As you may have already understood, one of my roles within this niche includes IT software training. When teaching Microsoft Access forms (usually during day 2), delegates would normally be presented with the fastest method of creating such forms, which means using either the Access form templates or the built-in wizard.
This of course means that most (if not all) shapes are ‘be bound to“forms, or in other words, have a data source file attached, be it a table or a query.
In fact, when I train this area of MS Access, I normally categorize into four types of uses for such an object; these are:
1. Data entry form – Forms that provide users with an easy-to-use interface for adding, editing and deleting records.
2. Screen Requests (read-only) – Forms that allow users to view as read only screens that limit functionality and filter only for certain records.
3. Dialog box – Forms that act as a communication portal between users and the system that communicates data and values for interaction with Access.
4. Menu screen (switchboard) – Forms that allow users to navigate the database system without ever knowing or accessing the background design.
To quickly put the above four types into perspective, one can associate which method can be set as’be bound to‘or’unbound‘for each. The first two items are bound; the first to normally a table and the second to a query.
The third type of use (Dialog) is normally an unbound form, as by definition this form does not require archiving of the data values. The last item would be bound to a table if it was generated via the Switchboard Manager tool or unbound if it was generated by the ‘Modal dialoguetemplate or built manually.
So what are the pros and cons of using Microsoft Access forms?
Work with ‘Be bound toForms means that it is much easier and faster to create forms that are linked to records from tables or queries, which saves development time.
However, each time the cursor (that is, when scrolling) moves between records, you automatically trigger the record saving action while preserving data integrity. What if you want to prevent this and have better control? Well, you can’t with this type of object relationship.
In fact, trying to cancel a record is not always obvious or easy to use, since the ESC (escape) key has a two-way response; the first of the field where your cursor is active and the second of the entire record. Yes, you can undo record changes, but they should not be relied on.
It does provide automatic relationship links between your tables, provided you are using primary keys and other linked fields between tables correctly without the need to mediate manually.
With basic shapes you will see simple elements such as the navigation bar with a record number and counter, the ability to find and search for records (using the built-in tools) and easily invoke the edit and delete actions.
Aesthetically speaking, the overall appearance of the form designs using the standard wizard tool or templates from earlier versions is poor – even the templates from later versions are not brilliant!
‘UseUnboundAccess forms change the dynamics of how you use and manage records through a form. The obvious point is that the form loads by default with no data attached to it, which improves overall performance, especially if you had a pretty busy looking form with a lot of controls.
How to connect to associate data with your form would normally mean using Access VBA code (with reference to DAO or ADO – another time!) That allows users to control when to edit, update changes to records , delete and save.
You will notice a slow loading ‘be bound to‘form for larger amounts of data sets, which is an overhead that can be easily avoided if the untied approach is followed. The coding for this type of form is not too exhaustive, but requires some basic knowledge that is taught to the more advanced delegate (normally day 4 or 5).
Personal with untied Access to database forms is a more professional and polished approach because it mimics the way of a ‘trueThe database system must be managed and give you full control and maintain data integrity.
You can, of course, have a mix of bound and unbound shapes if you add one or two subforms, but this will probably still require some coding to automate and connect any relationships between forms (if necessary).
Also about be bound to‘form can contain a mix of controls of bound (to a field) and unbound (no data values) items to provide a smoother interface that would otherwise be too clunky by design to stick with one type.
The number of controls of the main form in combination with a large number of available records lends well Microsoft Access forms be unbound.