How to Create a Switchboard (or Splash) Screen in Access 2010 by Shane Zentz

When creating a database application in Access 2010, you will sometimes come accross a situation where you will want to present several options to the end-user to choose from. For example you may have one form for data entry and one report, or you may have several forms and reports. This is where the idea of the ‘switchboard’ or ‘splash screen’ comes in. This handy switchboard can be used to present several choices for the end user to choose from. So this is what this tutorial is all about. And this is only the first part. In this part we will create the switchboard or splash screen (which will display as a pop up window when the user opens the database file), but in the next part of this we will fill the switchboard with photos and clickable (usable) buttons which will open forms and reports. So open up Access 2010 and get ready to create a switchboard!

The first step is simple. Just create a new form in design view. Resize the area to your liking and then click on the ‘other’ tab in the form’s properties. Change where it says ‘pop up’ from no to yes. Now switch to the format tab of the form’s properties. On this tab you will want to change ‘record selectors’ and ‘navagation buttons’ to NO and also set ‘control box’ and ‘close button’ to NO, and finally set min and max buttons to ‘NONE’. Now save your form and switch to display view. You should just see an empty window with no record selectors and no min,max,or close buttons, just like this:

OK, if you have something that looks like that then you are on your way. So close this switchboard out (right click somewhere in the popup window and select close). Now lets make this switchboard open automatically when this database is opened. To do that just go to the File tab and from there select the options tab towards the bottom, which will open up the database’s properties window, like this:

On the “current database” tab, you can set the title for the switchboard and even select an icon for the database itself. Just below those options is the one that will open the form when the database is opened. It says “Display Form” and you can select any form that you created in your database. The form that you select will open automatically when the database is opened. So choose the form that you just created, pick a title for it, then save these settings.

 

Close the database and reopen it. And when you do you should see the (blank) switchboard that we created earlier.

Not much here, just an empty window, but you can add whatever title you want and whatever graphics or photos to the background, and of course buttons to open forms or data entry. So this is just the starting point. Check the Switchboard’s properties add photos and other funcionalities to it.

Just be aware that you can even set this switchboard to open after a certain interval (or close after a certain interval) with some of the forms properties. But that is a little beyond this tutorial, but if you are interested in this just google it man.

O.k., next we will add some real functionability to this switchboard and even decorate it a little to make it look even nicer. So check back for part two of this tutorial.
Thanks for reading this blog!

Shane