Start with a design

Basic designs for forms

So how do you make your reports meaningful and easy to understand? With a design. Start by deciding on the data you need to include in the report, and then on the sections you want in the report. For example, all reports need a detail section, but do you need a header? How about grouping? From there, you decide on a layout. Access provides two basic layouts – tabular and stacked – but you can arrange your data in almost any way you want.

  1. Tabular layouts resemble spreadsheets. Use them when you need to present your data in a simple list format.

  2. Stacked layouts resemble the forms you fill out at a bank or when you buy something online. Use a stacked layout when your report contains too many fields to display in tabular form.

  3. Mixed layouts use elements from tabular and stacked layouts. For example, you can place some of the fields in a record on the same row, and stack other fields from the same record. In Access 2010, you create mixed layouts manually, using either Layout view or Design view.

After you finish your design, you have several options for creating the report. We'll start with the Report tool.

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