The Access Form Design (data input screens) are interactive screens that communicate between users and the system. If you going to maintain records for customers, products and place orders, you need an input screen (interface).
It is however possible to ignore Forms altogether and simply work with just the tables and queries but this limits functionality and some security issues are potentially exposed.
Decide on the role of a user and the types of task users will be engaged to carry out. You may have similar Forms that look the same but provide different uses i.e. an Access Form to enter new customers only and similar looking Access Form to view data as read only.
The actual time it takes to create Forms is relatively low but the more functionality required and setting attributes, the longer the design time overhead.
Here are 5 quick steps to help plan and build a form.
- Decide on the type of use you want a form to perform. Will it be a form to enter only new records or to navigate to edit existing records? Do you want users to only view and but not ‘touch’ the data making it a screen inquiry? Will a form prompt users to pass a value or search term another part of your Access database system? List all the types of uses that will serve your database system.
- Are you the sole user of the Access database or will you have multiple users who will take responsibility for a particular form process? List all users and their roles which clearly starts to identify a natural group of users to a natural group of tasks.
- Now match both the group of users with the groups of Access form processes and check and cross-check if you can make a more refined group between the two and narrow down the amount of forms will you probably require.
- For each form, list the fields and any other controls which includes buttons and other navigational tasks a form should include. For example, a search screen may have a button that opens another form to view details of another list related to a selected key record.
- Consider and map out the look and feel of a form and list all the attributes you will believe serve the form well including formatting, tab orders, grouping and any images (where applicable). Every control (field, button, check-box etc) has it’s own collection of properties which changes the look and feel as well as behaviour including the whole form too.
This task can take a while to perfect and it will speed up once you are familiar with this form stepping process and can be replicated very quickly – once the momentum ‘kicks-in’!