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Access 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Creating Fancy Forms

So far, all the forms you’ve been creating look fairly similar: All the fields get channeled into one or more columns of tightly packed information. In many cases, that system works perfectly fine. But sometimes you want to let your inner form designer come out and play.

You’ve already seen this idea with reports in Chapter 11. Once you break a report out of its layout table, you can create a printout that looks more like a retail product catalog than like a drab table of information. The same principle is at work with forms—once you decide to leave the Simple World of Simple Forms, you can create forms that are a lot more original. You can create forms that use white space to break up dense groupings of information; forms that add graphical frills like pictures, lines, and rectangles; forms that pack information more tightly or more loosely; forms that resemble the paper documents they’re based on; and so on.

Manipulating Layouts

Like reports, forms use a helpful feature called a layout: a formatting container that Access uses behind the scenes to arrange a group of controls. If you widen one field in a layout, all the other fields in it are widened as well. If you move a layout, all the controls move along with it. And if you rearrange a layout, all the controls maintain a consistent amount of spacing.

Note

Remember, controls are the ingredients you can add to a form or report. Controls include things like labels, pictures, and text boxes. You use some controls ...

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