Getting Started-A New Look for Access


If you are a seasoned developer with previous versions of Access, be prepared for quite a shock when you first open Access 2007. Microsoft has revamped the entire look and feel of Access as well as the other products in the 2007 Office release. To some degree, users of previous versions of Access will have a challenging task adjusting to all the changes the development team has incorporated into this version. If you are one of these users, you might even experience a short-term decrease in productivity as you become accustomed to where commands and tools are located on the new user interface element called the Ribbon. (See “Understanding the New Ribbon Feature” on page 41 for details about the Ribbon.) For first-time users of Access, Microsoft has spent a great deal of development effort trying to make the “Access experience” easier and more intuitive in this version. With a new Getting Started screen, a host of ready-to-use database applications available, and a context-driven, rich graphical Ribbon, users will have an easier and quicker time creating professional-looking database applications.

On first launching Access, you see a new Getting Started screen as shown in Figure 2–2. The Featured Online Templates section in the center of the screen displays database templates created by the Microsoft Access development team. These templates represent some of the more common uses for a database and are therefore presented to you first. On the left side of the screen you can find several different template categories grouped by subject. Click on one of these categories to change the display in the center of the screen to a list of templates in that category. The Local Templates category features database templates available on your local drive that were installed with Access. The From Microsoft Office Online category features database templates that you can download-but you must be connected to the Internet to see and download any templates in each of these categories. Microsoft is continually adding and modifying the selections available in the Microsoft Office Online categories, so the list you see might be different from that shown in Figure 2–2. If you have enabled your privacy options to have Access update these featured links, make sure to check these groups from time to time to see if a new template exists for your specific needs. For more information on Privacy Options, see “Understanding the Trust Center” on page 36.

image from book
Figure 2–2: You can create a database from a template, create a new blank database, or search for a database file to open on the Getting Started screen in Access 2007.

Just above Featured Online Templates in the middle of the screen is a button labeled Blank Database. You use this button to start the process of creating a new empty database with no objects. See Chapter 4, “Creating Your Database and Tables,” for details on how to create a new blank database.

The right task pane on the Getting Started screen displays a list of the Access databases you recently opened. To quickly open any of these databases, click on the file name in the list. Click More to see the Open dialog box where you can search for and open any database not in the list.

At the bottom of the Getting Started screen, you see specific information related to Access 2007 such as articles, additional templates, and downloads available from Microsoft Office Online. The downloads can include tutorials, updates to your Help files, or white papers on advanced topics. Most of this content is aimed at showing you all the new features available in Access 2007 as well as pointing out online training materials that Microsoft has created. If you have enabled your privacy options to have Access update these featured links, this area of the Getting Started screen is automatically updated when new content becomes available. Updating the content occurs only if you have an active Internet connection established.

Opening an Existing Database

image from book To showcase the new user interface (UI), let’s take one of the template databases out for a test drive. Using the IssuesSample.accdb database on the companion CD, based on the Microsoft Issues template, we will highlight some specific areas of Access 2007. First, follow the instructions at the beginning of this book for installing the sample files on your hard drive. If necessary, start Access again to display the Getting Started screen shown in Figure 2–2. Click More under Open Recent Database in the right task pane to see the Open dialog box shown in Figure 2–3.

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Figure 2–3: You can use the Open dialog box to find and open any existing database file.

In the Open dialog box, select the IssuesSample.accdb file from the folder in which you installed the sample databases, and then click Open. You can also double-click the file name to open the database. (If you haven’t set options in Windows Explorer to show file name extensions for registered applications, you won’t see the .accdb extension for your database files.) The Issues sample application will start, and you’ll see the startup form for the Issues Sample database along with all the various database objects listed on the left side, as shown in Figure 2–4.

image from book
Figure 2–4: When you open the Issues Sample database, you can see the new user interface for Access 2007.

Note 

If you installed the sample files for this book in the default location from the companion CD, you can find the files in the Microsoft Press\Access 2007 Inside Out folder on your C drive.

