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Access 2010 - Problem with Switchboard Manager (Form Opens but Doesn't Show Items)

Posted on 2012-04-01
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Last Modified: 2012-04-07
GENERAL.  I upgraded to Access 2010 a few weeks ago and am trying (unsuccessfully so far) to create a switchboard menu system, i.e., a ‘main switchboard’ with several secondary switchboards.  This is my first use of the Switchboard Manager in Access 2010, although I have created many others in Access 2003 and earlier versions. The database I’m working with right now is named Weblog Analysis Mar-Apr 2012 -3-28 1pm.  The extension is accdb (all my previous work has been with mdb files.)  

BACKGROUND: --- Using the Switchboard Manager, I created a Main Switchboard and added two secondary switchboards to the Switchboard Pages dialog box.  On each of the secondary pages, I added one item so far: Return to Main Menu.

PROBLEM: When I open the Main Switchboard from the Navigation Pane (‘Forms’ section), it opens OK but does not display any ‘switchboard items.’  It’s just a blank ‘shell’ with a main title.  

WHAT I’VE DONE AND SEEN SO FAR.  I can see the switchboard OK in all views, and I can see its ‘Properties” OK in design view, etc.  I can also see all the proper records in the table “Switchboard Items” and they ‘look’ OK (see attachment).  To the best of my knowledge, except for the invisible items, everything ‘looks’ OK, but then I’m not a programmer and may be missing something.  I also tried tinkering with some of the properties, i.e., Data Source, Filtering, Locks, etc. but nothing in the display changed.  Thinking my copy of Access might be corrupted somehow, I reinstalled the program and nothing changed.  I also deleted the switchboard I had created and recreated it from scratch using the Switchboard Manager and got the same results.  I have also checked to be sure I have “exclusive access” (the default).  

DATA SOURCE IN 'PROPERTIES':  SELECT * FROM [Switchboard Items] WHERE [ItemNumber]>0 And [SwitchboardID]=TempVars!SwitchboardID ORDER BY [ItemNumber];

Any thoughts or suggestion will be greatly appreciated.    Wally Tee.
Switchboard-Items-Table---TEST.xls
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Question by:WallyTee
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11 Comments
 
LVL 31

Assisted Solution

by:Helen Feddema
Helen Feddema earned 200 total points
ID: 37793361
I would suggest abandoning the antique Switchboard Manager, and doing your own main menu with combo boxes for selecting forms or reports, and other useful features.  The New Style Main Menu is featured in my latest Access Archon article (#212).  Here is a link for downloading it:

http://www.helenfeddema.com/Files/accarch212.zip

and here is a screen shot of the main menu:
New Style Main Menu
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 37793365
If you are running Access 2007 or 2010, you will get an extra option in the Report Mode option group:  PDF.
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Author Comment

by:WallyTee
ID: 37793541
Hi Helen ---  thank you so much.  I'll definitely look into it.   WallyTee
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Author Comment

by:WallyTee
ID: 37793603
Hi again Helen --- Your approach looks really good.   Question ---- Using the new approach, how would I create the equivalent of a two-level hierarchical menu form, i.e., a "Main Menu") with several secondary menus?  

Here's a simple hypothetical example of my question.  Assume that the objective is to be able to display two hundred queries -- one at time when needed.  This is too many to 'link' from control/command buttons on one form.  However, the queries lend themselves to grouping into logical sets, e.g., ten.  Ten buttons (or other type of linking control ???) could easily fit on one form and would not 'overwhelm' the user.  Is this a feasible concept?  Could each of the ten buttons on the Main Menu form lead to other forms (secondary menus) that would contain the actual  links to the queries themselves?  If so, how would I set this up?    

FYI, my skill level with Access is somewhere between novice and intermediate, and I am not a programmer.  I am just now beginning to study SQL and VBA but know very little.

Thanks again for your help.    WallyTee
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LVL 74

Assisted Solution

by:Jeffrey Coachman
Jeffrey Coachman earned 200 total points
ID: 37796226
<I can see the switchboard OK in all views, and I can see its ‘Properties” OK in design view, etc.>
...Lets back up...
In Access 2010 format databases there is no "Switchboard",...Only the new "Navigation" forms.
If the DB is in 2003 *Format*, you will have a "Switchboard" option available.
So let's be clear, ...do you have a Navigation form or a switchboard?
(In other words, how did you create this menuing system?)


<I also tried tinkering with some of the properties, i.e., Data Source, Filtering, Locks, etc. but nothing in the display changed.>
...Please DO NOT attempt to modify any properties, settings, code ect... for the switchboard/navigation form.
ONLY modify the switchboard/navigation form through the interface provided.

Or better yet, DON'T use the switchboard at all...
Build your own menu system and avoid this entire issue in the first place.

<how would I create the equivalent of a two-level hierarchical menu form, i.e., a "Main Menu") with several secondary menus?  >
Just make all the forms you feel you need, then drop buttons on the "Main form" to open any of the "lower level" forms.
There are button wizards that will do this all for you...
Again this is all straight forward functionality provide by the button wizard...
Very simple stuff, you just need to invest a little time in creating forms and button to open other forms...

