Category Archives: Tips

Tips and tricks

Selecting Multiple Fields (All Versions)

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A quick way to place several successive fields on a form or report is to click the first field you want in the field list, scroll down until you see the last field you want, and then hold down the Shift key while you click the last field. This procedure selects all the fields between the first and last fields… Read more »

Sizing a Label (All Versions)

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To quickly adjust the size of a label, select the label, choose the Size command from the Format menu, and then choose To Fit from the submenu. You can also double-click any of the sizing handles to perform a size to fit.

Selecting Controls in a Row (All Versions)

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To select all controls in a vertical area, click the horizontal ruler above the area containing the controls you want to select. Likewise, to select all controls in a horizontal area, click the vertical ruler.

Select All Fields in Query Design (V2 and later)

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An easy way to select all the fields in a table is to double-click the title bar of the field list in the upper part of the Query design window. This highlights all the fields. Then click any of the highlighted fields and drag them as a group to the Field row in the design grid. While you’re dragging, the… Read more »

AND vs. OR (All versions)

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It’s a common mistake to get OR and AND mixed up when typing a compound criteria for a single field. You may think to yourself, “I want all the entertainment groups in the states of Washington and California,” and then type: WA AND CA in the Criteria row for the StateOrProvince field. When you do this, you’re asking Access to… Read more »

Edit From Relationships Window (Access 97 and later)

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You can right-click any table in the Relationships window and then choose Table Design from the shortcut menu to open that table in Design view. You can also choose Print Relationships (Access 2000) from the File menu while viewing the Relationships window to create a report that prints what you have laid out in the window.

Copy Toolbar Menu

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When you copy a built-in menu (either from an available menu bar or from the Built-In Menus category), Access does not make an independent copy of the original. So, if you copy a menu and then change some of its properties (for example, you delete one of the commands from the menu), you’re also affecting the built-in menu. This is… Read more »

Toolbar Context

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If you open one of the built-in toolbars in a context in which the toolbar would not normally be open, the toolbar remains open until you close it. For example, if you open the Customize dialog box while the focus is on the Database window and then open the Form Design toolbar, the toolbar remains open no matter what you… Read more »

Locking a Tool (Access 97 and later)

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When you select a tool other than the Select Objects tool, that tool becomes deselected after you use it to place a control on your form. If you plan to create several controls using the same tool—for example, a series of check boxes in an option group—double-click the control button in the toolbox to “lock” it. You can unlock it… Read more »

Updatability (V2 and later)

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The recordset that Microsoft Access creates when you run a query looks and acts pretty much like a real table containing data. In fact, in most cases you can insert rows, delete rows, and update the information in a recordset, and Access will make the necessary changes to the underlying table or tables for you. In some cases, however, Access… Read more »

Nulls and Zero-Length Strings (V2 and later)

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Relational databases support a special value in fields, called a Null, that indicates an unknown value. Nulls have special properties. A Null value cannot be equal to any other value, not even to another Null. This means you cannot join (link) two tables on Null values. Also, the test “A = B,” when A, B, or both A and B… Read more »


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Although Access 2000 generally interprets 21st century dates with two-digit years correctly, I strongly recommend that you take advantage of the new Use Four-Digit Year Formatting option in Access to avoid all confusion. When you choose this option, Access displays four-digit years in datasheets, forms, and reports. It also converts whatever you type in an expression (such as Criteria in… Read more »