Types of Forms in Microsoft Access

By Sarah Thomas

Using Microsoft Access you can create forms that relate to data tables so that you can easily enter, change or view your information stored within the database. Forms within Access are highly customizable, so you can create a form that is tailored to your needs. The different categories of forms each have a role in your database.

Bound Vs. Unbound

Forms within Access can be either bound or unbound. A bound form means that the form and your data table are connected and that they depend on each other. Information entered into a bound form changes the cell within the spreadsheet that has the same label. For instance, when you put an age into an "Age" field in a form, it also updates the "Age" cell in that row or column on the spreadsheet. Unbound forms have no relationship with the data in your database, but they have several other uses.


Switchboards are a type of unbound form that you can use to create menus for your database. Since a switchboard is not related to the actual data, manipulating a switchboard form does not alter your data within the cells. Utilize switchboards to create menus to open and close databases or to create a menu that enables you to create and access different forms. Think of a switchboard as a form that gives the end user options for actions.

Dialog Box

Another unbound form is a dialog box. These forms are not connected to data in the spreadsheet, so data can't be changed when using dialog boxes. Choose a dialog box when you want to create dialog after a user action. For example, use dialog boxes when creating prompts or results from a search that the user performed. Think of dialog boxes as forms that result from a user taking a particular action.

Data Entry

A data entry form is a bound form that affects the data within a spreadsheet. You can customize these forms to include different fields that relate to cells within the database, and you can further enhance the form by adding tabs to organize the form. When a user enters data into a data entry form, the database is updated with the new or changed information. Data entry forms may also be used to view related sets of data that you choose, such as a customer's name and address or phone number.