Exploring the Access User Interface

Earlier, in Figure 2.2 we showed you the Access application window with its default interface tools and no open database. By default, Access displays the Database toolbar, menu bar, and task pane when you launch the program. In the next sections, you'll learn more about these tools.

The Database Toolbar

First, let's review all the tools on the Database toolbar, which is active before a database is open and when the Database window is current. Even with an open database, many of these tools are disabled, as they are in Figure 2.13. In addition, this toolbar automatically updates its available tools as you move from object to object. Table 2.2 defines each tool, from left to right.

Figure 2.13. This is the Access Database toolbar, with many disabled tools, just as they are in the application window.

graphics/02fig13.gif

Table 2.2. Toolbar Tools

Tool

Purpose

New

Displays the task pane.

Open

Displays the Open dialog box and opens a database file.

Save

Saves a database object.

File Search

Searches for text or files within Access.

Print

Prints the current object.

Print Preview

Previews the current object as it will print.

Spelling

Runs the Office Spell-Check feature.

Cut

Deletes the current object.

Copy

Copies the current object.

Paste

Copies the current contents of the Clipboard in the active object.

Undo

Voids the last action.

OfficeLinks

Provides a quick way to merge data with or publish data in Word or analyze data in Excel. You'll learn about these in Chapter 16, "Sharing Data."

Analyze

Launches one of three utilities: Analyze Table, Analyze Performance, and Documenter.

Code

Allows you to edit programming code associated with an object. You won't need to do this in your first databases.

Microsoft Script Editor

Allows you to edit HTML code in Data Access Pages. You'll learn more about pages in Chapter 10, "Take Your Data to the Web with Pages."

Properties

Displays the current object's properties in the Properties window.

Relationships

Shows a graphic representation of the existing relationships. You can also create new relationships and modify existing ones in this window. (Chapter 6, "Tapping the Power of Relationships," covers more about relationships.)

New Object

A quick way to create database objects. (For a more thorough discussion of database objects, see Chapter 3.)

Help

Displays the Office Assistant or the Help window if the Office Assistant is disabled. (We'll discuss the Office Assistant in Chapter 17, "Using Common Office Features.")

We could write a whole chapter just on toolbars and the menu bar, but instead we'll offer a few tidbits here to get you started. First, to display other toolbars , right-click any open toolbar or menu bar and select the appropriate toolbar or select Customize from the resulting submenu. You can select Customize to display a number of options for customizing a toolbar or the menu bar. You can also add or delete tools, change the size of the icons, and much more. To reset a toolbar or the menu bar to its default settings, simply click the Reset button on the Toolbars tab of the Customize dialog box.

You can move almost any toolbar by grabbing the handle at the left margin (refer to Figure 2.13) and dragging it to a new position. If you drag a floating toolbar too close to the edge of the application window, Access automatically docks it. In other words, Access attaches the floating toolbar to the window's edge or another toolbar. To quickly redock an undocked toolbar, just double-click the toolbar's title bar. An undocked toolbar is known as a floating toolbar .

The Menu Bar

Unlike Access toolbars, there's only one menu bar, although it changes commands according to the current environment. This section reviews the application menu bar, which is displayed at the top of the Access window as soon as you open it. The following are several tasks you can perform via a menu command:

  • You can manipulate database files.

  • You can create and modify database objects.

  • You can share data with other Office applications.

  • You can customize the Access environment.

As you select commands from each open menu, note the icons to the left of some of the commands, as shown in Figure 2.14. These icons denote duplicated efforts between a tool (toolbar) and the menu command. In addition, keystroke combinations are listed to the right of some commandspress those keys to quickly execute the corresponding command in lieu of using the mouse.

Figure 2.14. There are several ways to execute a menu command.

graphics/02fig14.jpg

Tip

graphics/tman.gif

Notice that some of the characters in the menus are underscored, which indicates a hotkey. That means you can press that key to initiate the command. For instance, to display the File menu, you'd press Alt+F . After the menu itself is open, you press just the underscored key. For instance, the letter O in the Open command (File menu) is underscored. After the File menu is displayed, you press just O to display the Open dialog box.


The Personal TouchUnderstanding IntelliMenus

Office introduced personalized menus in Office 2000. These menus (and submenus) adapt to the way you work, displaying the commands you use most often and hiding those you never or seldom use.

You can tell when Access has personalized a menu by the small double arrow at the bottom of the menu. We've highlighted one in Figure 2.15. Simply click the double arrow to display all the commands for that particular menu.

Figure 2.15. The double arrow at the bottom of the menu is an indication that more menu commands are available.

graphics/02fig15.gif

Many people find personalized menus annoying, especially when they're trying to learn a new program. Fortunately, you can easily disable this feature. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Select Toolbars from the View menu.

  2. Select Customize.

  3. Click the Options tab.

  4. Select the Always Show Full Menus option in the Personalized Menus and Toolbars section, as shown in Figure 2.16.

    Figure 2.16. Disable the personalized menus feature.

    graphics/02fig16.jpg

  5. Click Close .

Disabling the Task Pane

Earlier, we showed you how to use the links in the task pane to open or create files. Access displays the task pane by default when you launch it. You'll find shortcuts for opening and creating a database or an Access project. If you don't want to see the task pane, follow these steps:

  1. Select Options from the Tools menu.

  2. Click the View tab.

  3. Clear the Startup Task Pane option in the Show section, as we've done in Figure 2.17.

    Figure 2.17. Disable the task pane.

    graphics/02fig17.jpg

  4. Click OK to return to the application window.

You must have a database open to change this option.



Absolute Beginner's Guide to Microsoft Office Access 2003
Absolute Beginners Guide to Microsoft Office Access 2003
ISBN: 0789729407
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 124

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