If you have used previous versions of Access, you immediately notice that Access 2007 has significant changes. We will discuss each of these user interface elements in greater detail in the following sections, but for now, here is a brief overview of the different elements. The upper-left corner of the screen contains a large button with the Microsoft Office logo on it. This button, called the Microsoft Office Button, replaces the File menu from previous editions of Access. Next to this button are a few smaller buttons on what is called the Quick Access Toolbar. This toolbar holds frequently used commands within Access 2007. Beneath the Quick Access Toolbar is a series of four tabs (Home, Create, External Data, and Database Tools) that contain many commands, options, and drop-down list boxes. These tabs are on what Microsoft refers to as the Ribbon and it replaces menu bars and toolbars from previous versions of Access. You will interact heavily with the Ribbon when developing and using Access 2007 databases because most of the commands you need are contained on it.

Beneath the Ribbon is a small message that says Security Warning. This Message Bar informs you if Access has disabled potentially harmful content in this database. See “Understanding Content Security” on page 34 to learn what this message means and what you can do to avoid it.

On the left side of the screen is the new Navigation Pane, which replaces the Database window from previous Access versions. In the Navigation Pane, you can find all the various database objects for this database (forms, tables, queries, and so on).

To the right of the Navigation Pane is where your database objects open. In Figure 2–4 you see that the Issue List form is open. All possible views of your database objects appear in this area. Just beneath the Navigation Pane and main object window is the status bar. The status bar displays text descriptions from field controls, various keyboard settings (Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock), and object view buttons.

Exploring the Microsoft Office Button

image from book The new Microsoft Office Button in Access 2007, shown in the upper-left corner of Figure 2–5, replaces the File menu from previous versions, and you can display its commands by clicking the Microsoft Office Button from the Getting Started screen or from Microsoft Office Button within any database. Figure 2–5 shows you the available commands.

image from book
Figure 2–5: You can view many commands by clicking the Microsoft Office Button.

Using these commands you can do any of the following:

  • New   Create a new database file.

  • Open   Open any existing database file on your computer or network.

  • Save   Save design changes for the database object that is open and has the focus.

  • Save   As Save a copy of the current object, find add-ins to save the object with a different file format, or save a copy of the current database in 2007, 2002/2003, or 2000 Access format. When you click the Save As button, the default is to save a copy of the current open object that has the focus or the object that has the focus in the Navigation Pane. If you rest your mouse pointer on or click the arrow at the right, additional commands appear in a submenu to the right of the arrow. You can choose from these to save a copy of your entire database in any of the formats supported by Access 2007. Note that if you choose to save the entire database, Access closes the database you have open so that it can create the copy.

  • Print   Print the currently open object that has the focus or the object in the Navigation Pane that has the focus using the Print dialog box or the Quick Print feature, or use Print Preview to preview the printed appearance on screen. If you immediately click the Print button, Access opens the Print dialog box to print whatever object currently has the focus. Be careful here because the object that has the focus might not be the one currently on the screen. If the focus is on an object in the Navigation Pane, that object is printed instead of the object currently open. If you rest your mouse pointer on or click the arrow to the right of the Print button, a submenu presents two additional options called Quick Print and Print Preview. Quick Print immediately sends the selected database object to the printer whereas Print Preview lets you preview on your monitor what you are about to print. Here again, be careful about which object has the focus.

  • Manage   Compact and repair your database file, back up your database, or open the Database Properties dialog box to review and change properties specific to this database.

  • E-Mail   Export the currently open object that has the focus or the object in the Navigation Pane that has the focus in various formats and send to another person. Be careful here because the object that has the focus might not be the one currently on the screen. If the focus is on an object in the Navigation Pane, that object is exported instead of the object currently open. You can choose to export and send the object in the following formats: Excel, HTML, Rich Text Format, or as a Text File.

  • Publish   Publish the database to a document manager server or package your database as a CAB file and digitally sign it.

  • Close Database   Close the currently open database and return to the Getting Started screen.

You can also find these two buttons at the bottom of the menu:

  • Access Options   Opens the Access Options dialog box where you can choose and define many different settings and preferences for Access.

  • Exit Access   Closes the currently open database file as well as completely exits Access.

