Working with Controls on Forms and ReportsThis content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release.
Although forms, reports, and data access pages are the objects you use to present or gather data from users, it is really the controls on these objects that do all the work. Access contains a wide variety of built-in controls that you can use on these objects.
Forms, reports, and data access pages all use controls to display information or to make it possible for the user to interact with the object or the data it contains. Forms and reports have a Controls property that returns a collection of all the controls on the object.
Controls Collections for Forms and Reports
You can refer to a control on a form or report as a member of the Controls collection or by using the name of the control itself. For example, the following lines of code illustrate three ways to return the RowSource property setting for a combo box control on a form. Because the Controls property is the default property of a Form object, you can refer to the control's name without explicitly specifying the Controls property, as shown in the second and third examples that follow:
strSource = Forms("SalesTotals").Controls("cboSelectSalesPerson").RowSource strSource = Forms("SalesTotals")!cboSelectSalesPerson.RowSource strSource = Forms!SalesTotals!cboSelectSalesPerson.RowSource
Note The ! operator is used to refer to user-defined items, such as forms, reports, and controls on Access forms or reports.
You can also use the Controls property to work with all the controls on a form or report. For example, the following code loops through all the controls on a form and sets the Text property for each text box control to a zero-length string (""):
Sub ClearText(frmCurrent As Form) Dim ctlCurrent As Control For Each ctlCurrent In frmCurrent.Controls If ctlCurrent.ControlType = acTextBox Then ctlCurrent.Value = "" End If Next ctlCurrent End Sub
You can pass the Form object to the ClearText procedure by using the Me property. The Me property returns an object representing the form, report, or class module where code is currently running. For example, you could call the ClearText procedure from a form by using the following syntax:
Certain controls on forms and reports also have a Controls collection. For example, the option group control might contain a Controls collection representing option button, toggle button, check box, or label controls in the option group. The tab control has a Pages collection containing a Page object for each page in the tab control. Each Page object also has a Controls collection representing all the controls on a page in a tab control.
Subform and Subreport Controls
Forms and reports can also contain subform or subreport controls that contain another form or report. These controls make it possible for you to display related records from another form or report within a main form or report. A common example of this is a Customers form that contains a subform containing customer orders. You use the SourceObject property of the subform or subreport control to specify the form or report that will be displayed in the control.
The form or report in the subform or subreport control can share a common field, known as the linking field, with the records displayed in the main form or report. The linking field is used to synchronize the records between the subform or subreport and the main form or report. For example, if the record sources for an Orders subform and a Customers main form both contain a CustomerID field, this would be the common field that links the two forms. To specify the linking field, you use the LinkChildFields property of the subform or subreport control and LinkMasterFields property of the main form or report. However, the easiest way to create a linked subform or subreport is to open the main form or report in Design view, drag the appropriate form or report from the Database window to the main form or report, and then release the mouse button.
You use the Form property of a subform control to refer to controls on a subform. You use the Report property of a subreport control to refer to controls on a subreport. The following examples illustrate how to get the value of a control on a subform or subreport by using VBA. The first two lines show alternative ways to reference a control named Quantity on a subform. The last line shows how to use the RecordCount property to get the number of records contained in the recordset associated with a subreport control:
lngOrderQuantity = Forms("CustomerOrders").Controls("SubForm1").Form!Quantity lngOrderQuantity = Forms!CustomerOrders!SubForm1.Form!Quantity lngNumProducts = Reports!SuppliersAndProducts!SubReport1.Form.Recordset.RecordCount
List Box and Combo Box Controls on Forms
List box and combo box controls are very powerful and versatile tools for displaying information and making it possible for the user to interact with the data displayed on a form. These controls work differently in Access than list box and combo box controls in other Office applications, and it is important to understand these differences if you want to use these controls effectively.
If you are used to working with these controls in other applications, the most important difference is how you add items to and remove items from these controls. In other applications, these controls have AddItem and RemoveItem methods to add and remove items. These methods are not supported for Access list and combo box controls. Instead, you use combinations of RowSource and RowSourceType properties to specify the data that appears in a list box or combo box control. The relationship between the RowSource property setting and the RowSourceType property setting is illustrated in the following table.
|RowSourceType property setting||RowSource property setting|
|Table/Query||Table name, query name, or SQL statement|
|Value List||Semicolon-delimited list of values|
|Field List||List of field names from a table, query, or SQL statement|
|User-defined function||No value specified|
For more information about setting the RowSourceType and RowSource properties to fill a list box or combo box control, search the Microsoft® Access Visual Basic® Reference Help index for "RowSource property" or "RowSourceType property."
