The Layout view of an Access form displays live data while allowing you to adjust the size and location of form elements. In this video tutorial, Adam Wilbert shows how to make use of the layout grid to precisely align and group related form objects together to make a form more logically organized and easier to use.
- [Narrator] The one click method of generating a form got us started by placing text boxes for all of our table fields into a single form that we called guest check-ins. Let's go ahead and open that up in form view. When it did its layout, it put everything into this single column here, and made the column for the data really, really wide. We can start to modify the way our form looks by switching our view into something called layout view. To do that, I'll come over here on the home tab, and in the view section I'll just click the top portion of the view button. That'll toggle us back and forth between form view, where we were working with data, and layout view, which is the view I'm in now.
Now you might not notice much of a change. We do have this dotted border around all of our elements, and you can see the different cells are lighting up when I click on them now. The biggest indicator that we're in our layout view right now, is that we have now three contextual tabs called form layout tools across the top. On the design tab of the form layout tools, we have another instance of the view button over here on the far left. We could also adjust our themes for color and fonts. We have a section here called controls, and these are all different things that we can add into our form. For instance additional labels or text boxes or buttons or images that are all kinds of things.
We have a section called header and footer where we can add those elements, and we can also open up a property sheet for our form, or add existing fields from other tables. On the arrange tab, is where we're gonna go to add columns and rows to our form, we can adjust our layout using those elements. We can merge or split cells in the form. We can move elements up or down, and we can control margins and padding and anchoring of our different elements on the form. And finally on the format tab is where we'll go to adjust fonts and colors for our different text elements. We can select different things here on the far left.
We can adjust number formatting. We can add a background image into the form, and we can control other formatting such as fills and outlines of our different objects. We're mostly gonna hang out over here in the arrange tab for this exercise. Now what I wanna do is arrange the elements on our form so it makes better use of our screen real estate. To do that, I'll start by inserting a couple of columns to our right. Let's go and click on the insert right button twice, and that'll give us two areas over here on the right where we can drop different things from our form. Then it's only a matter of clicking and dragging things into the new position.
I'm gonna click on the area that displays the last name for our guest, and I'm gonna click and drag and place it over here to the right of where the first name is appearing. Then, I'll click on the label called last name and I can simply delete it. I'll rename the first name label to just say name, it's gonna be pretty clear that this first box is the first name and this last box is the last name. Let's go double click on that, and I'll just rename it to just name. Next, I'm gonna reduce the width of the column here, of the different cells. To do that, you can click on any of the cells and then come over here to the right side of it and drag it in.
You notice that entire column reduces in width at the same time. I'll make this column a little bit wider. Then I'll start moving the fields that represent our address data over here towards the right. I'll essentially make this a little bit wider, I'm gonna select this box over here on the far right, and I'ma make this much wider. And let's actually add in another column to the left of it. I'll press the insert left button. Then I'll move my address information over here to the far right. Below that I'll put our state, then our postal code, and then finally the country.
I'll move the label that says address over here to the upper right. And I'll delete the ones that say country, state, and postal code. Finally I'm gonna move the phone number and the email address up, start with the email address right below the name, we'll grab the label and move that up as well. And then I'll move the phone number up below that. Next, I wanna give myself some more room for the sub data sheet, so I'm gonna go ahead and select it, it'll highlight yellow when I click in there, and I'm gonna shift + click these boxes over here to the right of it, and choose merge.
That'll allow it to take up all the space across the bottom of our screen. Finally, I'm gonna reduce the height of some of these areas. Let's go ahead and click on this box and reduce that row's height. We'll do the same thing for the rows below it. That'll just bring up our sub data sheet, higher on the screen. Then I wanna reduce the spacing between all of my elements. To do that, I'll press control + A to select everything on my screen. We'll come up here to control padding and I'll change it to narrow. That'll reduce the gap between our different cells. Finally, I'm gonna reduce the height of all these cells, so let's click on each row and go to the bottom, and drag it up just a little bit.
So I think that's looking pretty good, we could go through and fine tune things a little bit more if we'd like to. At any point in time you wanna check out the final results, switch over to the design tab and change your view back into form view, and it'll start populating with data. Now we can go through and page through a different record to make sure that works for different people. Different people with longer names you might not want it to get truncated off. So it's looking pretty good for all of our data, I actually might increase the height of that where there where it says Argentina right now so I'll switch back into layout view, and expand that open just a little bit more. So that's looking pretty good, I'll switch my view one more time, and then I'll press the save icon on the quick access toolbar to save my changes.
So now our form is a little bit more organized than what we started with. The layout view grid makes it easy to move your fields around quickly and keep them locked into place and perfectly aligned, so that everything is looking neat and clean.
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