Using the Access 2007 Input Mask Wizard

An input mask helps to prevent users from inputting invalid data in an Access 2007 form or report. No doubt, you put a lot of time and effort into creating your Access databases. But all that time and effort can be wasted if someone is careless about entering data. Queries and reports end up being meaningless if they're loaded with invalid data.

An input mask automatically converts the appearance of the data into the proper format so that the user can easily tell whether there's a problem with invalid data. For example, you can use an input mask in a phone number field to let users know when they've typed an incorrect number of characters.

To set up an input mask for a field on a form, follow these steps:

1. Open the form in Design View.

2. Right-click the field you want to modify.

3. Choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

The Properties dialog box for the selected field appears.

4. Click the Data tab.

5. Click the Build button to the right of the Input Mask text box.

The Input Mask Wizard dialog box appears.

6. Select a mask and click Next to continue.

Some of your options include Phone Number, Social Security number, Password, and so on.

7. Make modifications to the input mask if necessary.

One useful modification is that you can choose placeholder characters to indicate to users the number of characters that they should type.

8. Click Next to continue.

9. Answer any additional questions on the remaining screens of the Input Mask Wizard dialog box and click the Finish button.

Different input masks require different information. For example, with a phone number mask you can specify whether you want placeholders to indicate the correct number of characters and whether you want the value formatted to look like a phone number.

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