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How to create a data entry form

Working with the data grid

In the previous lesson we used the data grid to get information into the tables. Although useful in some situations, it is not very practical for day-to-day operations because it is not a format that non-programming types are comfortable with.

Working with the AutoForm Wizard

Everybody is familiar with forms. So, to display information from the tables or to input data into the tables we'll create a form for every table in the database.

We'll do the Customers form first and then, all the other tables can be done the same way.

There are several ways to create forms. It is possible to do it from scrtach but that is rarely necessary.

The easiest is to use the Wizard to get the basic design and then customize it.

As soon as I have the form created, before I go further, I will Save and Name the form. There is no problem in giving the form the same name as the table - in fact it is usually easier to associate the two objects when they have the same name. Access keeps all the objects separate so in fact there will not be a conflict if I have a Customers table and a corresponding Customers form.

Now I can customize the form.

All the objects on the form, the boxes, lists, titles are called controls.

Controls can be changed, moved around, resized, colored, etc. You can select several controls at once using the standard Windows methods: shift-click, control-click and change all the ones that are selected using the Edit toolbar.

If you have to go to the properties of the controls, you open the Properties window with a Right-click on the control.

As you do the changes, take a look at the results frequently and adjust the form accordingly.

Every time you go to Form mode, do a Save at the same time.

Once the layout is complete there is one last, very important task to do.

It is called the Tab order. It is the order in which the cursor moves when you hit the <Tab> key on the keyboard.

When the form is first created, the Tab order will follow the order of the controls on the form. But as you move the controls around, the Tab order does not change. So, if you move a control from the end of the form to the beginning, it will still be last in the Tab order.

Usually, the user will navigate through the form using the <Tab> key. People don't work with the mouse to go from field to field on a form. If the cursor jumps from First name to Address to Last name, etc when you hit <Tab>, you will soon get very frustrated.

It is very important to make sure that the Tab order follows the order of the controls.

To do other operations on the form, use the appropriate button in the toolbar.

You can delete an existing customer or add a new one.

In the case where you have 5,000 customers and you have to find the record for a particular one, do a Find operation using the toolbar.

Now, create a form for the Movies table using the same technique.

Next week: Creating simple Queries. See you then!