Chapter 12. Form/Report Design Elements
In Chapter 10, "Reports," you created a report from start to finish. In Chapter 11, "Forms/Subforms," you did a complete makeover of a form, step by step. I used this soup-to-nuts approach to give you a wide-lens view of how these objects work, a picture unobtainable when form and report creation is presented as a series of separate, piecemeal tasks.
There was a downside to this method, however: I didn't get to discuss many design features of forms and reports because they weren't specifically required by either project.
This chapter attempts to make amends for those shortcomings. I discuss techniques and features that forms and reports share, with the focus on adding pictures and other objects. I make some general comments about good design, including the use of special effects and fonts. And I take a look at several other design elements and features that are more specific to either forms or reports. These include switchboards, which are easy-to-use forms for selecting database tasks, and snaked column reports, which give you compact, efficient hard copy.
I also talk about macros. Access authors now tend to de-emphasize macros, arguing that nearly everything they do can be handled as well or better by writing Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code. But for advanced beginner and intermediate users who don't want to learn application programming or database languages, macros often offer a workable alternativeespecially for automatically executing simple tasks such as opening a form or printing a report at opportune moments.
Macros is a topic that requires many, many more pages than I've given it here. But as with my preparatory discussions of other tough-to-tackle topics, such as normalization or SQL, this brief introduction will at least give you a taste for how macros work in Access, as well as a few practical applications.