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Access 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Taking Control of Controls

So far, you’ve seen how to create a form from scratch and how to add all the controls you want. However, you haven’t used this newfound power to do anything special. Sure, you’ve picked up the ability to add extra labels, lines, and rectangles. But that kind of eye candy pales in comparison to the truly helpful features Access lets you add to your forms. Want to prevent people from entering buggy data? Check. Want to add web-style hyperlinks? No problem. The list of what you can do to soup up your forms’ abilities is almost endless. The following sections show you the most popular ways to take charge of the controls on a form.

Locking Down Fields

In a database, almost every piece of information is subject to change. However, that doesn’t mean people should have free range over every field.

Suppose Boutique Fudge creates a form named CurrentOrders that lets people in the warehouse review outstanding customer orders, sorted by date. The warehouse personnel need to review each order, pack it up, and then ship it out. The only change they need to make is to update the order status (to indicate when it’s been sent out), or to add a record to the shipment log. Other details, like the order date, the order contents, and the customer who’s receiving the order, should be off limits. The warehouse people have no reason to change any of this information.

Forms are powerful tools in scenarios like this, because they let you prevent changes in certain fields. That way, ...

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