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- View Offline
- Designing for the end user
- Organizing form elements
- Formatting a form
- Adding headers
- Linking to external content
- Entering and selecting data
- Adding charts
- Creating a main menu
- Creating a customer form
- Understanding report structure
- Building reports from wizards and queries
- Printing reports
Skill Level Intermediate
A Splash Screen is a small window that displays when a program is loading. It stays on the screen for a few seconds and then it disappears. You've probably seen the Microsoft Access Splash Screen every time you start the program. Adding a Splash Screen to your database and setting some startup options is a great way to create an engaging startup sequence to your database. Now, whenever I can reuse content that I've already created, I'm going to go ahead and do that, because it's going to save me time. For instance, we've created those Main Menu in the last movie, if I double-click on it, I can open it. I want to create a Splash Screen now that reuses some of the similar content from the Main Menu.
Let me close the Main Menu and I'll right-click on it and say Copy. Then I'll come down here in my navigation pane, I'll right-click and say Paste. Access is going to ask me for a new name and I'm going to call this Splash Screen and say OK. Now, I've got a duplicate of my Main Menu that I can use to create my Splash Screen. I'll double click on it to open it and then I'll right click on the form here and say Design View. Now, for my Splash Screen I don't need any buttons. So, I'm going to highlight all three of these and then I will press Delete. I'm also going to change the image that's in the background. So, I'm going to select my form here between the two rulers.
On the Format tab I'm going to go to this Picture here and I am going to click the Build button. I'm going to go back to my Desktop in the Exercise Folder 4, and I'm going to choose OliveSplash500x125. Say OK. It adds the new image into the background. And when I change the picture alignment here, instead of Centre, I'm going to change it to Top Left. Then I'm going to go to adjust the height in my Detail section. So, click in the background back here, and the Height, I'm going to change to about 2 inches. Next, I'm going to use the two labels that I have for my Main Menu for my Splash Screen. So, I'm going to move those down.
We'll highlight both of them and I'll use the arrow keys to move them down. Next, I want to change the label of Main Menu here to Access Database. Some other things that you can add to a Splash Screen, you might consider adding a hyperlink to e-mail the database designer if there are any problems or other copyright information or versioning information. So, there's our basic Splash Screen. Let's go ahead and save it. I'll press Ctrl+S and close it out. Now, let's double click on it to open it and there's one thing else that I want to change here. Right now it's got a small around it. We can actually get rid of the border entirely in the properties.
So, I'll right click on it, go into Design View, in the Form properties here I'll scroll down to Border and I'll change it from Thin to None. Once again, we'll go to Form View to view it and that's looking much better. And right-click on it and close the object, and that's going to save the design and we'll say Yes. Now a Splash Screen ideally should open up when the project opens and then close automatically. We can choose the Close Automatically from the properties as well. One more time we'll go to our Splash Screen, I'll right-click on it in Design View. On the Event tab for the properties, if I scroll down, I'll find the On Timer event.
The On Timer event will automatically fire after a specified interval. Let's go ahead and build our On Timer event using the Build button. When I click the Build button Access asks me which building method I want to use. I can either use the Macro Builder, an Expression Builder or if I know Visual Basic code, I could use a Code Builder. I'm going to use a Macro Builder and say OK. Now, the first thing I want to do is close the Splash Screen. I'm going to say CloseWindow. I can leave the Object Type blank because it'll close the active object, which by design is going to be the Splash Screen. The next thing I want to do is open the Main Menu form. I'll say OpenForm.
I can specify what form I want to open using the drop-down menu, choose Main Menu. I can also specify what view I want to view it in and what window mode, but I can leave these defaults. We'll go ahead and close our Macro and we'll save our changes. Now, we need to specify the Timer Interval that will wait before applying this macro. The Timer Interval is entered in milliseconds. So, if I want to do 3 seconds, I would type in 3000. Go ahead and press Enter to finalize that value. We'll close our form, we'll save the changes and we'll double-click on it to see if it works. It pops-up for 3 seconds, disappears and the Main Menu appears.
So, the last thing we need to do is create a Splash Screen and have it open, right when Access opens. We'll close the Main Menu, we'll go to File, Options, we'll switch to the Current Database options and right here where it says Display Form and says none, I'm going to choose my Splash Screen. This is what will display as soon as the database opens. Now, I can change a couple of other properties while I'm here. For instance, I can change the Display Navigation Pane. I can turn that off and if I scroll down, Allow Full Menus, let's turn that off as well. Let's go ahead and say OK.
So, it's going to say I must close and reopen the current database for the specified option to take effect. Let's go ahead and say OK. And we'll Access and we will reopen it again to see what our changes look like. We'll close Access. I don't need to keep anything on the Clipboard, so that's fine. And I'll reopen my file. I'll double-click on 4-2 SplashScreen, there's my Splash Screen. 3 seconds later the Main Menu appears. You notice that I don't have my navigation pane anymore, and that it don't have most of the tabs on the ribbon, but I can still go to View Employee Directory and back, and I can Enter a Product Review or exit the database.
Now, I don't want this to look like this is securing the database in anyway. The navigation pane is still available using the shortcut key F11. If I deselect my Main Menu by clicking on the background and then pressing F11, the navigation pane appears. Also, if I press the Exit Database button here to go back to Windows and then hold down the Shift key while I double-click on my file, Access will actually bypass all of the startup options. So, the navigation pane is here, the tabs are here, and it doesn't automatically run my Splash Screen. So, hiding the navigation pane and minimizing the ribbon doesn't actually secure your database in anyway, it just keeps things out of sight and potentially out of mind.
So, a well thought out user interface is a really nice thing to have in your database and something your end users will appreciate. These little bits of polish, the details that you put into your database can take something that might otherwise just be a tool and make it something that people really actually enjoy using.
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