Home and Learn: Microsoft Access Course

Access Data Entry Forms

In the last lesson, you entered records using the Datasheet View. Another way to enter data in a table is with a form. Using a form makes data entry a lot easier. To create a form quickly in Access, click on the Create Ribbon at the top. On the Forms panel, click Form:

The Create ribbon showing the Form item highlighted

When you click on Form, Access will create a form for you. It will look like this:

A quick Form created by Access

If it doesn't look exactly like the one in the image above, have a look in the bottom right. You'll notice three icons:

Navigation icons for an Access form

These icons are for the three different kinds of view you can have with forms: Form View, Layout View and Design View. Make sure the first one is selected. We'll come back to the other two views shortly.

Have a look at the bottom of the form, though, where it says 1 of 3 and 1 of 2:

Record Navigation icons in Access

The 1 of 3 is for the books. The 1 of 2 is for the authors. The arrows are the scroll icons. The next image shows you what they do:

The Form scroll icons in Access

Click all the arrows except the Add new blank record one. You should find that different rows (records) are highlighted.

Now, in the 1 of 2 area, click the New Black Record icon. This will allow you to add a new author. Add the following Author:

J K Rowling

And add a book in the Fantasy genre:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Your Access form will then look like this:

A new database record added in form view in Access

You are now on record 3 of 3 for the authors. For this particular author, we have 1 of 1 books.

Now add some more authors and books to your database. Add the following (Don't forget - click the bottom New Blank Record icon, where it says 3 of 3, in the image above):

FirstName Last Name Middle Name Book Title Book Genre
Yuval Harari Noah Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Science
Dawn O'Porter
So Lucky Romance
Raynor Winn
The Salt Path Travel
Lucy Diamond
Something to Tell You Romance

When you have finished inputting the data, your form should look like this:

Access form with the last record displayed

Notice we now have 8 of 8 authors.

Now, in the All Access Objects area on the left, double click your tblAuthors table. You should see all the new authors in it:

An Access table with a list of authors

Now double-click your tblBooks table to see all the books:

An Access table with a list of books

Save your new form. When you do, you should see a small dialog box appear asking you for a name for your form. Enter frmAuthorsBooks. When you save the form, you should see a new section appear under All Access Objects on the left. The name of your form will be under the Forms heading:

The All Access Objects area with a form added

Access Form Header

If you have a look at the top of your form, you'll notice that it has the name of a table there:

The Access Form Header highlighted

The grey area at the top is the form's header. It has some text in it. By default, it's the name of the table where you have your Primary Key set up, tblAuthors in this case. You can change that text.

Switch to either Layout View or Design View, by clicking one of the icons in the bottom right:

The Layout View icon for Access forms

In the image above, we've clicked the icon for Layout View.

At the top of the form, double click the header text, where it says tblAuthors. Notice two things: one, the header text goes white and becomes a text box that you can type in, and two, you'll see a Property Sheet appear on the right:

An arrow pointing to a Text Area for a Form header in Access

You can change the header text either by typing in the text area, or by clicking into the Caption box on the Property Sheet. Change the title to Authors and Books. Your screen will then look like this:

The Form Header has been changed to Authors and Books

Switch back to Form View by clicking the first of the three icons in the bottom right. You should see your new title at the top of your data entry form:

Form View in Access with the new Header

OK, now that we have some data in our database, we can move on and look at Queries. Queries are at the heart of what a database is and does.

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