Designing Navigation Forms

Try it!

NB: The information provided on this page only relates to Access desktop databases. Reports are not supported by Access web apps.

  1. Open the desktop database where you wish to include a navigation form.
  1. Within the Create tab, in the Forms option, press Navigation. Next, choose the format of navigation form that you desire.

Add a form or report to the navigation form

  1. Drag the form or report from the Navigation pane to the Add New tab.
    Access automatically creates the form/report in the new Navigation Form.
  1. Repeat this for any additional forms/reports you need to include too.
  1. Click Save.
  1. Confirm the form’s name, and click OK.
    The form is now saved, and the form name displays on the tab directly at the top of the form.

Change the label on a navigation form

When you make a navigation form from scratch, Access supplements a pre-existing label and calls it “Navigation Form.” Edit the label to summarise the contents of the form.

1. Choose the form label and next, to start editing, click it again.

Navigation form screen snippet

2. Change the label to suit your requirements, and press Enter to complete.

Apply a visual theme to a navigation form or report

Personalise your database and simplify finding information, by modifying the colours and fonts used in each of your forms and reports. Experiment with a colour-coded theme, or design your own.

  1. On the Home tab, select View > Layout View.
  1. On the Design tab, select Themes.
  • To preview the visual of a theme, stop over it.
  • To edit each of the colours and fonts, decide a theme.
  • To alter only the colours, select Colours and choose a colour.
  • To modify only the fonts, choose Fonts, followed by selecting a text style.

Set the navigation form as the default display form

A navigation form offers a convenient homepage for a database, so it is ideal to regularly open it instantly every time you access the database.

  1. Choose File > Options > Current Database.
  1. Under Application Options, click the arrow in the Display Form box, followed by selecting the new navigation form.
  1. Press OK to finish.
  1. Choose Save, on the Quick Access Toolbar.
  1. Exit and next, re-enter the database.
    The navigation form opens simultaneously, giving you easy access to your frequently used forms and reports.

Want more?

Create a navigation form

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If you often work with the same handful of forms and reports, create a “navigation form” to keep them together.

The navigation form can act like your “home base” to easily switch between your frequently used forms and reports.

To get started, open the desktop database where you want to add a navigation form.

Select the Create tab, select Navigation, and then select the style of navigation form you want.

Access creates the blank form with the Add New navigation control, and opens the form in Layout view.

Now add the forms or reports you want.

Drag the form or report from the Navigation Pane to the Add New button.

Access creates the new navigation button and shows the form or report in the object pane.

Do this again for any other forms or reports you want to add.

Typically, these forms and reports are related in some way, like ones having to do with employees.

At this point, save the navigation form.

Access adds it as a new object with your other forms.

When you create a new navigation form, Access adds the default “Navigation Form” label to the form heading. Change this label if you want.

Click the label once to select it, and then again to start editing.

Type the label you want, and then press Enter.

Every form also has a caption—the text on the navigation form tab.

If you want to change it, right-click the navigation form icon, and then select Form Properties.

In the Property Sheet pane here on the right, type the new caption.

The tab caption name changes, but the name in the Navigation Pane remains as it was when you saved the navigation form.

To give your database a more professional look, apply a colour and font theme.

To change both colours and fonts, select an item from the Themes gallery. Pause over an item to see how the theme will look in your database.

When you find the one you want, select it. Remember that this changes all the colours and fonts in the database; not just those on the navigation form.

To only change colours in your database, select a scheme from the Colours gallery.

To change only the fonts, select a scheme in the Fonts gallery.

Another way to spiff up your navigation form is to customize the colour or shape of the navigation buttons.

Still working in Layout view, select the navigation buttons you want to change. Although applying the same style to all buttons makes for a nice consistent look, each button can actually have a different style.

Select Format and then select Quick Styles to apply the style you want.

A navigation form makes a great “home page” or activity centre. You might want it to display as soon as you open the database.

No problem. Select File, then Options, and then Current Database.

Under Application Options, select the arrow in the Display Form box, and then select your navigation form. Select OK to finish.

Save the database.

Now close and reopen it.

As you see, the navigation form opens at the same time, so you have everything you need at your fingertips.

The next time you find yourself hunting for the same various forms and reports to carry out a set of tasks, group them on a new navigation form and get your work done more quickly.

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