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Form Basics

Are there shortcuts to designing forms??? You betcha! by WildHare
Posted: 6 Apr 02 (Edited 6 Apr 02)

Handy Form Design-Mode Tricks

Do you spend a lot of time doing form design? If you want to produce professional looking applications that are easy to learn and easy to use, you will. Here are some quick shortcuts that might make your form design go a little faster and easier

Use the keyboard for adjusting the size and position of those pesky text boxes, labels, and buttons.  Control + Arrow keys move controls according to which arrow key you press, and you get very close, fine adjustment.  Shift+Arrow keys sizes controls, and again you can adjust size in any of the four arrow directions.  Try it! Just select the control or controls and go!

Use accelerator labels on your command button labels û the & ôampersandö in front of a character makes it respond to the ALT key, so  ô&Saveö, which display as Save on your button, responds to ALT-S

(By the way, if you want to DISPLAY an ampersand in titles or labels, use TWO of them together. Only one will show - like Abbot && Costello.)

Use the Format/Size/To Widest and Format/Size/To Tallest menu commands to make all your buttons the same size. Nothing looks more amateurish than oddly shaped, uneven buttons.

Often get messed up with moving around those ôpairedö labels and text boxes that are bound to your fields? HereÆs a quick way to separate them:  Drag across all the Labels in a group, and then hit Control-X to cut them to the clipboard, and Control-V to paste them back onto the form. Now you can move them around where ever you want, and the text boxes will stay where they were.

Use Format/Align/to Left to align text boxes all on the left edge, and Format/Align/Right to move labels next to them. The idea is to have your labels right aligned, and all the same distance from the text boxes, like this:

       Name: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
   Address: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
      Street: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Set two function-keys to toggle you back and forth between form design and form view mode. I have them in my AutoKeys macro:

{F7} û RunCommand û FormView
{F8} û RunCommand û DesignView

(Just remember to take them out when you deliver the application û no need for the user to accidentally get in to form design mode, is there?)

If youÆre using Access 2000 or newer, you can set a left margin in your text boxes, that helps to make the characters there a little easier to see. Just open the Properties sheet for your text box and set a left margin of 1/10th of an inch.

Did you know that if you click your mouse cursor anywhere in the horizontal or vertical rulers around your form in design mode, youÆll SELECT all the controls in line with your mouse click?  And if you hold the button down and drag across the ruler, youÆll select everything below or to the right of where you drag. Hard to explain, just try it.

I hope some of these quick tips and tricks make form design less of a chore for you.













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