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Creating an Add-to Combo Box

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This article describes two methods for creating a combo box that can be used to add new items to the row source -- one for simple lookup tables, and one for a more complex row source where the new item needs data for several fields.

Add-to Combo Boxes.mdb

Introduction

Combo boxes let you select an item from a row source (usually a lookup table), and (if Limit to List is set to False) to manually type in an entry.  However, if you type in a new item, it is not saved to the combo box's row source, so it won't be available in future when you select an item.  This article shows how to create add-to combo boxes that let users enter a new list item on-the-fly, and save the new entry to the row source so it will be available in future.

Creating a Simple Add-to Combo Box

If you have a combo box whose row source is a lookup table with a single field, or one data field and an AutoNumber ID field, you can implement an add-to combo box with just code on the combo box's NotInList event, with Limit to List set to True.  Note that I have added the standard data type prefixes to the event's arguments.  The control name and the four variable settings (strTable, strEntry, strFieldName and cbo) are the only parts that need modification for your database object names.

VBA Code

Private Sub cboCategoryID_NotInList(strNewData As String, intResponse As Integer)
'Set Limit to List to Yes
'Created by Helen Feddema 30-Mar-2017
'Last modified 30-Mar-2017
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler
   
    Dim intResult As Integer
    Dim strTitle As String
    Dim intMsgDialog As Integer
    Dim strMsg1 As String
    Dim strMsg2 As String
    Dim strMsg As String
    Dim cbo As Access.ComboBox
    Dim dbs As DAO.Database
    Dim rst As DAO.Recordset
    Dim strTable As String
    Dim strEntry As String
    Dim strFieldName As String
  
    'The name of the table that is the combo box's row source
    strTable = "tblCategoriesSimple"
  
    'The type of item to add to the table
    strEntry = "Category"
  
    'The field in the lookup table in which the new entry is stored
    strFieldName = "CategoryName"
  
    'The add-to combo box
    Set cbo = Me![cboCategoryID]

  'Display a message box asking whether the user wants to add
    'a new entry.
    strTitle = strEntry & " not in list"
    intMsgDialog = vbYesNo + vbExclamation + vbDefaultButton1
    strMsg1 = "Do you want to add "
    strMsg2 = " as a new " & strEntry & " entry?"
    strMsg = strMsg1 + strNewData + strMsg2
    intResult = MsgBox(strMsg, intMsgDialog, strTitle)
  If intResult = vbNo Then
        'Cancel adding the new entry to the lookup table.
        intResponse = acDataErrContinue
        cbo.Undo
        GoTo ErrorHandlerExit
    ElseIf intResult = vbYes Then
        'Add a new record to the lookup table.
        Set dbs = CurrentDb
        Set rst = dbs.OpenRecordset(strTable)
        rst.AddNew
        rst(strFieldName) = strNewData
        rst.Update
        rst.Close
   
        'Continue without displaying default error message.
        intResponse = acDataErrAdded
     End If
   
ErrorHandlerExit:
   Exit Sub
ErrorHandler:
   MsgBox "Error No: " & Err.Number _
      & " in " & Me.ActiveControl.Name & " procedure; " _
      & "Description: " & Err.Description
   Resume ErrorHandlerExit
End Sub

To test this code, open frmProductsSimple in the sample database (Add-to Combo Boxes.mdb). When you type in a new category name, you will get the message box shown below:


If you click Yes, the new category is added to the row source table, and the combo box's list is requeried. The new category is now in the lookup table, and is now available for selection on all records.

Creating an Add-to Combo Box with a Data Entry Form

If you want to add new entries to a table that has more than one or two fields, a different technique is needed: opening up a form that has all the fields needed to create a new record, with code on its buttons to either discard or save the new entry. As with the simple add-to combo box code, the control name and the four variable settings (strTable, strEntry, strFieldName and cbo) are the only parts that need modification for your database object names.

Private Sub cboCategoryID_NotInList(strNewData As String, intResponse As Integer)
'Created by Helen Feddema 30-Mar-2017
'Last modified 30-Mar-2017
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler
   
   Dim rst As DAO.Recordset
   Dim frm As Access.Form
   Dim strForm As String
   Dim strFilter As String
   Dim strTable As String
   Dim strEntry As String
   Dim cbo As Access.ComboBox
   Dim intMsgDialog As Integer
   Dim strMsg1 As String
   Dim strMsg2 As String
   Dim strMsg As String
   Dim strDescription As String
   Dim strFieldName As String
   Dim strTitle As String
   Dim intResult As Integer
      
   'The name of the table that is the combo box's row source
   strTable = "tblCategoriesComplex"
  
