When people are allowed to enter data as they see fit, it can create serious issues with your database. Input masking creates parameters and requirements on each data entry so that your data is both valid and consistent.
Data entry is an essential aspect of Microsoft Access. Access gives you control of how data is entered through input masking so that data are valid and can be used later.
How Input Masking Works
Access includes the Input Mask Wizard, which helps you create the rules and requirements for data entry. Once the input mask is created, every time data is entered, the person (or program) adding the entry will be required to fix any deviation from the rules set by the input mask.
For example, if you set up a rule that all dates must be set up as two-digit day, two-digit month, four-digit year, all entries will have to follow that particular numbering system. If someone enters 1 Aug 2016, Access will not allow for the entry until it is changed to 01/08/2016.
Setting Up the Input Masking Rules
The following steps are for beginners to use the Input Mask Wizard to quickly establish the data rules for your database.
- Open the table where you want to apply the rules. You will need to be in Design View for the wizard to be available.
- Click on the field where you want to add the input restrictions. The field properties will appear at the bottom of the screen. Take some time to look over the current properties. If you are working with a new database, most of the entries will be the defaults. If you are working with an older database, you need to see what restrictions have already been applied, as well as determining what information is included for the field.
- Put the cursor in the row marked Input Mask. The button with three dots will display. Click on the button to launch the wizard.
- Review the options the wizard displays. The first few times you add input masks, you can test out the different options to see what requirements each option offers. By using the Try It area at the bottom of the wizard, you can get a feel for what the people making the entry will encounter with each option.
- Select the desired entry rules once you know which one will work best for your particular needs. Don’t worry, you can always come back later and change it if things do not work as you intended.
- Add any desired customization you would like for the field. It is best to make the changes minor, such as changing hyphens to forward slashes for dates. Like the previous screen, you can review the results of your customization at the bottom in the Try It
- Click Next.
- Click Finish to accept the rule and changes you completed in the previous screens. If you are thinking about changing it, you also have the option of clicking Back.
Testing the Input Masking Rules
It is always best to test changes to the database once they are completed. The first place to look is the Input Mask area for the field properties. Once you verify the rule is set, exit Design View and actually enter new data as a different user.
Input masking should reduce the potential problems with your data. However, if you have issues and need to repair Access database, the experts can help you restore your data and resolve the issue.
Victor Ren is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including repair xls damage and word recovery software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com