database from the trusted location.
Add-Ins, Macro Settings, Message Bar, and Privacy Options
The remaining Trust Center pages resemble groups of other Access Options pages (see Figure 3.31). The options names are sufficiently self-describing as to not warrant relisting here. The default selections shown in Figure 3.31 should be satisfactory for most applications.
Figure 3.31 The Add-Ins, Macro Settings, Message Bar, and Privacy Options pages might better have been grouped on a single page.
The Resources Page
The Resources page has the following buttons, many of which were choices of earlier versions' Help menu:
- Check for Updates—Launches Internet Explorer (IE) 7 and runs Windows Update to check for operating system and Office 2007 updates.
- Diagnose—Runs the Microsoft Office Diagnostics application to test for known solutions, check memory, verify other programs' compatibility with Office 2007, verify fixed disk(s), and validate Office 2007 setup programs.
- Contact Us—Opens Office Online's Contact Us page, which has links to support sources, the international support website, customized Office support for developers and IT professionals, and Office Live support.
- Activate—Starts the Activation Wizard or opens a "This product has already been activated" message box.
- Go Online—Opens Office Online's default Office 2007 welcome page where you can register with a Windows Live ID (formerly Microsoft Passport account) for additional online services.
About—Opens the About Microsoft Office Access dialog, which has System Info and Tech Support buttons. Clicking System Info opens the System Information dialog shown in Figure 3.32. Clicking Tech Support opens a dialog with vague recommendations for obtaining support.
Figure 3.32 The System Information window, shown here running under Windows XP Professional, displays information on your hardware, system settings, and the applications you've opened.