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A Tab control can be used to add extra space to your form or group similar or related objects together. A Tab control is a great way to organize your form, but it's not going to work very well on a printed report, since you'll only be able to see the first tab when it's printed and clicking on paper really doesn't work that well. Let's go ahead and open up our Controls form by right-clicking on it and selecting Design view. The Tab control is this button right here. We'll click on it once and we'll drag out a tab. I'm going to go ahead and draw a box that fills up most of the bottom of my form. Access adds in two tabs here. If I wanted to add additional tabs, I can right-click and say Insert Page; if I wanted to delete a tab, I can right- click and say Delete Page; and if I want to rearrange the tabs, I'd right-click and say Page Order.
Access will bring up a Page Order dialog box, in which case I can move up or down the tabs however I see fit, okay. So what can we do with a tab? Well tab essentially doubles or triples or quadruples the screen real estate we have on each form. For instance, if I click on Page4, it highlights the content area of that tab. Anything that I put in here won't appear when I click on Page5. We can have discrete and individual content for every tab. I'll click on the Page4 tab, and I'll go ahead and just add a label in here. I'll select the Label control from the toolbox and I'll move down into the tab.
Once I get over the tab area it turns black. This is Access's way of telling me that the next thing I'm about to do is going to go inside of this tab, not inside of the form. I'll click to add a label, and I'll just say, "This is page 4." Let's go ahead and click on the other tab. This time I'll just draw a line inside of it. I'll click on the Line control and I'll drag out a line. Okay, let's go ahead and take a look at this in Form view. I'll click on the Form View button here, and now I can see the tabs. I can switch back and forth between the first tab here and the second tab here, and I can see they've got different content in each one. Okay, let's go back into Design view. Now we can change the titles of these tabs. Page4 and Page5 really is not going to help me very much, so I'll click on the first one here, and in the Property Sheet, I'm going to change the caption for the tab.
The caption for this one is just going to be Text. Let's go ahead and change the caption for second one. This one I'm going to call Line. Now you can put any kind of content that you want inside of here. Later on we're going to take a look at subforms. You can put an entire form inside of this tab. You can put all kinds of content: buttons, selectors, hyperlinks, text boxes, and charts. Anything that you can put on your form you can put inside of a tab. Now there is another control in Access 2010 called the Navigation control. This is similar to a tab, but it only works with the forms inside of it. Let me take a look at one of these. I am going to go ahead and select these tabs and delete them.
We'll use the Navigation control here, the one with the pink bar at the top. I'll click and I'll drag out a Navigation control. Now the interface is a little bit unusual with the Navigation control. When I first put it in, it's selected, but nothing is showing up here in the Property Sheet. I'll click on the Add New here, I'll double-click on it, and I will change its name. For instance, I'll say Employee Directory and press Enter. When I press Enter, Access adds a little tab right here and moves over to the next one. I can add a second tab by double- clicking here and adding another name. I'm just going to call this Orders by Product and press Enter.
Now I have the opportunity to add a third tab and so on. Once I go back to the first one that I created, the Property Sheet is live now. I can go ahead and change what's connected to it. So for instance I can go to the Data tab. In the Navigation Target Name it automatic shows as Employee Directory because that's what I named the tab. If I wanted to change that, I can use this dropdown menu and choose different forms that are already present in my database here. The Orders by Product tab, again, it automatically selected it, because I changed the name to that up here in the tab. But you can make the name whatever you'd like and then change the target here to whatever form you want.
So let's take a look at this form in Form view. We'll click on the Form view button, and I can scroll down to see my employees directory. You change this tab here and look at the Orders by Product one. Now the Navigation controls, they're little bit hard to deal with. I honestly think the regular Tab control works much better than the Navigation tab control for this sort of object. The reason being is that the regular Tab control, you can put a form in it using a subform, like we'll see later on. So there is nothing really special about the Navigation control in these tabs. One other thing about the Navigation control: if you go to the Create tab or the Ribbon, under the Form section here, you get this whole navigation group.
If I click on here, you can see a whole bunch of different forms that are preset up with the Navigation control and the tabs in different arrangements. For instance, I can select Vertical Tabs Left and that will create a new blank form, ready for me to type in the values that I want in here. So for instance, I can do the same thing. I can double-click on the tab on the left and type in Employee Directory and press Enter. Then I can add the second tab here, and this time I'll type Product Selection and press Enter again. Now if I view this form in Form view, you can see how the tabs are working a little bit better. Employee here, Product there.
All it's doing is pulling in the content from these other forms and placing it inside of this navigation form. So that's a couple of ways that you can add tabs to add dimension and organization to your forms when screen space is at a premium. Later on when we take a look at subforms, we'll see how we can make a regular Tab object function almost exactly like this navigation form, and we'll have more control over it with that method.
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