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Access: Data Entry

Welcome to the latest Hot Tip from Black Swan Training Solutions. This time we are going to look at how you can speed up your data entry in Microsoft Access.

There are two places that you can work with data in Access: Datasheets and Forms. Datasheets are plain black and white grids that look like a spreadsheet. Forms are customisable, colourful, user-friendly screens for working with the data.

When you use keystrokes in Access you need to know whether you are working in Navigation Mode or Edit Mode. Edit Mode is when you can see the flashing cursor. You are in Navigation Mode when the entire field is highlighted.

Either Mode

The following key strokes work whether you are in Navigation or Edit mode.

  • [Tab] move to the next field
  • [Shift]+[Tab] move to the previous field
  • [F5] Move to a particular record, by entering the record number in the navigation box at the bottom of the window.
  • [Ctrl]+[+] Start a new record
  • [Ctrl]+[-] Delete the current record
  • [Ctrl]+[;] Enter the current date in the field
  • [F4] Open the drop-down list, if the field has one
  • [Spacebar] Enter a tick in a tickbox, or select a radio/option button

Navigation Mode

  • [Ctrl]+[2] Enters the same data as the previous record. Like putting in a ditto.
  • [Home] Move to the first field of the current record
  • [End] Move to the last field of the current record
  • [Ctrl]+[Home] Move to the first field of the first record
  • [Ctrl]+[End] Move to the last field of the last record
  • [Ctrl]+[PageUp] Move to the same field in the previous record
  • [Ctrl]+[PageDown] Move to the same field in the next record
  • [Esc] Cancel changes to this record
  • [F2] Change to Edit Mode

Edit Mode

  • [Home] Move to the start of the field
  • [End] Move to the end of the field
  • [Esc] Cancel changes to this field before they are entered.

Entering Data Without the Mouse

If you have a lot of data to enter or amend, using the mouse can slow you down as you have to stop typing, pick-up the mouse, and then start typing again.

Once you have opened the form, you could work as follows:

  • [Ctrl]+[+] to start a new record.
  • [Tab] to go to the next field
  • [Spacebar] to add/remove a tick in a tickbox.
  • [F4] to open a drop-down list, and the down arrow to select the right entry. [Shift]+[Tab] to go back to the previous field
  • [Esc] to cancel a mistaken entry or record
  • [F2] to amend an existing entry and then [Home] to get to the beginning of the field.
  • [Ctrl]+[2] to make an entry the same as the previous record.

When you remember to use these techniques you'll find data entry much quicker and smoother.

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