Microsoft Access Report Properties

gkluk used Ask the Experts™
Dear All,

I have a few questions regarding Microsoft Access reports (I am using 2016, but the same issues exist in 2013).

i) let's say I have created a report using the report wizard and when prompted I selected stepped for its layout. I have created and saved it, but my boss doesn't like it and he wants to use outline instead; I could not find a way of changing the layout, it seems to be only possible only through the Report Wizard or do I need VBA (or is it just not possible)?
ii) I have created a report with groups and I want the report header to be with the first group and the report footer on the same page after the last group. I am using Force New Page equals none for the group header and after each session for the group footer. This does the trick for the header but not for the footer. is there any way this can be achieved?
iii) (form question) when someone selects Justified as the form layout, would anyone be able to tell me where is the default value for the form's width (there doesn't seem to be anything like for Access, would that be in the Registry)? Also, if you have Justified layout and you change the width of the textfields, it looks like Access is not picking up automatically the new dimensions, but you would have to close and redo the form - any idea why this is or am I doing something horribly wrong?

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Dale FyeOwner, Dev-Soln LLC
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Top Expert 2010


Lets start out with the simplest question, is this for a form, or a report, you seem to be using these terms interchangeably in the text of your first message.

Forms do not have a width property, but they do have an InsideWidth property which you can set (as long as you are not using tabbed forms).

me.insidewidth = 8.5 * 1440 'the InsideWidth property is in twips, so you take inches * 1440 to get twips.

Distinguished Expert 2017

i.)  The wizards are intended to give you the initial basic layout for a NEW form/report.  Then you customize it.  There is no way to run a wizard on an existing form/report.  So if you don't like Stepped, you have to run the wizard to create a new report in Outline format.  You just discard or overlay the original version.  OR, you can change the layout manually if your changes are minor.
ii.)  I don't use Report Headers and Footers unless there is something I really only want to appear on the first page.  Usually, I use Page Headers and Page footers so that I have consistency on each page.  You can make the height of the Report Header and Report Footer tall enough so they won't fit with other sections and that will force them to separate pages which is what I do.
iii.)  Access uses default layouts for forms and reports.  You can create your own custom versions.  They are named "Normal" and are hidden.  If you make your own, use File/Access Options/Form/Report Design View to specify YOUR names for the templates.  There is not much written about this so I'm not sure exactly what you can control.  I think it is limited to font color and size, distance between label and control, form backgrounds, etc.


@Dale Fye: It is only the last question that is about forms, the rest is all reports. I am trying to fine-tune the Access "Normal" template for default form dimensions so when I create them with a justified layout I would have a very good idea of what it would look like. I have read somewhere that there is an Access default width and I would expect to be able to find a database template just like Word, but could not find anything so maybe the value is in the Registry? I am just trying to find it, so I can amend it when needed. I guess when you talk about tabbed forms you should be able to do something like ciurrenttab.form.insidewidth=5*1440, no? I am with you in that you can set the insidewidth property (possibly in both properties and VBA?), what I am trying to find out is when I create a form in justified layout (or in any other), where would Access get the "default" insidewidth property from?

@patHartman: i) So the answer to my question is that you cannot change the report layout after having gone through the wizard, either through properties or VBA, and your only choice is to fire up the wizard again (as a fact, regardless of what might or might not be a good idea)?
ii) Agreed regarding practice, but the question still remains unanswered: I want to have the report header with the first group together and the report footer with the last group together on the same page without a page break. Is this doable using the page break or any other property or VBA?
iii) Very helpful information, many thanks for this but when you say Access is using default layouts where are this layouts saved? Where are their properties saved?
Distinguished Expert 2017

i.)   No, I didn't say that you couldn't change the form/report after the wizard builds it.  I said, You can't have the wizard change an existing form/report.  If you want to use the wizard, you have to start from scratch every time.  Once the wizard builds something for you, you can change it however you want to.  Noting is permanently connected to a wizard.  Same for a control.  You can use the wizard to build a combo.  Once the combo is built, it is no different from if you built it yourself by setting all the properties that the wizard set.

ii.)  As I said, I don't do it this way.  Probably because it is difficult to control spacing at the end of a report.  You will almost certainly need code in the report to space down following the last printed line so the Report footer can be separated.  Or, you might be able to accomplish some separation by having empty space at the top of the Report footer but this of course is inflexible and will not work in all cases.

iii.) as I said, they are named Normal but they are hidden objects.  You cannot view them and modify them directly although there are methods to change the default values.  You can open any form/report in design view and navigate the properties dialog so that no object is selected,  you will be able to change properties and they will be saved to the normal templates.

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