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Access 2010's conditional formatting has a new interface with the addition of data bars. Let's open up our Salaries Report. Conditional formatting can be used on all forms and reports so that you can color-code significant values. The new data bars give you a visual comparison as well. We are going to apply them to our Salary column. So, while you have a Formula Report open go to the Layout View and then in the Report Layout Tools go to the Format tab. Click in the field that you want and you'll notice that they'll all highlight.
Then I'll click on the Conditional Formatting button. Notably, the new dialog box lets you switch between your fields so you can apply conditional formatting all in one place instead of one field at a time. Let's create a rule. I'll click on New Rule. We are going to set the Salary so that if the field value is greater than or equal to 3000 we'll have it turn bold and green. And then I'll click OK. I'll add a second rule and this time I make it so that the field value is less than or equal to 1000.
We'll turn these bold and red and then I'll click OK. Now that I have these two, I'll click Apply and I can see how they look in the field. If the order of my rules matters, I can use the Move Up and Move Down arrows to reorder them. Now, let's make another new rule using the data bars. I'll click on New Rule. This time I'll choose Compare to other records. If I wanted to show just bars and not the actual numbers I can turn on Show Data Bar Only.
I am going to go ahead and leave it off so that it shows both the coloring and the actual values. Now these data bars are relative. You can set your shortest bar and your longest bar according to comparing their actual lowest and highest values or you can set the lowest and the highest to a specific number or to a percentage. We are going to leave them on lowest value. The last thing I am going to do is change the color so that it matches the rest of my database. I'll click OK and Apply.
It looks good so I'll OK to close the window. Now, when I am looking at my salaries, I can see who are my highest paid people and who are my lowest paid people at a glance. All in all the new conditional formatting dialog box and options make this useful tool even more of a pleasure to use.
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