Creating Forms in Microsoft Access 2013

Although Access 2013 provides a convenient spreadsheet-style datasheet view for entering data, it isn’t always an appropriate tool for every data entry situation. If you’re working with users you don’t want to expose to the inner workings of Access, you may choose to use Access forms to create a user-friendly experience. This walkthrough outlines the process of creating an Access form.

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Open Your Access Database

Open Your Access Database screenshot

Start Microsoft Access and open the database that will house your new form.
This example uses a simple database to track running activity. It contains two tables: one that keeps track of the routes and another that tracks each run. The new form will allow the entry of new runs and modification of existing runs.

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Select the Table for Your Form

Select the Table for Your Form screenshot

Before you begin the form creation process, select the table that you want to base the form upon. Using the pane on the left side of the screen, locate the appropriate table and double-click on it. This example builds a form based upon the Runs table.

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Select Create Form From the Access Ribbon

Select Create Form From the Access Ribbon screenshot

Select the Create tab on the Access Ribbon and choose the Create Form button.

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View the Basic Form

View the Basic Form screenshot

Access presents a basic form based upon the table you selected. If you're looking for a quick form, this may be good enough for you. If that's the case, go ahead and skip to the last step of this tutorial: Using Your Form. Otherwise, read on to explore changing the form layout and formatting.

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Arrange the Form Layout

Arrange the Form Layout screenshot

After the form is created, you are placed immediately in Layout View, where you can change the arrangement of the form. If for some reason you're not in Layout View, choose it from the drop-down box underneath the Office button.

From this view, you have access to the Form Layout Tools section of the Ribbon. Choose the Design tab to see the icons that allow you to add new elements, alter the header/footer and apply themes to your form.

While in Layout View, you can rearrange fields on the form by dragging and dropping them to their desired location. If you want to completely remove a field, right-click on it and choose the Delete menu item.

Explore the icons on the Arrange tab and experiment with the various layout options. When you're done, move on to the next step.

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Format the Form

Format the Form screenshot

After you arrange the field placement on the Microsoft Access form, it's time to spice things up a bit by applying customized formatting.

You should still be in Layout View at this point in the process. Go ahead and click the Format tab on the ribbon to view the icons you can use to change the color and font of the text, the style of gridlines around your fields and include a logo, among many other formatting tasks.

Explore the options and customize your form. 

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Use Your Form

Use Your Form screenshot

To use your form, you first need to switch to Form View. Click the drop-down arrow on the Views section of the Ribbon. Select Form View and you'll be ready to use your form.

When you're in Form View, you can navigate through the records in your table by using the Record arrow icons at the bottom of the screen or entering a number into the "1 of x" text box. You can edit data as you view it if you like. You can also create a new record by either clicking the icon at the bottom of the screen with a triangle and star or by using the next record icon to navigate past the last record in the table.