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Aligning and distributing controls on forms and reports

From: Access 2010 Power Shortcuts

Video: Aligning and distributing controls on forms and reports

When you create Forms and Reports from scratch, it will help usability, if you make sure to align up your labels and controls so the information looks orderly, instead of jagged. The best way to show you is to design a form from scratch. Go up to the Create ribbon and then click on the Form Design button, we now have blank form. Up on the ribbon click on Add Existing Fields, click on Show all tables and click on the Plus sign next to Customers. Here is a list of all the fields in our Customers table. I'll double-click on everything from Customer ID all the way down through ZIP code.

Aligning and distributing controls on forms and reports

When you create Forms and Reports from scratch, it will help usability, if you make sure to align up your labels and controls so the information looks orderly, instead of jagged. The best way to show you is to design a form from scratch. Go up to the Create ribbon and then click on the Form Design button, we now have blank form. Up on the ribbon click on Add Existing Fields, click on Show all tables and click on the Plus sign next to Customers. Here is a list of all the fields in our Customers table. I'll double-click on everything from Customer ID all the way down through ZIP code.

As I double-click each gets added to the form. When I'm done I'll close my Field List. Now while all of these controls are aligned along their left edge, my labels look really jagged. It usually looks really nice when all of your labels are aligned on the right edge. To do this I need to highlight all of them. I'll draw a marquee around them so they are all selected, then I'll come up to Form Design tools and my Arrange ribbon, I'll come here to the right to the Align button and I'll Align them Right. Now I can see that many of them are too short.

If I look carefully I can see that there is a dot on the middle of the right-hand side of all of the fields, and because they are highlighted, if I carefully hold my cursor over that dot, so that I get it double-headed arrow, I can click and drag over to the right-hand side and they will all become larger all at ones. Now, well this looks nice. I would actually like to rearrange this label, so that my Address is actually classically align with City, State and ZIP on one line and my Customer ID and Company are on one line as well. I'll click anywhere in the detail area, so that I lose my highlights.

The first thing I want to do is move Company up here next to Customer ID, so I'll click on the Company field. If I want to move it independently of my label I'll click on the grayed box in the upper left-hand corner and I'll get that four-headed arrow. I'll click and drag this up here on the right-hand side and then I'll also extend it out so it's longer. Now instead of having Customer ID and Company, I'm going to click on the Customer ID label and then hit Delete on my keyboard; so that it disappears. I'll then move Company up in its place by again, clicking on the dot in the upper left-hand corner.

Now I'll move my Address line up. I'll click on Address and this time if I just hold my cursor on the edge of the box, not on one of the dots, I can move both the control and the label at the same time. I'll extend Address1, so it's as long as Company. I'll do the same to Address2. Now instead of manually making Address2 match Address1 by dragging, I've another way of doing it. I'll hold my Shift key down and click on Address1 so that both are selected. Then I'll come up to the Size button up in the ribbon on the right-hand side and I'll choose To Widest.

Now it makes the right edge match the field above. For the rest of my Address, I don't actually want all of these labels here, so I'm going to draw a marquee touching Address2 through ZIP and then delete those as well. I'll move City up under Address and I'll make it a lot longer, I'll make State shorter, since it just has two characters in it and then I'll use the box in the corner and move it up next to City and I'll do the same thing with the ZIP. Now what I want ZIP to be in the exact same position as Address, I'll Shift click on Address, go up to Align again and Align it on the Right hand side.

Now I notice that my placement for City, State and ZIP is kind of jagged, so I'll draw a marquee touching all three of those fields, come up to Align and Align them Top. I also want them equally spaced, so I can go back to Size/Space again and down in the Spacing area, I'll make them Equal Horizontal that will distribute the three boxes, so that they are equally spaced. I need to make some of the same changes to the Company line. So I'll draw a marquee to touch all three of those boxes and align those on Top as well.

I need Company and Address to align up on the right-hand sides, Align, Right and I need to make sure that Customer ID and these fields are aligned on their left-hand sides, so I'll Shift+Click on the four of these and Align them Left. Now lastly, I notice that there is a big gap between my Company information and the rest. So I'm going to highlight all of my fields by drawing a marquee around all of them, go back up to the Size/Space button again and this I'm going to choose Spacing, Equal Vertical.

Now my all fields are equally distributed vertically. I'll click off, then I'm going to hold my cursor over my Form tab, right-click on it and take a look and see what this looks like in Form View. That looks great, but my fields are a little far apart, so I'm going to go back to Design View again, re-highlight all of my options. Go back to my Form Design tools, Arrange tab, go back to Size and Space and I'm going to Decrease the Vertical space between them. I'll do it once and then I'll do it twice, Decrease Vertical.

Now when I switch my view and look at in Form View, it looks really nice. Go ahead and save this form as Customer Addresses. I'll right-click on Form tab, choose Save. Using Align and distribute will make your forms and reports, look like they were professionally made.

