Issue with Microsoft Access .FindFirst and Empty Strings

I am trying to use the VBA .FindFirst method in Microsoft Access 2010. In the code shown below, the first "findVendor" line finds a match. The second, commented out line, does not find a match.
     In my table, both FirstNm and MidNm are null. I've converted the values to empty strings in strFirstNm and strMidNm. What could be different about the fields such that one returns a match and the other doesn't? Ideally, I'd like to check for all 3 names in one query, but for now am just trying to get MidNm to match correctly.
     Is there something I'm missing about using an equality check for empty strings? is there a better way to do this?
     I do have a unique ID, but in this case I can't check for it because I don't know it at the time this code is running.
     Thanks for any suggestions!

Set rsVendor = CurrentDb.OpenRecordset("tblVendor", dbOpenDynaset)
findVendor = "[LastNm] = '" & strLastNm & "' And [FirstNm] = '" & strFirstNm & "'" 'findVendor = "[LastNm] = '" & strLastNm & "' And [MidNm] = '" & strMidNm & "'"
With rsVendor
       .FindFirst (findVendor)
        If .NoMatch Then
                     ….Do Stuff
        End If
End With
Who is Participating?

Improve company productivity with a Business Account.Sign Up

Dale FyeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Because you may actually have a blank value in the field.  You cannot actually achieve this by typing a blank in a field, but if you write an action query (Insert or Append) query you can actually write a zero length string to a field.

See the query in the attached file.  In the first query (qry_Name), I tested for IsNull and [LastNm] = "".  You will see that the last name is NULL in record 2, but a ZLS (zero length string) in #3

"Right now I don't seem to be able to use the middle name (if it's blank). "

Actually, if it is blank (zero length string), then it should work, but FindFirst is not going to work with a NULL in that field.
Dale FyeCommented:
A lot of people don't have middle names, and that field should be either NULL, or if you are certain that they have no middle name, then many systems use "NMN" to represent "No Middle Name".

Instead of setting rsVendor to reference the table, create a query (qryVendor) that converts [MidNm] using: NZ([MidNm], "NMN")

Then, in your find first, use something like:

'findVendor = "[LastNm] = '" & strLastNm & "' And [MidNm] = '" & NZ(strMidNm, "NMN") & "'"
Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
Keep it simple,
... does it work just for the First and Last name?
(I prefer the more segmented syntax)
    findVendor="[LastNm] =" & "'" & strLastNm & "'" & " And " & "[FirstNm] =" & "'" & strFirstNm & "'"

If not, then why bother adding them all into a bigger expression...
Make sense?

Perhaps another Expert can spot what I may be missing though

But again, I get something that works first, then build up from there.
This way you know exactly where the problem is...

What Kind of Coding Program is Right for You?

There are many ways to learn to code these days. From coding bootcamps like Flatiron School to online courses to totally free beginner resources. The best way to learn to code depends on many factors, but the most important one is you. See what course is best for you.

Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:

 Ignore my posts above  I thought that was one long expression
Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
I am sure fyed can get you sorted...
List few input records.
oneDayAtaTimeAuthor Commented:
     In the example I'm using (that's failing), the First Name and Middle Name are both null. I convert them to empty strings using the Nz function before I get to the .FindFirst. I did this because I know that nothing equals null, so I thought an empty string would be better.
     I'd rather not use a dummy value for middle name, because I grab these fields later and print them on a form as the person's name. If middle (or first) is blank, it doesn't print.
    I guess I'm just trying to figure out the difference - why a blank First Name works fine and finds a match, but a blank Middle Name does not. For example, say I have vendors named Smith (no first or last name), John Smith, and John H Smith. I want them all to resolve properly. Right now I don't seem to be able to use the middle name (if it's blank).
oneDayAtaTimeAuthor Commented:
Thanks, fyed! That was it! I was so focused on my syntax that I neglected to think about the logic underneath! Sigh....
     I performed an update query to make all the possible blanks in First Name/Middle Name into empty strings. Now I can use .FindFirst and it works regardless.
     Thanks for the advice and for the troubleshooting tip! Next time I have issues, I will know to check the fields to see exactly what I have.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.