Changing MS-Access Field Behaviour

One of the more annoying features of MS-Access (I’m using 2003) is how, when you enter a field, either by clicking or tabbing into it, Access selects all the field contents as a default.  Then, when you try to press your arrow keys left or right to move your way through the text in that field, the focus shifts to the previous or next field instead.

It is pretty annoying, and like I did, I expect people just put up with it without realising that the behaviour can be changed..

Go to Tools>Options and select the ‘Keyboard’ tab:-


There are a few options you can select here to change keyboard behaviours in Access:-

Move after enter

The radio options here dictate what happens after you press the enter key in any field on your database form or table.  Personally I like to keep it the way it is, I think I’d find it extremely irritating if I moved to the next record when pressing enter.

Arrow Key Behaviour

This one I changed immediately the first time I found it.  This means that, from now on, whenever I press the arrow left/right keys, the cursor moves to the previous/next character in the field rather than moving through the fields.  Much better.

Behavior entering field

Another useful one to change for me.  If you click on any field containing data (do it now), you’ll see that the default behaviour is for the entire contents of the field to be selected.  I personally don’t like that, so alway change to ‘Go to end of field’, because usually the only reason I click on a field is to make a change or add additional information.

Cursor stops at first/last field

If you position your cursor in the last field of a record and press enter (assuming enter moves the focus to the next field, that is), the default is for access to move to the first field of the next record.  Put a tick in the box to ensure that this doesn’t happen, and that Access stays within the same record until you tell it otherwise.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *