Once you loaded your Access database, you found the startup form (screen) and navigated among other related objects. In reality, this was not always the case, but general Microsoft Access users certainly got involved in this approach when designing a database, leaving the end user disoriented and unmotivated when using the company application.
To help optimize their application by making it easy to use and more user-friendly, actual database developers took advantage of the many properties in Access, which also included the form’s property sheet.
In this article I want to cover the required 10 key properties and when synced together a smooth home screen environment is formed as the Access form loads in a full screen mode removing any tempting and unwanted elements. This approach also ends up with a polished, professional look that is highlighted with simple but optional automation using Access VBA code and an automatic macro.
Design your form by adding all the components in the normal way as if the form were called manually and then save the changes before changing the key properties. In addition to the standard controls for your login form, make sure you have added a ‘Close’ command button and that it is hard-coded to close the form.
Next, let’s add the 10 key properties:
- Auto resize – This property is set to ‘Yes’ and it will automatically resize the form as it loads.
- Auto Center – This property is also set to ‘Yes’ and will be placed in neutral if the form is not fully loaded in a full screen view, which is perhaps a desired effect if developers want to resize a form. This will sit comfortably with the first mentioned property.
- Border Style – Ideally set this property to ‘Dialog’, although it can also be set to ‘None’ as you will be in a full screen view. The ‘Dialog’ option only follows the rules about when a screen has focus, the user can optionally control the movement and size of a form.
- Control box – Set this property to ‘No’ to change the ability to display the control menu for a window (that is, the icon in the upper left corner in a window).
- Min Max Buttons – Also set to ‘None’ to prevent users from resizing the window to a minimized, restored, or maximized state.
- Close Button: Set this property to ‘No’ to disable the ‘x’ icon in a window that will, of course, close the form. This should only be disabled if you have an alternative way of closing a form (i.e. the command button mentioned above).
- Popup Window: This property is set to ‘Yes’ to ensure this form has focus and is visible on top of any other previously opened forms (if applicable).
- Modal – Must be set to ‘Yes’ and it will behave like an actual dialog box so users cannot navigate outside of this form until they use an alternate way to formally close the form.
- Title: This property is the title of the title bar, which can be anything you want to display at the top of the form. I tend to use this for the database title along with some clever encoding to welcome the logged in user (if applicable) or just leave it blank.
- Allow Datasheet, PivotTable and Chart views – All three properties considered a collection here are set to ‘No’ as you only want to show the default view set to ‘Single Form’.
Now the simple VBA code will be attached to the On Load form event by adding DoCmd.Maximize between sub and end sub signature that will turn your form into a full screen view showing all the clean elements of the form in all their glory.
The final and optional part is adding a macro called ‘AutoExec’ (a specially reserved macro name) that fires when the file is loaded from the database. In this macro, add the ‘OpenForm‘action to call your form.
Hopefully you have the essentials in place so you can now add more refinement to the flavor. Happy forever!