If you are creating list box or combo box controls through the Access user interface, you can take advantage of the List Box Wizard and the Combo Box Wizard to set the various properties required to display data in these controls. To use these wizards, make sure the Control Wizards tool in the toolbox is pressed in, then click the List Box or Combo Box tool in the toolbox, and then click the place on the form where you want the control to appear. Follow the instructions displayed by the wizard.
You can set the properties of a list box or combo box control without using the wizard by using the control's property sheet or VBA. You use the ControlSource property to bind a list box or combo box control to a field in the recordset specified in the form's RecordSource property. As mentioned earlier, you use the RowSource property in combination with the RowSourceType property to specify the source of data for the list box or combo box control.
The BoundColumn property specifies which column in the record source specified by the RowSource property will contain the value of the list box or combo box control. If a list box or combo box control does not have a ControlSource property setting, you can set the BoundColumn property to 0. When you do this, the Value property of the control will contain the row number of the selected row specified by the RowSource property. The row number of the selected row is the same as the value of the control's ListIndex property. The ColumnCount and ColumnWidths properties specify which columns are displayed in the control.
The following sample fills a combo box control with data from an SQL statement, specifies which column in the SQL statement specified by the RowSource property will contain the value for the control, and uses the ColumnWidths property to specify which columns are displayed in the control:
With Me!cboEmployees .RowSource = "SELECT EmployeeID, FirstName, " _ & "LastName FROM Employees ORDER BY LastName" .RowSourceType = "Table/Query" .BoundColumn = 1 .ColumnCount = 3 .ColumnWidths = "0in;.5in;.5in" .ColumnHeads = False .ListRows = 5 End With
The preceding code fills a combo box with data from 3 fields (columns) from each record (row) in the Employees table, as specified by the RowSource property. The BoundColumn property is set to the first field in the Employees table, in this case, EmployeeID. When an item is selected from the combo box, the value of the EmployeeID field will be the control's value and is the value saved to the field specified by the ControlSource property. Note that the first column in the ColumnWidths property is set to 0 inches. This hides the bound column (EmployeeID) from the user when the combo box's drop-down list is displayed. The user sees only the FirstName and LastName fields, and these fields are displayed in .5-inch wide columns. Note also that the ColumnHeads property is set to False, meaning that the names of the FirstName and LastName fields are not shown in the control's drop-down list. And finally, the ListRows property is set to 5, specifying that the control's drop-down list will display only 5 records at a time.
Using a User-Defined Function to Fill a List Box or Combo Box Control
You can specify a user-defined function as the RowSourceType property setting for a list box or combo box control. The function you use for this property setting has to meet specific criteria in order to work correctly because the function is called repeatedly as Access fills the control with data. For more information about creating and using user-defined functions to fill a list box or combo box control, search the Microsoft® Access Visual Basic® Reference Help index for "RowSourceType property," then open the "RowSourceType, RowSource Properties" topic, and then use the See Also jump to open the "RowSourceType Property (User-Defined Function) — Code Argument Values" topic.
Adding New Values to a Combo Box Control
You use the LimitToList property to specify whether a user can add new values to a bound combo box from the user interface when the form is in Form view or Datasheet view. When this property is set to True (the default), the user can't add new items to the combo box. If the BoundColumn property is set to any column other than 1, Access will automatically set the LimitToList property to True. When this property is set to False, new values are added to the underlying record source specified by the RowSource property.
When the LimitToList property is set to True, any attempt to add a new item to a combo box control will cause the NotInList event to occur. You can add code to the NotInList event procedure to handle the attempt to add new data to the control. This event procedure uses the NewData and Response arguments to represent the new data the user has tried to enter and the response you want to provide in the attempt to add new data. Setting the Response argument to one of the following built-in constants specifies how you want to respond to the attempt to add data to the control: acDataErrAdded, acDataErrContinue, or acDataErrDisplay. For example, the following sample illustrates one way to add new data to a combo box control:
Private Sub CategoryID_NotInList(NewData As String, _ Response As Integer) If MsgBox("Do you want to add '" _ & NewData & "' to the items in this control?", _ vbOKCancel, "Add New Item?") = vbOK Then ' Remove new data from combo box so control can be requeried ' after the AddNewData form is closed. DoCmd.RunCommand acCmdUndo ' Display form to collect data needed for the new record. DoCmd.OpenForm "AddNewData", acNormal, , , acAdd, acDialog, NewData ' Continue without displaying default error message. Response = acDataErrAdded Else Response = acDataErrContinue End If End Sub
For more information about how to use the NotInList event procedure, search the Microsoft® Access Visual Basic® Reference Help index for "NotInList event."
Enabling Multiple Selections in a List Box Control
To make it possible for users to make multiple selections from a list box control, you set the MultiSelect property. When the MultiSelect property is set to Simple (2) or Extended (1), the Value property of the control is Null. You work with multiple selections in a list box control by using the Selected, ItemsSelected, and Column properties.