Today we’re going to create a very simple database form. This will relate to one table only and will give you a chance to play around with the settings before doing anything more complex.
In the main database window, click on the Forms icon on the left-hand side. I would suggest using the wizard for forms as it’s the easiest way to get the basic form there (Task Window). You can always play around with the format afterwards. Double-click on the wizard to open it up.
In the first window select the table name from the pull-down menu and use the arrow keys to take all the fields except for the ID field over to the right hand window. You don’t need the ID field on your form as it is automatically updated when you add a record.
Press next, and next again on the second window, as we’re not adding a sub-form here.
The third window is for selecting your format.
Click on the different format icons under Arrangement of the main form, and you will see the form changing behind it. When you’re happy, press next.
Leave the settings on the Select the data entry mode form as they are (unless you really only want to see new data in your form).
The next window, Apply the style of your form, will let you select different display options, which, once again, you will be able to see in the background. When you’re happy, move on.
In the final window a form name will be suggested. Change it if you don’t like it, and select Modify the form, so that you can have a little play with the settings, and click Finish.
Maximise the form so that you can see all the tools (they never open maximised).
Okay, if you’re familiar with drawing tools, you’re going to be at an advantage at this stage, because unless you’ve selected the design that looks a bit like a spreadsheet, everything on your page is a different element that you can move around, resize and reformat.
As you can see, my form is very simple as it only has one field. Yours may have a selection of them down the page. Here, I’ve clicked on the Series Title and you can see the placeholders around it, just like in a drawing package. Don’t worry about most of the icons around the page at this stage, except for where I’ve brought up the tool tip down the bottom for the Form Navigator. Find that icon and open it up. Then, right mouse click on the first field in your form and select Control.
You will see that with the field selected, there are two items selected in the Form Navigator. That is because the text field and its label are joined. In the Control window (which is titled Properties), you will see the word Multiselection next to the title. That means that everything you change in the Control window will apply to both the text field and the label field. You can change this by clicking on one of them in the Form Navigator, which will deselect the other. Then, you can change elements of each separately, which I would recommend. The control window lets you change all sorts of things, such as alignment, font, 3D effect, background colour. Scroll down and have a play around with the settings and see what you like and what you don’t like. Use this form as a testing ground – you can always recreate a proper one later.
Other tools you might like to test out are along the bottom. You will see a Text tool (the giant T) and some drawing tools as well. These can be used to, for example, give your form a title, or divide up sections into boxes.
Forget about the tools down the left-hand side for the moment, they’re all to do with adding elements to your form manually and you don’t need them at this stage.
When you have finished playing around, click Save (in the icons at the top of the screen) and close the Form. If you wish to go back into it to edit, right click on the Form in the Forms area of the database window and select Edit. If you want to test entering data, just double click on it to enter data mode.
And don’t forget to click Save on the database window before exiting.
That’s probably enough for today. Next time I’ll talk about sub-forms and creating something similar to my large data entry form (the one I showed you a few posts ago).