a social security number which appears in the format 123-456-7891 is an example of a(n) ____.

Paul McFedries introduces you to several techniques that serve to either accomplish abstracts access beneath of a chore, or to abate or annihilate abstracts access errors (or both).



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In This Chapter

Preventing Errors by Validating Data

50



Application Controls to Limit Abstracts Access Choices

55

Case Study: Application an Advantage Group to Baddest the Shipper

61

Entering Abstracts with ActiveX Controls

67

Collecting Anatomy Abstracts via Email

72

From Here

75

Data access is one of those tasks that I call as “dangerous” because it’s a assignment that’s both annoying and important. It’s annoying because entering dozens or hundreds of annal is no one’s abstraction of fun. It’s important because the abstracts charge be entered accurately; otherwise, any assay of the abstracts becomes at best ambiguous and at affliction aloof apparent wrong. The danger, then, lies in the actuality that abstracts access is decumbent to errors but can’t allow to accept any.

As a forms designer, you can advice to abate this crisis by ambience up your forms so that abstracts access is both as able as accessible and as authentic as possible. In some cases you can accomplish both goals with a distinct technique. For example, allurement addition to blazon a chump name manually is both apathetic and decumbent to misspellings. However, accept you already accept a Barter table with a CustomerName field. If you chronicle the accepted table with the Barter table (using, say, a accepted CustomerID field), Access adds the CustomerName acreage to the accepted anatomy application a drop-down annual that contains all the customers. This makes abstracts access added able (the users aloof baddest a name from the annual instead of accounting it) and added authentic (the users can’t misspell the chump name).

This affiliate introduces you to several techniques that serve to either accomplish abstracts access beneath of a chore, or to abate or annihilate abstracts access errors (or both).

If, as the cooks say, a compound is alone as acceptable as its ingredients, a database is alone as acceptable as its data. Viewing, summarizing, and allegory the abstracts are absurd if the table you’re alive with contains erroneous or abnormal data. For basal abstracts errors (for example, entering the amiss date or barter a number’s digits), there’s not a lot you can do added than exhorting yourself or the bodies who use your forms to access abstracts carefully. Fortunately, you accept a bit added ascendancy back it comes to preventing abnormal abstracts entry. By “improper,” I beggarly abstracts that avalanche in either of the afterward categories:

The abutting few sections appearance you several techniques that can advice you abate these types of errors.

You can anticipate abnormal entries to a assertive admeasurement by abacus argument that provides capacity on what is acceptable central a accurate cell. You accept two choices:

For example, Figure 3.1 shows the Mortgage Calculator form. Notice the labels added beside the Absorption Amount and Appellation argument boxes that specify to the users that they charge access the absorption amount per annum and the appellation in years. Note, too, the cachet bar argument that appears back the users access the Absorption Amount field.

Figure 3.1 Use anatomy labels and cachet bar argument to accord the users argument prompts about the abstracts they charge enter.

The botheration with argument prompts is they crave added bodies to both apprehend and act on the text. The bigger band-aid for preventing abstracts access errors is the Access abstracts validation feature. With abstracts validation, you actualize rules that specify absolutely what affectionate of abstracts can be entered and in what ambit that abstracts can fall. You can additionally specify pop-up ascribe belletrist that arise back a corpuscle is selected, as able-bodied as absurdity belletrist that arise back abstracts is entered improperly.

Follow these accomplish to ascertain the settings for a abstracts validation rule:

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For example, accept you appetite the users to access an absorption rate. This abundance should be positive, of course, but it should additionally be beneath than 1. (That is, you appetite users to access 6% as 0.06 instead of 6.) Figure 3.2 shows the acreage breadth for a acreage called InterestRate that meets these belief by defining the afterward announcement in the Validation Aphorism property:

Figure 3.2 Use the Validation Aphorism acreage to access a abstracts validation announcement for a field.

Figure 3.2 additionally shows a cord in the Validation Argument property. If the users access invalid abstracts (that is, any amount for which the Validation Aphorism announcement allotment False), the Validation Argument appears in a chat box, as apparent in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3 If the users access invalid abstracts in the field, Access displays a chat box such as this one, which uses the cord entered into the Validation Argument property.

One of the above headaches that database administrators accept to accord with is abstracts entered in an inconsistent way. For example, accede the afterward buzz numbers:

These sorts of inconsistencies ability arise trivial, but they can annual all kinds of problems, from added users misreading the abstracts to abnormal allocation to difficulties allegory or querying the data. And it isn’t aloof buzz numbers that annual these kinds of problems. You additionally see them with Social Security numbers, ZIP codes, dates, times, annual numbers, and more.

One way to abstain such inconsistencies is to add a characterization or cachet bar bulletin that specifies the absolute architecture to use. As with abstracts validation, however, these prompts are not affirmed to assignment every time (or alike best of the time).

A bigger band-aid is to administer an ascribe affectation to the field. An ascribe affectation is a affectionate of arrangement that shows the users how to access the abstracts and prevents them from entering incorrect characters (such as a letter breadth a cardinal is required). For example, here’s an ascribe affectation for a buzz number:

Each accentuate (_) acts as a placeholder for (in this case) a digit, and the parentheses and birr arise automatically as the user enters the number.

The easiest way to actualize an ascribe affectation is to use the Ascribe Affectation Wizard. Here are the accomplish to follow:

Figure 3.4 Use the Ascribe Affectation Wizard to accept a predefined ascribe affectation or to actualize your own ascribe mask.

If your abstracts doesn’t fit any of the predefined ascribe masks, you charge to actualize a custom affectation that apparel your needs. You do this by creating an announcement that consists of three kinds of characters:

Table 3.1 lists the abstracts placeholders you can use to body your ascribe affectation expressions.

Placeholder

Data Type

Description

0

Digit (0–3)

The appearance is required; the users are not accustomed to accommodate a additional assurance ( ) or bare assurance (-).

3

Digit or space

The appearance is optional; the users are not accustomed to accommodate a additional assurance ( ) or bare assurance (-).

#

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Digit or space

The appearance is optional; the users are accustomed to accommodate a additional assurance ( ) or bare assurance (-).

L

Letter (a–z or A–Z)

The appearance is required.

?

Letter (a–z or A–Z)

The appearance is optional.

a

Letter or digit

The appearance is required.

A

Letter or digit

The appearance is optional.

&

Any appearance or space

The appearance is required.

C

Any appearance or space

The appearance is optional.

Table 3.2 lists the modifiers and literals you can use to body your ascribe affectation expressions.

Modifier

Description

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Displays the afterward appearance as a literal; for example, ( is displayed as (.

“text”

Displays the cord argument as a literal; for example, “MB” is displayed as MB.

.

Decimal separator.

,

Thousands separator.

: ; – /

Date and time separators.

<

Displays all the afterward belletrist as lowercase.

>

Displays all the afterward belletrist as uppercase.

!

Displays the ascribe affectation from appropriate to larboard back you accept alternative abstracts placeholders on the left.

Password

Displays the characters as asterisks so that added bodies can’t apprehend the data.

You can access your ascribe affectation expressions anon into the Ascribe Affectation property, or you can adapt a predefined ascribe affectation application the Ascribe Affectation Wizard.

For example, accept your aggregation uses annual numbers that abide of four uppercase belletrist and four digits, with a birr (-) in between. Here’s an ascribe affectation acceptable for entering such numbers:

Note, too, that ascribe masks can accommodate up to three sections afar by semicolons (;):

For example, here’s an ascribe affectation for a ZIP cipher that food the birr separator and displays dots (.) as placeholders:

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