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Create Input Masks in Access – Tutorial

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Create Input Masks in Access - Tutorial: A picture of the “Input Mask Wizard” in Access.

Create Input Masks in Access: Overview

            You can create input masks in Access to dictate a pattern used for data entry in selected fields. Access provides an easy step-by-step routine called the “Input Mask Wizard” to do this. The “Input Mask Wizard” helps you apply input masks to selected “text” and “date/time” fields.

            To create input masks in Access, first open the table in “Design” view. Then select the field to which you want to apply an input mask. Click into the “Input Mask” property for the selected field within the “Field Properties” section. This section appears at the bottom of the table’s “Design” view.

            Next, click the “Expression Builder” button at the right end of that property field. Note that the “Expression Builder” button is the button that has an ellipsis symbol (…) on it. Doing this then launches the “Input Mask Wizard” in Access. You must save any changes to the table before applying the input mask.

            After saving the table, the “Input Mask Wizard” dialog box appears. The wizard shows some of the most common input masks for a field. You can select whichever input mask you need. Answer each question posed in each screen of the wizard, and click “Next” to continue through the screens. When you are done, click the “Finish” button to apply your selected input mask.

Create Input Masks in Access - Tutorial: A picture of the “Input Mask Wizard” in Access.

Create Input Masks in Access – Tutorial: A picture of the “Input Mask Wizard” in Access.

            Remember that the “Format” property can conflict with the “Input Mask” property if they are in opposition. This can sometimes happen with “date/time” fields. Therefore, you may want to edit or remove your “Format” property before applying an input mask. Otherwise, ensure that the two field properties are using the same “date/time” format.

Create Input Masks in Access: Instructions

  1. To create input masks in Access, select the table to open in “Design View” from the Navigation Pane.
  2. To open the table in “Design” view, press “Ctrl” + “Enter” on your keyboard.
  3. Select the field in the design grid to which you want to apply an input mask.
  4. Select the “General” tab in the “Field Properties” section at the bottom of the window.
  5. Then click into the “Input Mask” field property.
  6. Click the “Expression Builder” button (…) at the right end of the “Input Mask” text box.
  7. Select the desired input mask from the list of masks shown in the “Input Mask Wizard.”
  8. Then click the “Next >” button to continue.
  9. If needed for your selected type of input mask, make any changes to the input mask shown in the next screen.
  10. Select your desired placeholder character for the field.
  11. Then click the “Next >” button to continue.
  12. If needed for your selected type of input mask, select how to store the actual data within the table field.
  13. Then click the “Next >” button to continue.
  14. Click the “Finish” button to apply the selected input mask to the field.
  15. When you are done, close the table and save your changes.

Create Input Masks in Access: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “Setting Input Masks,” shows how to create input masks in Access. This video lesson on how to create input masks in Access is from our complete Access training, titled “Mastering Access Made Easy v.2016-2013.”

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