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Grouping Objects in Access: An Organizational Tip You Can’t Miss
Posted: September 27, 2012

Microsoft Access is great, but there’s a common problem I see whenever I’m handed a database from a client: organization. Is your database filled with objects cluttering up the Navigation Pane as far as the hand can scroll? Or perhaps you have more than 50 queries with helpful names such as CMP2a or qryEverythingInThisTableExceptThisAndThat?

This is the need that Custom Groups seeks to fill. The way Custom Groups work is to let you create organizational buckets, like folders, to hold and contain your related objects. Then you simply drag and drop your objects into these buckets. This simple step can save you tons of headaches.

Most Access databases already organize objects into groups based on the object type: Tables, Queries, Forms and Reports. One grouping alternative may be to elaborate further on these headings, such as Tables, Lookup Tables or Forms, Subforms and Lookup Forms. Or you can group related items together if they all contribute to the same end output, such as placing 3 queries and a report into an Event Report group. Even simply making a group for I Don’t Know What These Do can help reduce the clutter!

To create your own groups you first have to switch to Custom view and type in your group names.

1. Click the down arrow at the top of the Navigation Pane and choose Custom.

2. At the top of the Navigation Pane, right click on Custom and choose Navigation Options. The Navigation Options dialog appears.

3. Click on the Custom category, then click the Add Group button to start creating your own group names. Click OK when finished.

4. All your Access objects will now appear in one group called Unassigned Objects. Simply drag and drop them into their new groups.

Now, if you could just forward this tip to everyone you know who uses Access, it’d make my life much easier.

Author: Ryan Donelan

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Category: Tech Tips

2 Responses to “Grouping Objects in Access: An Organizational Tip You Can’t Miss”

  1. Tom says:

    This is working great — except when a make table query is run (either manually or with a macro). The new table goes back to Unassigned Objects. Is there a way to make stay in the custom category?

    • Ryan says:

      Tom: Glad you found this useful. The Make Table query first deletes the table, then creates an entirely new table with the same name. So Access treats this “new” table as any new object, and drops it into the Unassigned category.
      My suggestion would be to try a Delete query, then Append query. This can be more effective than a Make Table in replacing a table because customized Properties, Relationships and Custom Grouping remain while the data in the table gets deleted and replaced.

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