Or going further, don't bother with the button wizards either.
They may use the MS Access "Macro" language, which is limiting when your needs become more complex.
For example, using VBA code you would simply drop a button on your main form
(when the button wizard opens, simply cancel out of it.)
Then right click the button and select: Build Event.
Select "Code Builder"
Then insert code like this to open another form...
    DoCmd.OpenForm "YourLowerlevelFormName"
That's it...
Why muck around with switchboards or navigation forms...?


<Here's a simple hypothetical example of my question.  Assume that the objective is to be able to display two hundred queries -- one at time when needed.  This is too many to 'link' from control/command buttons on one form.  However, the queries lend themselves to grouping into logical sets, e.g., ten.  Ten buttons (or other type of linking control ???) could easily fit on one form and would not 'overwhelm' the user.  Is this a feasible concept?  Could each of the ten buttons on the Main Menu form lead to other forms (secondary menus) that would contain the actual  links to the queries themselves?  If so, how would I set this up?>

?
Sounds awfully confusing and complex...
Not sure I even understand what you are requesting here...?
Why would you need to run 200 queries one at a time?

<the queries lend themselves to grouping into logical sets, e.g., ten. >
?
What does this mean?

Perhaps a different approach would eliminate the need for a nested menuing system...

<FYI, my skill level with Access is somewhere between novice and intermediate, and I am not a programmer. >
Then your question should be:
    "Did I design this correctly t get what I want...?"

So, as always it is best to state what you have so far, then explain what your ultimate goal is. (Not just to tell us how you want to do it)

JeffCoachman
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Accepted Solution

by:
WallyTee earned 0 total points
ID: 37796382
Hi Jeff --- Many thanks.  As usual, your comments, suggestions and guidance are very helpful.  Sorry my discussion/question wasn't clear. It was only intended as a hypothetical situation, although I do run into this requirement occasionally, i.e., the need to make large numbers of queries available to users in some sort of categorized system (e.g., one category = 5 to 10 queries).  I've been using the Switchboard Manager for six or seven years to create two-level menu systems to accomplish this and, for me (with my limited skills), the 'SM' method was always easy and worked well, so I had not even given any thought to other ways to accomplish the same thing.  Now, though, having read your and Helen's responses, I'm definitely going to use your (and her) suggested approach. I don't really know VBA, but I'm going to start learning, and I can certainly copy and paste the code you sent me. (BTW, I've used some of your code snippets before and they work like a champ.)  I'm confident I know what to do now.    Thanks again.  WallyTee
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Coachman
ID: 37797158
Still confused about the need for such a system though...

Good Luck then...
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Author Comment

by:WallyTee
ID: 37798730
Hi Jeff --- You said, "Still confused about the need for such a system though..."  

Answer:  It's a bit of a long, complicated story.  I'll try to clarify with one example, and I'll try to keep it brief. Note first that the DB in the example (as explained below) is a marketing- and sales-support tool.  

BACKGROUND.  The company I work for develops and markets five software products, each of which has numerous functional and technical features.  Some of these features are employed by all five products, and others are included in one, two, three or four of the products.  Each feature has multiple 'advantages' and 'benefits, and each feature aligns (responds to) one or more of our typical prospects' requirements.  Each feature also appeals to one or both of two types of 'audiences' that we deal with, i.e., (a) IT staff and (b) end users of the products, i.e., business managers and HR staff.  In addition, we rank each feature in terms of 'importance' to our prospects and customers --- as we see it.  Put another way, in terms of marketing, each feature has (a) 'requirements' that it addresses, (b) different 'audiences, (c) different product applicability, (d) different advantages and benefits and (e) different 'importance rankings.'  As you can see, the number of combinations and permutations is almost infinite.  

PURPOSE OF THE DATABASE.   The purpose of the DB is to enable marketing, sales and management personnel to quickly extract and view subsets of this large, complex volume of information. The data is stored in seven inter-related tables that are 'joined' via  key fields, viz, [features] and [requirements].  The DB users use the data to (1) answer prospects' and customers' questions (some in real time) and (2) to aid them in writing data sheets.  They also use the info as reference material (and for standardized terminology) when they are writing Web site content and other marketing collateral.  (I sometimes think of the DB as a computerized catalog and FAQ).  

The DB users reach the 'subsets' of information via a two-level, hierarchical (parent-child) menu system.  The second-level menu items lead to the dozens of queries that 'answer' a wide variety of highly specific 'questions.'  The items (buttons) in the menu system constitute different groups (categories) of queries that help the DB users drill down to the detailed info they need at the moment.  The groups are analogous to sub-systems of a major system, and the queries are analogous to 'modules' within the sub-systems.

The complexity that you referred to is driven by the large number and wide variety of queries needed to quickly provide the info in an organized, coherent and structured manner.

I hope this makes sense.  If you see any way to improve or simplify our approach, please let me know.   Again, many thanks for all your help and advice.  WallyTee
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Coachman
ID: 37799040
Thanks for taking the time to provide the extra info...

;-)

jeff
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Author Comment

by:WallyTee
ID: 37800344
Note from WallyTee.  I mistakenly accepted my own comment.  From my perspective, you can close this question, with thanks again to Jeff and Helen.
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Author Closing Comment

by:WallyTee
ID: 37818653
Thanks again to Helen and Jeff.
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