Get More From Your List Boxes

Dave Gannon provides three neat tricks that you can use on your next form– provided you’’re familiar with the properties of the Access list box.

I like list boxes and find them tremendously useful. In this article, I’’ll show you three tricks that I’ve recently used with list boxes. All three of them demonstrate some of the ways that you can use the properties that are unique to the list box control. These only work in Access –while Visual Basic has a list box control, it lacks some of the properties that I’ll be demonstrating in this piece. Continue reading

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From Zoom Box to Custom Dialog

Mike Toole describes an alternative to the Zoom box that not only looks and works better but avoids the Zoom box’s spurious updates. His design can be used for creating any sophisticated custom dialog.

You never have enough screen space. As a result, you often are forced to set TextBoxes to their minimum size–only the amount of space required for a “typical” entry. However, when an unusually large entry does appear, your TextBox doesn’t display all of the data and users find it difficult to see their information. On the other hand, making a TextBox big enough to display its largest entry doesn’t seem like a reasonable solution because most of the time that extra space will never be used. Continue reading

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Dynamic Checklists

Users like to see the big picture, and often that includes items they’ve selected as well as what they haven’t selected. Check boxes are interface widgets that meet these needs, but they can be cumbersome to maintain. Chris Weber shows us his technique for creating dynamically generated check box lists that don’t require intervention by the developer when the possible selections change.

One of the downfalls of using check boxes and option groups is that the user interface needs to be updated (read “redone”) whenever the choices change. For example, check boxes used for a distribution list of departments that receive a memo would have to be updated whenever a department was added, deleted, or renamed. So, when I see an interface that uses option groups or check boxes, I see work down the road. The options invariably expand or the selections change. I’m grateful for the work, but I also take pride in the solutions I provide. I don’t think the way to ensure my future employment is to create non-scalable interfaces that need reworking when my client’s business changes. Continue reading

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Drilling with Combo Boxes

Jeff provides a comprehensive look at how you can use your combo boxes for more than just selecting values.

At the end of 1998, there were two articles in Smart Access about using combo boxes in Access to select the record to be displayed in a form. These articles were triggered by the Access Bookmark Bug, to which the code generated by Access 97’s Combo Box Wizard fell prey (see “An Access Nightmare” by Andy Baron, November-1998, and “Cloning Solutions” by Garry Robinson, December-1998). Garry’s techniques (and the various upgrades and patches also listed in Smart Access) handle the bug, but there are still some problems with using a combo box to select records. In this article, I’m going to demonstrate those problems, look at solutions, and then show you how to use combo boxes to create a powerful and intuitive “drill-down” user interface for displaying a hierarchical data structure. Continue reading

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Drag and Drop in Access

Doug Steele shows you how to add drag-and-drop to your Access application using combinations of multi-value and single-value controls.

The ability to drag and drop is easy to implement in Visual Basic, but the Access form model is different, so it’s not nearly as easy to implement it in Access. However, it’s possible to do, although you need to control it all manually. In Figure 1, I show you drag and drop of multiple items in a List box to a Text box.

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