Perhaps you've started to use Access 2007 and you've created one or more tables containing your data. The next step might be to create forms for each of your tables. Forms are used to enter view and edit data and you can design the form layout to suit your users. For example one form may contain lots of extra instructions for inexperienced users whilst another might contain just the barest of details for more experienced users. You can design forms to show one record at a time in a vertical column type layout or to show all the records in separate rows in a table type layout.

We'll look at creating three different kinds of forms in Access 2007. The first is a columnar form, which shows one record at a time in a vertical arrangement. The second is a split form which shows a single vertical record combined with a table layout showing all the records. The third is a multiple items form which shows all the records in a table layout. There are command buttons to create all three form types in the Create tab.

The automatic columnar form, (based on a particular table) is the easiest one to create. A columnar form shows each record in one or more columns and you see only one record at a time. You can move between the records or add a new record, by clicking on the lower navigation buttons. Using this type of form makes it easy to ensure you always work with the correct record and is often used for high volume data entry.

To build an automatic columnar form, first click once on any table in the left hand Navigation Pane. The table will colour orange to show it has been selected. Next, in the Create Ribbon Tab, look in the Forms group of commands - you'll see several clickable buttons each with an upper purple bar. These command buttons all build different types of forms. Click on Form button and Access creates a new columnar form showing all the fields from the selected table neatly arranged in one or more columns.

It's good practice to save your form at this point, so click the Save icon on the Quick Access Toolbar and name the form something like FrmStaff, (my original table is called Staff but use your own table name here) and click OK to finish. It's a good idea when you save a new form to give it a name starting with "Frm" followed by the name of the table the form is based on, with no spaces. That way when you later list all the Access components, all the forms are listed together.

Once the new form is built, two new form tabs Format and Arrange appear in the upper right in the navigation ribbon with Format selected by default. With the Format tab still selected, find the View button at the top far left and click on the down arrow, then select Design View, (which has a picture of a protractor). In Design View you can edit existing form features or add new ones. In Design View you'll see all the current table fields and for each field you'll see two rectangular boxes side by side. The right hand wider box is a text box which will show the actual field value for the selected record when you change back to Form view. The left hand narrower box is a label which shows the field name when viewed in Form view.

In Form Design View you can add extra controls from the Design tab. Here you'll see controls to add labels, text boxes, buttons and images for example. You could add a label to display a form name, or another label to add instructions to guide users. You could also add buttons to carry out actions when clicked on, or images to give the form more impact. If you add items to your form, click on Save to save your design changes, then close the form.

To build a Split Form, ensure you have selected one table. Then in the Create tab click on the Split Form button. Access 2007 creates a new split form, with a columnar form in the upper part and a table view lower part. The upper part shows one record at a time and the lower part shows all the records from the original table. You can change the proportions in Form View by dragging the horizontal grey bar up or down. You can navigate through your records in either part. You could, for example, use the lower datasheet view to find a record and then edit the details in the upper view. This view saves you having to switch backwards and forwards between the form and the original table. You will find this new split view used in many of the Access 2007 online templates.

To create a multiple items form, ensure you have selected one table. Then in the Create tab click on the Multiple Items Form button. Access 2007 creates a new form with a table like layout, so all records show in separate rows. However because this is a form, you can also add labels, text boxes, buttons and other controls. So you have the benefits of a tabular layout showing all the records together and the benefits of form controls so you can add features such as labels, images and buttons.

If this article has helped you understand how to create forms in Access 2007 then consider gaining further skills by attending a good instructor lead training course - that's often the best way to really build up your skills in a short time.