Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
You’ve used wizards to create forms, and you’ve modified a form’s design in Layout view
to create a custom form. To create a custom form , you can modify an existing form in
Layout view or in Design view, or you can design and create a form from scratch in Lay-
out view or in Design view. You can design a custom form to match a paper form, to dis-
play some fields side by side and others top to bottom, to highlight certain sections with
color, or to add visual effects. Whether you want to create a simple or complex custom
form, planning the form’s content and appearance is always your first step.
| Form Design Guidelines
When you plan a form, you should keep in mind the following form design guidelines:
• Use forms to perform all database updates, because forms provide better readability and
control than do table and query recordsets.
• Determine the fields and record source needed for each form. A form’s Record Source
property specifies the table or query that provides the fields for the form.
• Group related fields and position them in a meaningful, logical order.
• If users will refer to a source document while working with the form, design the form to
match the source document closely.
• Identify each field value with a label that names the field, and align field values and
labels for readability.
• Size the width of each text box to fully display the values it contains and also to provide a
visual clue to users about the length of those values.
• Display calculated fields in a distinctive way, and prevent users from changing and updat-
• Use default values, list boxes, and other form controls whenever possible to reduce user
errors by minimizing keystrokes and limiting entries. A control is an item, such as a text
box or command button, that you place in a form or report.
• Use colors, fonts, and graphics sparingly to keep the form uncluttered and to keep the
focus on the data.
• Use a consistent style for all forms in a database.
Sarah and her staff had created a few forms and made table design changes before
learning about proper form design guidelines. The guidelines recommend performing all
database updates using forms. As a result, Belmont Landscapes won’t use table or query
datasheets to update the database, and Sarah asks if she should reconsider any of the
table design changes you made to the Panorama database in the previous tutorial.
Changing a Lookup Field to a Text Field
The input mask and validation rule changes are important table design changes, but set-
ting the CustomerID field to a lookup field in the tblContract table is an unnecessary
change. A form combo box provides the same capability in a clearer, more flexible way.
A combo box is a control that provides the features of a text box and a list box; it lets
you choose a value from the list or type an entry. Before creating the new forms for
Sarah, you’ll change the data type of the CustomerID field in the tblContract table from a
Lookup Wizard field to a Text field.