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This video is part of

Image for Access 2010 Power Shortcuts
Access 2010 Power Shortcuts

93 video lessons · 7386 viewers

Alicia Katz Pollock
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 15s
    1. Welcome
      47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      28s
  2. 25m 49s
    1. Customizing the Navigation pane
      2m 23s
    2. Toggling between Design and Data views
      2m 40s
    3. Creating new fields with field templates
      2m 9s
    4. Understanding the "Cannot contain a Null value" error
      1m 29s
    5. Working with AutoNumbers as foreign keys
      2m 24s
    6. Using input masks
      2m 39s
    7. Four ways to add fields to a query
      1m 41s
    8. Four ways to filter data
      2m 56s
    9. Selecting multiple form and report controls
      2m 13s
    10. Aligning and distributing controls on forms and reports
      5m 15s
  3. 5m 48s
    1. Opening recent files
      2m 33s
    2. Opening your most recently used file automatically
      56s
    3. Selecting a startup form
      1m 0s
    4. Changing the default saving location
      1m 19s
  4. 8m 22s
    1. Expanding and collapsing the Ribbon
      1m 13s
    2. Three ways to customize the Quick Access toolbar
      3m 14s
    3. Selecting Ribbon buttons using KeyTips
      1m 47s
    4. Creating your own ribbons
      2m 8s
  5. 9m 26s
    1. Turning the Navigation pane into a switchboard
      3m 48s
    2. Right-clicking
      2m 48s
    3. Using keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
  6. 5m 56s
    1. Navigating between records
      2m 8s
    2. Using Search, Go to, and Find
      2m 20s
    3. Selecting fields, rows, columns, and tables
      1m 28s
  7. 21m 46s
    1. Undo and Redo tips
      2m 18s
    2. Entering data across, not down
      59s
    3. Repeating data from the record above
      1m 39s
    4. Copying and pasting content
      2m 44s
    5. Inserting today's date
      1m 10s
    6. Removing automatic hyperlinks
      1m 54s
    7. Using AutoCorrect
      1m 36s
    8. Using concatenated fields
      2m 16s
    9. Linking Outlook contacts
      2m 23s
    10. Saving imports and exports for reuse
      4m 47s
  8. 35m 56s
    1. Creating a table using application parts
      2m 18s
    2. Creating Quick Start fields
      1m 49s
    3. Saving application parts
      2m 43s
    4. Understanding number field sizes
      3m 2s
    5. Setting default field types
      2m 55s
    6. Using validation rules
      4m 0s
    7. Using flag fields
      2m 1s
    8. Using an index
      2m 4s
    9. Using a datasheet Totals row
      2m 0s
    10. Filtering by selection
      1m 26s
    11. Resizing columns and rows
      2m 7s
    12. Removing gridlines and shading from tables
      1m 29s
    13. Hiding and unhiding table fields
      1m 13s
    14. Freezing fields when scrolling
      59s
    15. Analyzing your table for redundant structure
      5m 50s
  9. 10m 53s
    1. Setting a starting AutoNumber
      3m 14s
    2. Creating a multi-field primary key
      4m 17s
    3. Using subdatasheets
      1m 27s
    4. Using relationship reports
      1m 55s
  10. 28m 32s
    1. Using wildcards
      5m 40s
    2. Using IN instead of OR
      1m 29s
    3. Hiding query fields
      54s
    4. Changing captions
      1m 31s
    5. Finding duplicate records
      2m 13s
    6. Moving records with append and delete queries
      4m 31s
    7. Using make-table queries
      2m 12s
    8. Creating an update query
      2m 55s
    9. Turning a query into a PivotTable
      2m 30s
    10. Turning a query into a PivotChart
      2m 6s
    11. Using SQL statements
      2m 31s
  11. 28m 48s
    1. Using the property sheet to work with controls
      2m 16s
    2. Creating option groups
      2m 43s
    3. Using a ComboBox to select a record
      2m 55s
    4. Creating tabbed form layouts
      4m 45s
    5. Inserting charts
      3m 42s
    6. Creating your own smart tags
      1m 24s
    7. Using the CanGrow and CanShrink properties
      1m 46s
    8. Hiding fields in printouts
      1m 26s
    9. Setting tab stops
      3m 41s
    10. Clipping, stretching, and zooming images
      1m 17s
    11. Viewing single or continuous forms
      1m 1s
    12. Changing a form's default view
      1m 52s
  12. 9m 7s
    1. Inserting page breaks in reports and forms
      2m 15s
    2. Creating headers and footers
      5m 49s
    3. Hiding duplicates in reports
      1m 3s
  13. 10m 17s
    1. Using themes to customize the look of the database
      4m 12s
    2. Using the Format Painter
      2m 25s
    3. Grouping controls on forms and reports
      1m 35s
    4. Setting default appearance for new databases
      2m 5s
  14. 17m 56s
    1. Using a Before Change macro to create a time stamp
      6m 51s
    2. Triggering a Before Delete warning message
      2m 49s
    3. Creating an After Update macro to email a customer
      2m 11s
    4. Creating a user interface macro
      4m 12s
    5. Using AutoExec macros
      1m 53s
  15. 2m 53s
    1. Saving templates
      2m 10s
    2. Locking files
      43s
  16. 44s
    1. Goodbye
      44s

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