Personalizing your Access Database with a Switchboard

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1 Personalizing your Access Database with a Switchboard This document provides basic techniques for creating a switchboard in Microsoft Access. A switchboard provides database users with a customized way to interact with the database. Overview of Switchboards A switchboard is basically a menu, which provides database users with a starting place. It allows us to tie database objects (tables, queries, forms, reports, and macros) together with a user-friendly interface, thus providing database users with a personalized interface rather than the Access interface. Switchboards are also used as a way to protect database objects. By providing users with an easy-to-use interface, there may not be a need for them to browse through the database objects where they may inadvertently tamper with the data. Fundamentally, a switchboard is a form that contains customized command buttons. The buttons initiate actions, like opening a form or printing a report. Creating Macros for the Switchboard The switchboard manager includes built-in commands for common tasks, such as opening a form or report. Macros can be created to initiate additional actions. These macros will then be tied to buttons on the switchboard. To create a macro, 1. On the Create tab, in the Macros & Code group, click Macro. 2. The Macro Builder is displayed. Information Technology Services, UIS 1

2 3. Add an action to the macro. a. Click the Add New Action drop down tab. b. Type the desired action or click the arrow to select from the list of available actions. c. After selecting an action, users must specify arguments for the action, if any are required. For example, let s create a macro that automatically opens the Top Ten Orders by Sales Amount query. d. Optionally, type a comment for the action by selecting Comment under Program Flow. 4. To add more actions to the macro, repeat step Keep in mind that when you run the macro, Access carries out the actions in the order in which you list them. 6. When finished, under the File tab, click the Save button. Information Technology Services, UIS 2

3 a. Enter a name for the macro and click OK. Creating a Switchboard A switchboard can be created by scratch using an unbound form. However, Access provides a Switchboard Manager which automatically builds the code to make buttons work. The Switchboard Manager also makes it easy to add new buttons, rearrange buttons, and delete buttons. 1. From the Database Tools tab, click Switchboard Manager. Note: If you cannot find the Switchboard Manager icon, under the Home tab, choose Options, and customize your ribbon by adding Switchboard Manager. 2. Click Edit to make changes to the main switchboard. Click New to create a new switchboard. Multiple switchboards can be created, and then linked together through buttons, thus creating a system of layered menus. Information Technology Services, UIS 3

4 3. Click the New button to add items to the switchboard. 4. Customize the item by entering the name of the button, selecting the appropriate command, and then selecting the desired outcome of the command. Click OK when finished. a. Note that there are several built-in commands for common tasks. 5. Repeat these steps for each item on the switchboard. Click Close when finished adding items. Note that you can also re-arrange buttons on this screen by using the Move Up and Move Down buttons. Information Technology Services, UIS 4

5 6. Click Close to close the Switchboard Manager. 7. The Switchboard Manager automatically creates a Switchboard Items table. Display the Switchboard upon Start To make the switchboard automatically appear each time the database is opened, 1. Click the File tab and choose Options. Information Technology Services, UIS 5

6 2. From the Current Database tab on the left, select Switchboard from the Display Form dropdown list. Click OK when finished. 3. When the database is opened, this is what users will see: Customizing the Look of the Switchboard Switchboards are actually forms, and as such, we can use form design tools to customize the look. 1. Open the switchboard from the Navigation Pane. Information Technology Services, UIS 6

7 2. Switch to Design View. 3. You are now able to format and customize the switchboard to meet your needs. a. Use the features in the Controls group on the Design tab to add images, text boxes, draw lines, etc. b. The tools available on the Arrange tab are especially helpful for arranging controls with a precise look, for example, evenly spacing controls. Information Technology Services, UIS 7

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