Microsoft Access - Add Temporary Comments Without Changing A Report's Design (Access 97/2000/2002)

There are plenty of times when you'll want to annotate a report with text that shouldn't become a part of the report's permanent design. For instance, say that you print a report to get a rough idea of a project's status even though data entry hasn't been completed. Doing so may quell an immediate business crisis, but it could just as easily stir up another one three weeks down the road when someone happens upon the report and demands to know why there are huge gaps in the data. However, if you clearly indicate the circumstances behind why a report was printed or who requested the report, you can eliminate confusion, and stress down the road.

Of course you can just hand-write an explanation on a report, but if you frequently annotate a particular report you can easily incorporate temporary text without continually changing the report in Design view. There are many ways to approach the task, but the easiest is to use a textbox control that prompts a user to enter any comments that should be included when the report is opened, in much the same way that a parameter query prompts a user for criteria.

To set up a control:

  • Open the report in Design view
  • Add at textbox control where you want the user-defined text to appear
  • Size the control so that it's big enough to describe a likely comment

Set the control's Control Source property to:

  • =[Enter any comments you want to make about this report:]

Save the report and close it. From now on, you're prompted to enter a comment whenever the report is previewed or printed. Enter the appropriate text and click OK. Your entry appears on the final report.

Note that you must click OK when you receive the report's prompt--clicking Cancel actually aborts the entire print process. This doesn't mean you're forced to enter a comment. Just leave the prompt text box blank and click OK to continue printing without including a comment.

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