Join Adam Wilbert for an in-depth discussion in this video Aligning controls, part of Access 2013: Forms and Reports in Depth.
- The snapping grid in the background of the Form Design View helps keep your elements aligned, but it can sometimes be difficult to get everything in exactly the right position. There are a couple of tools available on the Arrange tab that can help us out in that regard. Let's take a look by continuing to refine our Employee Directory form. I'll go ahead and switch its view to Design View. Then up here on the ribbon I'll flip over to the Arrange tab. Now, most of these options are gonna be grayed out and they have very specific use cases in which they'll be enabled. For now, let's go ahead and just focus over here on the far right side in the Sizing & Ordering section.
First, in the Size and Space menu, we have some options down here at the bottom to adjust our grid. We could turn the grid on or off by selecting that option here, if we don't wanna see those dots in the background. I could also turn off the Ruler as it appears on the top and left side of my screen. I can remove those if I don't wanna see those as well. I can also turn off the Snap to Grid option. Let me go ahead and turn these grids and rulers back on for a second. And you'll notice that as I drag an element around, it snaps to the grid positions. I can move it over three dots or I can move it back three dots, and it goes into the exact same position where we started.
If I go under Size and Space and turn off Snap to Grid, now it doesn't lock it to the grid anymore and I can move it in very small increments if I wanted to. And it's difficult to put it exactly right back where it started. Let's go ahead and turn that back on. Underneath the Size and Space menu, I also have options to adjust the Size or Spacing of multiple objects. So let's see how that works. First I'm gonna go over here and select this Building option. I'm gonna make it a little bit shorter for a second. Now, if I wanted to make all of these fields the same width as Building, what I could do is select all of them at the same time and then come over here to Size and Space and choose from these Size options.
We have the option to make everything the same height as the tallest object by selecting To Tallest or the same height as the shortest object by choosing To Shortest. In this case, I wanna make everything the same width by choosing To Narrowest. It'll make everything the same width as the Building field here. If I deselect it and then reselect it to make it wider again, I can select all of these and choose Size and Space To Widest to make them all the same width again. I can also go in here and choose from some Spacing options. For instance, I can increase or decrease the vertical space by choosing these options down here.
I can choose Increase Vertical and you'll notice that it increases the spacing between all of my elements and it makes everything nice and even. In addition to the Size and Space menu option here, I have one called Align. This'll help me align all of my objects together. Let's go ahead and take this Building label and move it over here to the right-hand side so that it's aligned a little bit more closely to the text box that it's associated with. Now, I wanna make the same change to all these other labels, Department, Status and HireDate. What I can do is just select all of these objects at the same time and choose over here from the Align menu to Right.
That'll make them all aligned against this right edge over here. Next, I'm gonna go over here to the Format tab and make the text inside of the text box right aligned as well. If I switch my view from the Home tab to the Form View, we can see that change here. Finally, if we have lots of elements on our page, we might need to pay attention to the stacking order of the elements. Let's go back into Design View here and I'm gonna select this Employee ID field. And on the Format tab I'm gonna make sure that it has a transparent background by going into Shape Fill and choosing Transparent. Next, I'm gonna move it on top of my photo.
Now let's go ahead and take a look at that change. I'll go into the Home tab and change my view here. Now you notice that my photo is on top of the text, but what I wanted is maybe to have the text laying on top of the photo. Let's go back into Design View. I'll go ahead and select that box here. I'll go into the Arrange tab and I'll choose Bring to Front. That'll move it to the front of the stacking order so that the photo draws below the text over here. Let's go back to the Home tab and change our view once again. Now we can see the Employee ID number is drawing on top of the photo. And I can scroll through to see that change.
Let's go back into Design View and move it back. If you're anything like me, you'll find yourself obsessing over the pixel-perfect placement of your form elements. When things are aligned perfectly, your forms and reports look cleaner, are easier to use and look more professional. Make sure that you're taking full advantage of the sizing, spacing and alignment tools on the Arrange tab to ensure that everything is exactly where it should be.
Then the course dives into reports: creating efficient and readable layouts, grouping data into categories, tying reports to queries, and using conditional formatting rules to highlight key takeaways from the data. Finally, Adam demonstrates how to link forms and reports together and print your results, and introduces unique ways to save time filling out paperwork and generating form letters.
- Creating forms with the Form Wizard
- Aligning form controls
- Adding buttons, links, and attachments to forms and reports
- Building database navigation elements
- Grouping and sorting data in reports
- Building reports from queries or wizards
- Calculating fields
- Linking forms and reports
- Printing and exporting reports