Revision as of 21:46, 23 March 2012
Access Controls (Definitions)
Access includes several controls that a new user may have trouble identifying. When asking a question on UtterAccess, it's extremely helpful if you describe things with terms that we all agree on. To that end, the following list of controls should help you learn the names, and differences between the various controls that Access offers.
The simplest control is the Label control. It can easily be confused with the Textbox control, but a label has much less functionality. To get text to display in a label, you must assign a value to the label's Caption property. A label cannot be bound to a field in the form's/report's recordsource.
Strikingly similar to labels, Textboxes have far more functionality. A Textbox is often bound to a field in the form's/report's recordsource. It can also display the results of a hard-coded formula that includes both values and functions.
NOTE: A Textbox is NOT a field. A Field is a part of a recordset that contains a value. A Textbox is a form/report CONTROL that displays a value. A Textbox stores nothing - it merely displays things. The difference is subtle - think of it this way: A television shows you a picture of a flower. The flower is the contents of a field. The soil around the flower is the recordset containing the field. The television is the textbox displaying the contents of a specific part of the soil.
A command button is primarily used to trigger either a macro or VBA code, and cannot be bound to a field. Access handles all of the subtle stuff, like making it look like it's being pressed into the screen while you click on it. You can give a command button a text caption, or assign an image instead. A Command Button Control is different from a Toggle Button Control in that a Command Button Control will pop up after you click it, while a Toggle Button Control will STAY depressed after you click it (until you click it a second time, when it pops back up.)
Hyperlink Control (label)
This appears as a separate item on the Design->Controls ribbon, but it is not truly a separate control type. This is merely a label control that has the .HyperlinkAddress property filled in with a value. By default, the label is set to blue text with an underline, because that is what simple hyperlinks look like. However, these properties are editable.
Option Group Control
The Option Group Control allows the user to select one (never more than one) choice. Editing an Option Group Control can be tricky. If you have three options, and want to add a fourth, copy one of the options, then select the Option Group Control and paste your new option.
Page Break Control
The Page Break Control is only visible in Design View. It appears as a horizontal line of dots on the left side of the report at whichever vertical position you insert/move it. If the Page Break Control's Visible property is set to False (via a VBA subroutine, for example), it will have no effect.
The Combobox Control is a versatile and powerful tool for data entry. It can be used to select a value to be stored in a field, and can also be used as a record navigation aid. A Combobox can be easily identified by the small "down arrow" button on it's right side. The list of options becomes visible when you click this button. If you start typing the value you want, the combobox will attempt to "autofill" the rest, as long as what you type appears at the beginning of at least one choice. This control should not be confused with a Listbox Control.
Toggle Button Control
The Toggle Button Control is usually bound to a Boolean field. It looks similar to a Command Button Control, but can be either in the "un-pressed button" state, or the "pressed button" state. A Toggle Button can optionally be set to a "Triple State" format, where it can appear either pressed, unpressed, or greyed-out, to indicate a Null (neither True nor False) value.
List Box Control
A List Box Control resembles a Combobox Control, but the list of options (or at least a few of the choices) are always visible, where a Combobox's list of choices will vanish after data entry is complete. A ListBox can be bound to a single field. Alternatively, it can set up to allow the user to make multiple selections, necessitating some VBA code to handle the selected values properly.
This page is currently under construction.