   'The name of the form
   strForm = "frmNewCategory"

   'The type of item to add to the table
   strEntry = "Category"
  
   'The field in the lookup table in which the new entry is stored
   strFieldName = "CategoryName"
  
   'The add-to combo box
   Set cbo = Me![cboCategoryID]
  
   'Display a message box asking whether the user wants to add
   'a new entry.
   strTitle = strEntry & " not in list"
   intMsgDialog = vbYesNo + vbExclamation + vbDefaultButton1
   strMsg1 = "Do you want to add "
   strMsg2 = " as a new " & strEntry & " entry?"
   strMsg = strMsg1 + strNewData + strMsg2
   intResult = MsgBox(strMsg, intMsgDialog, strTitle)
   If intResult = vbNo Then
      'Cancel adding the new entry to the lookup table.
      intResponse = acDataErrContinue
      cbo.Undo
      GoTo ErrorHandlerExit
   ElseIf intResult = vbYes Then
      'Add a new record to the lookup table.
      Set rst = CurrentDb.OpenRecordset(strTable)
      rst.AddNew
      rst.Fields(strFieldName) = strNewData
      rst.Update
      rst.Close
   
      cbo.Undo
      
      'Continue without displaying default error message
      intResponse = acDataErrContinue
   
      'Open form for adding new category
      DoCmd.OpenForm strForm
      Set frm = Forms(strForm)
      strFilter = "[" & strFieldName & "] = " & Chr$(39) _
         & strNewData & Chr$(39)
      Debug.Print "Filter string: " & strFilter
      frm.FilterOn = True
      frm.Filter = strFilter
   End If
   
ErrorHandlerExit:
   Exit Sub
ErrorHandler:
   MsgBox "Error No: " & Err.Number _
      & " in " & Me.ActiveControl.Name & " procedure; " _
      & "Description: " & Err.Description
   Resume ErrorHandlerExit
End Sub

To test this code, open frmProductsComplex and type a new entry into the Category combo box; this time, after clicking Yes on the message box, frmNewCategory opens, where you can fill in all the fields in tblCategoriesComplex, including selecting an image for the bound object control, and then click one of two buttons to either discard or save the new category, as shown below.

The code on the Discard and Save buttons is listed below:

Private Sub cmdDiscard_Click()
'Created by Helen Feddema 30-Mar-2017
'Last modified by Helen Feddema 30-Mar-2017
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler
   
   Set prj = Application.CurrentProject
   
   'Name of the form with the add-to combo box
   strCallingForm = "frmCategoriesComplex"
   
   DoCmd.SetWarnings False
   DoCmd.RunCommand acCmdDeleteRecord
   If prj.AllForms(strCallingForm).IsLoaded Then
      Forms(strCallingForm).Visible = True
   Else
      DoCmd.OpenForm strCallingForm
   End If
   
   Set frm = Forms(strCallingForm)
   
   'Name of add-to combo box
   Set cbo = frm![cboCategoryID]
   cbo.Value = Null
ErrorHandlerExit:
   DoCmd.Close acForm, Me.Name
   Exit Sub
ErrorHandler:
   If Err.Number = 2467 Then
      Resume ErrorHandlerExit
   Else
      MsgBox "Error No: " & Err.Number & "; Description: " & Err.Description
      Resume ErrorHandlerExit
   End If
   
End Sub
Private Sub cmdSave_Click()
'Created by Helen Feddema 30-Mar-2017
'Last modified 30-Mar-2017
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler
   
   Set prj = Application.CurrentProject
   
   'Name of the form with the add-to combo box
   strCallingForm = "frmProductsComplex"
   
   'The textbox control on this form that holds the key value
   Set txt = Me![txtCategoryID]
   
   If prj.AllForms(strCallingForm).IsLoaded = True Then
      Forms(strCallingForm).Visible = True
   Else
      DoCmd.OpenForm strCallingForm
   End If
      
   Set frm = Forms(strCallingForm)
   
   'Name of add-to combo box
   Set cbo = frm![cboCategoryID]
   cbo.Requery
   cbo.Value = Nz(txt.Value)
      
ErrorHandlerExit:
   DoCmd.Close acForm, Me.Name
   Exit Sub
ErrorHandler:
   If Err.Number = 2467 Then
      Resume ErrorHandlerExit
   Else
      MsgBox "Error No: " & Err.Number _
         & " in " & Me.ActiveControl.Name & " procedure; " _
         & "Description: " & Err.Description
      Resume ErrorHandlerExit
   End If
End Sub

If you click Yes, the new entry is selected in the combo box, and it can be selected in future for other records:

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