Make controls stretch, shrink, or move as you resize a form

By default, the controls on a form stay anchored to the upper-left corner of the form, and do not resize when you resize the form. To change this behavior, you can use the Anchoring command. For example, you can configure a text box so that it stretches down and to the right as the form becomes larger. This lets you see more text in the control.

In this article

Anchor a control

Special considerations when you use layouts

Anchor a control

  1. In the Navigation Pane, right-click the form that you want to change, and then click Layout View.

  2. In the form, click the control to which you want to apply the anchoring behavior.

  3. On the Arrange tab, in the Position group, click Anchoring Button image .

  4. Click the option that you want.

    Anchoring options

    Anchoring option

    Behavior of the control when you resize the form

    Top Left (default)

    The control is anchored to the upper-left corner of the form, and does not change size.

    Stretch Down

    The control is anchored to the upper-left corner of the form, and stretches downward to fill the available space.

    Bottom Left

    The control is anchored to the lower-left corner of the form, and does not change size.

    Stretch Across Top

    The control is anchored to the upper-left corner of the form, and stretches horizontally to fill the available space.

    Stretch Down and Across

    The control is anchored to the upper-left corner of the form, and stretches downward and across to fill the available space.

    Stretch Across Bottom

    The control is anchored to the lower-left corner of the form, and stretches horizontally to fill the available space.

    Top Right

    The control is anchored to the upper-right corner of the form, and does not change size.

    Stretch Down and Right

    The control is anchored to the upper-right corner of the form, and stretches vertically to fill the available space.

    Bottom Right

    The control is anchored to the lower-right corner of the form, and does not change size.

    Note: 

    • If the Orientation property of the form is set to Right-to-Left, the default anchoring for the "stretch across" commands is to the right side of the form instead of the left side.

    • If you specify one of the "stretch" options for a control, the control never becomes smaller than the dimensions that are specified in the control's Width and Height properties.

    Notes: 

    • If you have configured Access to display objects as overlapping windows instead of as tabbed documents, the anchoring behavior that you select is visible when you resize the form window (or, if the form is maximized, when you resize the Access window). If you have set your database to display objects as document tabs (the default setting), the anchoring behavior that you select is visible only when you resize the Access window.

      How do I set Document Window Options?

      1. On the File tab, under Help, click Options.

      2. Click Current Database.

      3. Under Application Options, under Document Window Options, select Overlapping Windows or Tabbed Documents.

Top of Page

Special considerations when you use layouts

A layout is a table-like grid that lets you align multiple controls on a form. Layouts are required on any forms or reports that you intend to publish to Access Services, but they are useful in any database because they let you quickly align and position groups of controls at the same time, without first having to select each control. When you create a form by using one of the quick-create tools in the Forms group of the Create tab, Access displays fields in layouts by default.

For more information about publishing databases to Access Services, see the article Build an Access database to share on the Web.

Layouts come in two varieties: stacked and tabular. On single-item forms (those in which the Default View property is set to Single Form), Access uses stacked layouts by default. In a stacked layout, the anchoring feature moves and stretches controls vertically and horizontally.

On multiple-item forms (those in which the Default View property is set to Continuous Forms), Access uses tabular layouts by default. In a tabular layout, the anchoring feature only moves and stretches controls vertically. For example, the Stretch Down and Across anchoring option only causes a control to stretch across, not down.

You can specify the anchoring for only one control in each layout. The anchoring of the other controls in the layout is set automatically, according to the following table:

Anchoring option

Automatic settings of other controls in the same layout

Stacked layout

Tabular layout

Top Left (default)

All other controls are set to Top Left.

All other controls are set to Top Left.

Stretch Down

Controls above are set to Top Left. Controls below are set to Bottom Left.

All other controls are set to Stretch Down.

Bottom Left

All other controls are set to Bottom Left.

All other controls are set to Bottom Left.

Stretch Across Top

All other controls are set to Stretch Across Top.

Controls to the left are set to Top Left. Controls to the right are set to Top Right.

Stretch Down and Across

Controls above are set to Stretch Across Top. Controls below are set to Stretch Across Bottom.

Controls to the left are set to Stretch Down. Controls to the right are set to Stretch Down and Right.

Stretch Across Bottom

All other controls are set to Stretch Across Bottom.

Controls to the left are set to Bottom Left. Controls to the right are set to Bottom Right.

Top Right

All other controls are set to Top Right.

All other controls are set to Top Right.

Stretch Down and Right

Controls above are set to Top Right. Controls below are set to Bottom Right.

All other controls are set to Stretch Down and Right.

Bottom Right

All other controls are set to Bottom Right.

All other controls are set to Bottom Right.

Top of Page

Share Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Email Email

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!

×