The Date Picker is a safe method to always ensure valid dates to be entered without noisy error messages disturbing the user. However, for many scenarios like accounting and statistics, the Date Picker method is way to slow for the fast-typing user because of the many mouse-clicks needed.
Entering a date in a textbox is the fast method but, in case of a typo, navigating in the textbox is not optimal, and the user will meet an unfriendly error message. In many cases, applying an inputmask may help, but not for dates because the validation options are far too limited; you can still easily input day 31 for, say, June and an error message is popped..
To sort this out, code is needed. The inputmask adds the option that the code always will know where the user is typing, thus it can prevent and correct many typing errors. For example, if the first month digit is zero, the second month digit can be any digit except zero, but if the first is one, the second can be zero, though not higher than two. And the last day of February is 29 in leap years and not 28 as in common years. Does the user input 2014-02-29, the code will silently correct to 2014-02-28.
To have a textbox that just works for entering date takes several steps:
That may seem like a lot, but the outcome is a highly optimised control demonstrating the true power of an input mask.
The first and the last item are quite simple.
The input mask is, as no digit is optional (it is assumed that years must be larger then 1000):
and the format is:
This makes the textbox contain as default (where the slash will be replaced by your local date separator ):
These can be set when the form loads. Note, that a default date should be set to avoid an "all-zeroes" invalid date:
Option Compare Database Option Explicit Dim DefaultDate As Date Dim DefaultFormat As String Dim DefaultInputMask As String Private Sub Form_Load() Dim InitialDate As Date ' Set initial date. InitialDate = Date ' Format and length of DefaultFormat and ' first part of DefaultInputMask must match. DefaultFormat = "yyyy/mm/dd" DefaultInputMask = "0000/00/00;1;0" Me!Logon.Format = DefaultFormat Me!Logon.InputMask = DefaultInputMask Me!Logon.ShowDatePicker = False SetDefaultDate InitialDate End Sub
That's not much, but then comes the code behind for the control.
First, set a default date. This may be dynamic (controlled by other code), but here it is static for simplicity:
Private Sub Logon_Enter() With Me!Logon If IsNull(.Value) Then .Value = DefaultDate End If End With End Sub
Second, when clicking in the control, avoid ever having to select one of the separators (slash):
Private Sub Logon_Click() Dim SelStart As Integer With Me!Logon If .SelStart = 4 Or .SelStart = 7 Then ' Move the cursor off the separator (slash) ' to the first digit of months or days. .SelStart = .SelStart + 1 End If SelStart = .SelStart .SelStart = SelStart .SelLength = 1 End With End Sub
Now comes the fun part -- to try to be smart, helping the user by correcting invalid values while still allowing the normal key entries for navigating inside the control as well as away from the control:
Private Sub Logon_KeyPress(KeyAscii As Integer) Dim Text As String Dim Length As Integer Dim SelStart As Integer With Me!Logon Select Case KeyAscii Case vbKeyBack, vbKeyTab, Asc(vbLf), vbKeyReturn, vbKeyEscape, vbKeyF16 ' Allow navigation etc. with ' BackSpace, Tab, Ctrl+Enter, Enter, Escape, Ctrl+BackSpace Case Is > 0 Text = .Text Length = Len(Text) SelStart = .SelStart If KeyAscii < vbKey0 Or KeyAscii > vbKey9 Then ' Replace any invalid entry with a zero. KeyAscii = vbKey0 End If If SelStart < Length Then Select Case SelStart ' Year part. Case Is = 0 ' First digit of year. If KeyAscii = vbKey0 Then ' No year before 1000. KeyAscii = vbKey1 End If ' Month part. Case Is = 5 ' First digit of month. If KeyAscii > vbKey1 Then ' No month with tens beyond 1. KeyAscii = vbKey1 End If Case Is = 6 ' Second digit of month. Select Case Val(Mid(.Text, 6, 1)) Case Is = 0 ' Month is < 10. If KeyAscii = vbKey0 Then ' Month cannot be 00. KeyAscii = vbKey1 End If Case Is > 0 ' Month is 10+. If KeyAscii > vbKey2 Then ' No month beyond 12. KeyAscii = vbKey2 End If End Select ' Day part. Case Is = 8 ' First digit of day. Select Case Val(Mid(.Text, 6, 2)) Case Is = 2 ' Month is February. If KeyAscii > vbKey2 Then ' No day with tens beyond 2 for February. KeyAscii = vbKey2 End If Case Else If KeyAscii > vbKey3 Then ' No day with tens beyond 3. KeyAscii = vbKey3 End If End Select Case Is = 9 ' Second digit of day. Select Case Mid(.Text, 9, 1) Case Is = 3 ' Days of 30. Select Case Val(Mid(.Text, 6, 2)) Case 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12 If KeyAscii > vbKey1 Then ' No day beyond 31. KeyAscii = vbKey1 End If Case 4, 6, 9, 11 If KeyAscii > vbKey0 Then ' No day beyond 30. KeyAscii = vbKey0 End If End Select Case Is = 2 ' Days of 20. Select Case Val(Mid(.Text, 6, 2)) Case 2 If KeyAscii = vbKey9 Then ' Check for leap year. If Month(DateAdd("d", 1, DateSerial(Val(Mid(.Text, 1, 4)), 2, 28))) = 3 Then ' Not a leap year. KeyAscii = vbKey8 End If End If End Select Case Is = 0 ' Days of 00. If KeyAscii = vbKey0 Then ' No day of 00. KeyAscii = vbKey1 End If End Select End Select End If End Select End With End Sub
You will notice, that first the position where the user enters a digit is found, then what part (year, month, day) is current, and then what to correct. Please study the in-line comments for the subtle details.
The method is, that - from left to right - the user can enter whatever digit, but - as he/she proceeds - the input for the next digit is corrected if needed. For example, if February is entered, no day in the thirties can be entered, thus a 3 or higher is silently changed to a 2.
Not all validation can be done this way - for example, the user may click directly on a digit and delete it, leaving a zero which might add up to an invalid date expression. These situations are handled by the form:
Private Sub Form_Error(DataErr As Integer, Response As Integer) Dim ctl As Control Dim SelStart As Integer On Error Resume Next Set ctl = Screen.ActiveControl Select Case ctl.Name Case "Logon" SelStart = ctl.SelStart ' Clear deleted digits by resetting the input mask. ctl.InputMask = DefaultInputMask ctl.SelStart = SelStart ctl.SelLength = 1 Response = acDataErrContinue End Select Set ctl = Nothing End Sub
Note, that it will always leave some date value in the control.
When done, you may set a new default value:
Private Sub Logon_AfterUpdate() With Me!Logon If IsNull(.Value) Then ' Rem this line out to allow the textbox to be cleared. .Value = DefaultDate ElseIf .Value < DateSerial(9999, 12, 31) Then SetDefaultDate DateAdd("d", 1, .Value) Else SetDefaultDate .Value End If End With End Sub Private Sub SetDefaultDate(ThisDate As Date) DefaultDate = ThisDate Me!Logon.DefaultValue = Format(ThisDate, "\#yyyy\/mm\/dd\#") End Sub
Note the conversion of the date value as a formatted string expression, as DefaultValue is a string.
To test it for yourself, download and run the demo application. It is a simple form created in Access 2013 that should work as is for all versions of Access from 2007 to 2019/365. However, the code should be adoptable with minor changes for any version of Access.
The zip file also contains the Time Entry form from the previous and related article: Entering 24-hour time with input mask and full validation in Microsoft Access
You can also obtain the code from Github: VBA.DateEntry
I hope you found this article useful. You are encouraged to ask questions, report any bugs or make any other comments about it below.
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