Note 

For users of previous versions of Access, the Access Options dialog box is where you’ll] find many of the settings previously found in the Options dialog box that you opened from the Tools menu. For more information on the options available in this area, see “Modifying Global Settings via the Access Options Dialog Box” on page 87.

Taking Advantage of the Quick Access Toolbar

Next to the Microsoft Office Button is the Quick Access Toolbar, shown in Figure 2–6. This special toolbar gives you “quick access” to some of the more common commands you will use in Access 2007, and you can customize this toolbar to include additional commands. Here are the default commands available on the Quick Access Toolbar:

  • Save   Saves any changes to the currently selected database object.

  • Undo   Undoes the last change you made to an object or a record.

  • Redo   Cancels the last Undo change you made to an object or a record.

At the right end of the Quick Access Toolbar is a small arrow. Click that arrow, and you’ll see the Customize Quick Access Toolbar menu, as shown in Figure 2–6.

image from book
Figure 2–6: The default Quick Access Toolbar contains the Save, Undo, and Redo commands for the current object, and the command to customize the toolbar.

The top section of the menu displays common commands that you might want to add to the Quick Access Toolbar. Note that the three default commands-Save, Undo, and Redo-have check marks next to them. You can click any of these to clear the check mark and remove the command from the Quick Access Toolbar. You can click any of the other eight commands (New, Open, E-Mail, Quick Print, Print Preview, Spelling, Mode, and Refresh All) to add them to the right end of the Quick Access Toolbar. Near the bottom of this menu is More Commands, which allows you to fully customize what commands are available and how those commands appear on the Quick Access Toolbar. The Show Below The Ribbon option on the menu allows you to move the Quick Access Toolbar above or below the Ribbon depending on your preference. The last option on this menu, Minimize The Ribbon, causes Access to automatically collapse the Ribbon when it is not being used. When the focus is off the Ribbon, only the Ribbon tabs themselves appear when you click this command. Clicking any of the Ribbon tabs then causes Access to redisplay all the commands on top of any open objects. When you move the focus off any part of the Ribbon, it will again collapse to just the tabs.

To customize the Quick Access Toolbar, click the arrow on the right end and click More Commands near the bottom of the menu. The Access Options dialog box with the Customize category selected appears, as shown in Figure 2–7.

image from book
Figure 2–7: You can add or remove commands on the Quick Access Toolbar and change their sequence using the Customize category in the Access Options dialog box.

On the left you can see a list of built-in Access commands that you can select to add to the Quick Access Toolbar. By default, the list shows commands from the Popular Commands category-commands that are used very frequently. You can change the list of commands by selecting a different category from the Choose Commands From list. The All Commands option displays the entire list of Access commands available in alphabetical order. Just below the list of available commands is a check box that you can select to show the Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon. Clear the check box to show the Quick Access Toolbar above the Ribbon.

The list on the right side of the screen by default displays what options are available on every Quick Access Toolbar for all your database files. If you add, remove, or modify the commands shown in the list on the right when you have chosen For All Documents (Default) in the Customize Quick Access Toolbar list, the changes are reflected in every database you open with Access 2007. To customize the Quick Access Toolbar for only the specific database you currently have open, click the arrow in the drop-down list and select the database file path for your current database from the list, as shown in Figure 2–8.

image from book
Figure 2–8: You can add or remove commands on the Quick Access Toolbar for the current database by selecting your database from the Customize Quick Access Toolbar list.

When you select the current database, the command list below it is now empty, awaiting the changes you request. Find a command in the list on the left, and then either double-click it or click the Add button in the middle of the screen to add this command to your custom Quick Access Toolbar, as shown in Figure 2–9. If you make a mistake and select the wrong command, select the command in the list on the right, and click the Remove button to eliminate it from your custom list.

image from book
Figure 2–9: Add a command to the Quick Access Toolbar by selecting it in the list on the left and then clicking the Add button.

