Capture all the data in your Access report with effective text box sizing techniques


by Christine Spencer

Application: Microsoft Access 2000/2002/2003

Operating System: Microsoft Windows

When creating reports in Microsoft Access, you may need a text box to fit your particular text—and find you are less than delighted with the “one size fits most” aspect. Well, you’ll be happy to know that Access has a way to change this design feature so that you can begin to see the field’s entire contents. This way you aren’t stuck with estimating your text box size the next time you work with your reports.

To help you ensure that you’re seeing all the crucial data you need to, we’ll:

  • Create an example report
  • Show you how to set your text box’s horizontal dimensions
  • Adjust the height of the box for better viewing purposes


Most of the time, we estimate the right size when designing the report. However, if the text box isn’t large enough, you don’t see the field’s entire contents, as shown in Figure A. Unfortunately, there’s no indication that data is missing unless you read through the report and notice what Access has left off.

If you have reports with text boxes that could potentially hide important data in this way, you can use design features to ensure that all of the text appears and doesn’t leave large blank areas.




You might not know that a report is missing data due to the text boxes being too small.

Create the sample report

We’ll begin by creating a report using the Northwind sample database.

To create a report from the sample database:

  1. In Access 2002 or 2003, choose Help | Sample Databases | Northwind Sample Database from the menu bar. If you’re using Access 2000, choose File | Open from the menu bar, locate and select the Northwind.mdb file, and click Open. (This file is usually located in the \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Samples folder.)
  2. Display the table objects by clicking Tables in the Objects pane.
  3. Select the table named Employees. From this table, we’ll create a simple report listing employees’ names and general information about their backgrounds.
  4. Choose Insert | Report from the menu bar.
  5. In the New Report dialog box, select Design View, if necessary, and click OK. When you do, a blank report window opens.
  6. Display the Field List by clicking the Field List button field list.

  7. Drag the following three fields from the Field List to the report: FirstName, LastName, and Notes. The default size for the Notes text box is about one inch wide, as shown on the top of Figure B.
  8. Preview the report by clicking the View button view to report. As you can see in the report on the bottom of Figure B, the entire contents of the Notes field isn’t displayed in such a small text box. There’s no way to know how much of the field’s data is missing.


IME18503b1 IME18503b2


Because the textbox control is rather small, only part of the Notes field’s contents shows in the report.

Automatically adjust the height of the text box

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