Chapter 11. Forms/Subforms
Forms are usually used for entering data and viewing it on your computer. Chapter 6, "Entering, Editing, and Displaying Data," introduced forms and explained various techniques for making data entry easier and more efficient. It also dealt with the key issue of how forms inherit field properties from the underlying table.
This chapter covers form construction. Compared with the serviceable but monotonous datasheet, the form employs a host of graphical elements to enter and display data. Form tools don't merely make your form aesthetically pleasing; they are devices for streamlining data entry and conveying information more effectively.
Some form-creation tools and techniques are the same as those you saw in Chapter 10, "Reports." The two objects have much in common, and the design issues that arise are often comparable.
But the two objects are also quite distinct. The primary purpose of a form is to enter and view data on a computer screen, while that of a report is to review information on paper. Design effects that look good on a computer might look terrible on a printout, and vice versa. Additionally, forms don't use grouping, from which so much of a report's raison d'être derives. Perhaps most important, the vast reserves of information on your computer and the Internet are easily accessible in a form. You can dedicate controls to storing Word documents, photos, hyperlinks, and so on.
This chapter focuses on creating form tools, including combo boxes, list boxes, option groups, and subforms. Similar to the previous chapter, although in less detail, I compare two forms with similar content, one produced from scratch and the other with the Form Wizard.