Access Report Design: Applying Themes and Conditional Formatting in Access 2019

By Wallace Wang

Access reports can be useful for displaying data, but you can go one step further and make your Access reports look visually pleasing as well. One way to change the appearance of an Access report is to use a predefined theme, which can instantly add color to make even the dullest Access report look interesting.

Applying themes in Access 2019

A theme simply rearranges the appearance of your entire report so it doesn’t look like a boring list of text and numbers. To apply a theme to an Access report, follow these steps:

  1. Display your report in Design view.
  2. Click the Design tab.
  3. In the Themes group, click the Themes icon.

    A menu appears, listing all the available themes.

    Access themes
    Themes give you a quick way to modify the appearance of a report.
  4. Move the mouse pointer over a theme.

    Access shows how your report will look with the selected theme.

  5. Select a theme to choose it for your report.

    Access displays your report with your selected theme.

Creating conditional formatting in Access 2019

An Access report can display data, but sometimes you may want help in identifying certain types of data. For example, you may want Access to highlight sales figures that are greater than $250,000 so you can spot this information easier. Although you can manually examine a report and highlight such information yourself, it’s faster and more accurate to let Access do it instead.

Formatting data based on certain criteria is known as conditional formatting. The idea is that Access formats data only when certain conditions are met, such as a value greater than $250,000 or less than $10,000.

To use conditional formatting, you need to define the field to format, define a rule to trigger the formatting, and then the type of formatting you want to apply, such as highlighting the Access field in red or yellow.

To apply conditional formatting to data in an Access report, follow these steps:

  1. Display your report in Design view.
  2. Select the field to which you want apply conditional formatting.

    You can apply conditional formatting to a numeric or text field.

  3. Click the Format tab.
  4. In the Control Formatting group, click the Conditional Formatting icon.

    A Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box appears.

    conditional formatting Access 2019
    The Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box.
  5. Click the New Rule button.

    A New Formatting Rule dialog box appears.

    New Formatting Rule Access 2019
    he New Formatting Rule dialog box lets you define a rule.

    You can click the Edit Rule or Delete Rule button here to edit or delete a rule that you’ve created.

  6. Select a rule type:
    • Check values in the current record or use an expression (you can create a rule that considers the value of only a single field)
    • Compare to other records (you can create a rule that examines the value of the same field stored in other records)
  7. In the Edit the Rule Description category, define your rule.

    Depending on the option you chose in Step 6, the Edit the Rule Description category may display different options.

  8. Choose the type of formatting to display if the data in a field matches the rule that you defined in Step 7.
  9. Click OK.

    The Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box appears again, displaying your newly created rule.

  10. Click OK.

    Access now displays your formatting changes in the field if it matches your defined rule.