Microsoft Access 2003 Tutorial for Creating Forms

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A database form allows users to enter, update or delete data in a database. Users can also use forms to enter custom information, perform tasks and navigate the system.

In Microsoft Access 2003, forms provide a simple way to modify and insert records into databases. They offer an intuitive, graphical environment that is easily navigated by anyone familiar with standard computer techniques.

The goal of this tutorial is to create a simple form that allows data entry operators in a company to easily add new customers to a sales database.

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Install the Northwind Sample Database

 This tutorial uses the Northwind sample database. If you haven't already installed it, do so now. It ships with Access 2003.

  1. Open Microsoft Access 2003.
  2. Go to the Help menu and select Sample Databases.
  3. Choose Northwind Sample Database.
  4. Follow the steps in the dialog box to install Northwind.
  5. Insert the Office CD if the installation requests it.

If you have already installed it, go to the Help menu, choose Sample Databases and Northwind Sample Databases.

Note: This tutorial is for Access 2003. If you are using a later version of Microsoft Access, read our tutorial on creating forms in Access 2007, Access 2010 or Access 2013.

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Click the Forms Tab Under Objects

Click the Forms tab under Objects to bring up a list of the form objects currently stored in the database. Notice that there are a large number of pre-defined forms in this sample database. After you complete this tutorial, you might want to return to this screen and explore some of the advanced features included in these forms.

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Create a New Form

Click on the New icon to create a new form.

You are presented with different methods you can use to create a form.

  • The AutoForm options quickly create a form based upon a table or query.
  • Design View allows for the creation and formatting of elaborate forms using Access' form editing interface.
  • The Chart Wizard and PivotTable Wizard create forms revolving around those two Microsoft formats.

In this tutorial, we'll use the Form Wizard to walk through the process step by step.

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Select the Data Source

Select the data source. You can choose from any of the queries and tables in the database. The scenario established for this tutorial is to create a form to facilitate the addition of customers to a database. In order to accomplish this, select the Customers table from the pull-down menu and click OK.

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Select the Form Fields

On the next screen that opens, select the table or query fields you want to appear on the form. To add fields one at a time, either double-click the field name or single-click the field name and single click the > button. To add all the fields at once, click the >> button. The < and << buttons work in a similar manner to remove fields from the form.

For this tutorial, add all the table's fields to the form using the >> button. Click Next.

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Select the Form Layout

Choose a form layout. Options are:

  • Columnar
  • Tabular
  • Datasheet
  • Justified 

For this tutorial, choose the justified form layout to produce an organized form with a clean layout. You may want to come back to this step later and explore the various layouts available. Click Next.

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Select the Form Style

Microsoft Access includes a number of built-in styles to give your forms an attractive appearance. Click on each of the style names to see a preview of your form and choose the one you find most appealing. Click Next.

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Title the Form

When you title the form, select something easily recognizable—this is how the form will appear in the database menu.  Call this example form "Customers." Select the next action and click Finish

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Open the Form and Make Changes

At this point, you have two options:

  • Open the form as a user will see it and begin viewing, modifying and entering new data 
  • Open the form in design view to making modifications to the form's appearance and properties

For this tutorial, select Design View from the ​File menu to explore some of the options available. In Design View, you can:​

  • Enlarge the Form by clicking on the Form Footer panel and dragging it down to make it taller or clicking on the edge of the form and dragging it across to make it wider.
  • Add a Field by selecting Field List in the View menu to see a Field List panel. Click and drag a field from the panel onto the form to add it to the form.
  • Rearrange the Fields by clicking on the edge of the field and holding down the mouse. Move the field to the new location and release the mouse.
  • Edit Properties by clicking the Properties icon to bring up a menu of user-definable attributes that apply to the form. Edit the properties as necessary. For example, because the original goal of this tutorial was to create a form for data entry purposes, you probably don't want to grant data entry employees full access to view or edit customer records. 
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Your Citation
Chapple, Mike. "Microsoft Access 2003 Tutorial for Creating Forms." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Chapple, Mike. (2020, August 28). Microsoft Access 2003 Tutorial for Creating Forms. Retrieved from Chapple, Mike. "Microsoft Access 2003 Tutorial for Creating Forms." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 28, 2021).