Use Access Input Forms to Enter and Modify Data

An Access database consists of one or more tables that contain related information. Once you've created such an empty database, you could work your way through all of the tables to fill them with information.

However, this could become tedious and confusing. It's hard to follow relationships between data in tables while you're trying to enter in data. Access input forms are a valuable tool for this. You can design input forms so you can enter data in a logical format

Let's start by creating a few simple tables, and then building an Access input form on top of those.

Instructions in this article apply to Access 2019, Access 365, 2016, 2013, and 2010 unless otherwise noted.

Creating Tables in Access

Before you can create an Access input form, you need to create a few tables that your form data will go into.

Microsoft Access is great for small businesses. So, for this example, you'll create an Access database for tracking sales information.

This database will contain information about your sales staff, monthly sales, and monthly expenses.

To build your table in Access:

  1. Launch a new database in Access. You'll see a blank Table1.

    Screenshot of creating a new table in Access
  2. Select Click to add, and add five fields. Make one short text, one long text, one large number, one short text, and two currency fields.

    Adding fields in Access
  3. Right click on each field, select Rename Field and type the new field name. Name each field Salesperson Name, Address, Phone Number, Month, Sales, and Expenses.

    Screenshot of naming fields in an Access table.
  4. Once you've renamed all the fields, you're ready to move on to the next step.

Now that your table is ready for data, it's time to build a form to enter all the data.

The large number field is only available in Access 2019 or later. In earlier versions of Access, you'll need to use a String field to record data like a phone number.

Create an Access Input Form

You'll begin by creating a simple form that allows you to work with the Table1 table.

Here’s the step-by-step process to create your new input form:

  1. Select Create in the menu, and select Form Wizard.

    Adding a new Form in Access
  2. Select the >> button to select all fields in the table.

    Adding fields to Access Form
  3. Select the Next button to continue.

  4. Choose the form layout that you’d like. Justified is a good, attractive starting point. Remember, this is just a starting point. You may modify the actual form appearance later in the process.

    Screenshot of selecting Form layout in Access
  5. Select the Next button to continue.

  6. Give the form a title, and then choose the appropriate radio button to either open the form in data-entry mode or layout mode.

    Screenshot of finishing the Access form wizard.
  7. Select the Finish button to generate your form.

Using the Form

Screenshot of using a Form in Access

Once you’ve created the form, you can interact with it as you wish.

The layout view allows you to customize the appearance of specific fields and the form itself. The data-entry view allows you to interact with the form and enter data.

Here's how the form works:

  • Use the > and < buttons to move forward and backward through the recordset.
  • The > button automatically creates a new record at the end of the current recordset.
  • The Search field lets you find specific items in your table.
  • Use Go To in the Home menu to go back and forth through table records. You can also go to the first or last record, or create a new one.

Now that you’ve created this first form, you're ready to start entering data.

Try playing around with the form design. Since forms will be the area of your Access database you'll see and use the most, it's important that the form is designed well.

Access Input Form for Data Entry

Now that you've got a form created for your table, you're ready to start entering data.

The benefit of using your new Access Input Form is that you don't have to find individual fields in the table to enter the data. As you insert data into one field, you can just select Tab on the keyboard to move to the next field.

Screenshot of using an Access form.

Once you press the Tab key in the last field, it'll save the last record you were editing to the table and move to the next empty record.

Use your new Access input form to enter a few records into your table.

You'll see that just by entering form data and pressing tab, you can quickly enter many records into the table without much effort.

Screenshot of a completed Access table

As you can see, entering data using an Access input form is much faster than trying to enter data directly into an Access table.

Modifying Table Data

In addition to adding new data to a table, an Access input form lets you modify data that's already in a table as well.

Here's how it works:

  1. Scroll back and forth through records using the < or > icons, or using the Search field to search for data in any field in the table.

    Using the Search field in an Access form
  2. Select Save in the Records group in the Home menu. Or you can press tab in the last form field. Either of these options will save your change.

  3. Use the > icon with a star to the right of it to jump immediately to enter a new record no matter which record you're currently viewing.

    Switching to next record in a Form
  4. Once you have enough data, you can start adding and linking new tables and creating useful reports.

Microsoft Access is a very powerful tool for tracking everything from a personal book library to your entire small business. Forms give you much easier access to all of the data you've stored in your Access tables.

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