In addition to the built-in commands, you can also select any macros you have defined in this current database. To do this, select Macros in the Choose Commands From list on the left. A list of all your saved macro objects appears, and you can add these macros directly to your custom Quick Access Toolbar, as shown in Figure 2–10. We added one macro called mcrSample to this Issues Sample database to illustrate the next steps.

image from book
Figure 2–10: Add a saved macro object to the Quick Access Toolbar by selecting it in the list on the left and then clicking the Add button.

Caution 

Do not add a macro to your Quick Access Toolbar when you have selected the option to customize the Quick Access Toolbar for all documents. Access displays an error if you try to click your custom macro command in a database that does not contain the macro you selected.

You can also assign custom button images to the macro objects you select. To do so, select one of your macros in the list on the right, and then click the Modify button to open the Modify Button dialog box shown in Figure 2–11. From here you can choose one of the predefined button images available and also change the display name for this option on your custom Quick Access Toolbar.

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Figure 2–11: You can change the button face and the display name in the Modify Button dialog box.

After you have all the commands and macros you want on your custom Quick Access Toolbar, you might decide that you do not like the order in which they appear. Access 2007 allows you to easily modify this order using the Move Up and Move Down arrow buttons at the far right of the dialog box. (You can rest your mouse pointer on either button to see the button name.) Select a command you want to move in the list on the right and click the up arrow to move it up in the list as shown in Figure 2–12. Each successive click moves that command up one more place in the custom list. Likewise, the down arrow shifts the selected command down in the list. In Figure 2–12 you can see that we have moved the macro titled Greeting up above the Application Options command.

image from book
Figure 2–12: You can change the order of the commands on your Quick Access Toolbar by clicking the Move Up and Move Down arrow buttons.

From top to bottom in the list on the right, the commands appear in left-to-right order on the Quick Access Toolbar after the commands assigned to all databases. When you are completely satisfied with your revisions, click OK to save your changes. Observe that your custom Quick Access Toolbar now appears on the screen above or below the Ribbon depending on the choice you have selected. Figure 2–13 shows our completed changes to the Quick Access Toolbar for this specific database.

image from book
Figure 2–13: Your two additional commands now appear on the Quick Access Toolbar for this database.

Note 

You might have noticed the <Separator> option in the list on the left. Adding <Separator> to your custom Quick Access Toolbar places a small space below the command currently selected in the list on the right. You can add as many separators as you want to your custom Quick Access Toolbar to visually separate groups of commands.

To remove an item from your custom Quick Access Toolbar, reopen the Access Options dialog box with the Customize category selected again by clicking the arrow on the Quick Access Toolbar and then clicking More Commands. To remove an item, select it in the list on the right and click the Remove button, and Access removes it from your list of commands. If you inadvertently remove a command that you wanted to keep, you can click the Cancel button in the lower-right corner to discard all changes. You can also find the command in the list on the left and add it back. Keep in mind that you can remove commands for all databases or for only the current database.

If you wish to restore the Quick Access Toolbar for all databases to the default set of commands, select For All Documents (Default) in the Customize Quick Access Toolbar list, and then click the Reset button. To remove all custom commands for the current database, select the database path in the Customize Quick Access Toolbar list and click Reset. Before removing any commands on the Quick Access Toolbar, Access displays a warning message shown in Figure 2–14. If you click Yes to this Reset Customizations message, Access resets the Quick Access Toolbar for this current database back to the defaults.

image from book
Figure 2–14: Access asks you to confirm resetting the Quick Access Toolbar back to the default commands.

Inside Out-Adding a Command to the Quick Access Toolbar with Two Mouse Clicks 

If you notice that you are using a command on the Ribbon quite often, Access 2007 provides a very quick and easy way to add this command to the Quick Access Toolbar. To add a command on the Ribbon to the Quick Access Toolbar, right-click the command and click Add To Quick Access Toolbar. This adds the command to the Quick Access Toolbar for all databases. Alternatively, you can quickly remove an item from your custom Quick Access Toolbar by right-clicking on the command and clicking Remove From Quick Access Toolbar.




Microsoft Office Access 2007 Inside Out
MicrosoftВ® Office Access(TM) 2007 Inside Out (Microsoft Office Access Inside Out)
ISBN: 0735623252
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 234

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