Use a screen reader to build an expression in Access desktop databases

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This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use Access with your keyboard and a screen reader to build an expression in an Access desktop database. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You can use expressions to accomplish many kinds of tasks in a database. For more information on expressions, see Learn to build an expression

Notes: 

In this topic

Create a calculated field in a query

By adding a calculated field to a query, you can display the results of a calculation that uses the other fields in the query.

To add a calculated field:

  1. Open the query you want to add the calculated field to in the Navigation pane.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Status bar," followed by the currently active view.

  3. Press the Right arrow key until you hear "Design view," and press Enter. The focus returns to the first empty cell on the Field row of the query in the Design view.

  4. In the empty cell, write the equation you want displayed in the calculated field. First enter the name for the field, followed by a colon, then the expression whose result you want to display in that field. For example, to create a field called "Total" that displays the sum of fields called "Price" and "Tax", write: Total: [Price] + [Tax].

Set default values for a table field

You can use an expression to specify a default value for a field in a table – a value that Access uses for new records unless another value is provided.

  1. Open the table you want in the Navigation pane.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Status bar," followed by the currently active view.

  3. Press the Right arrow key until you hear "Datashwet view," and press Enter. The focus returns to the table in Datasheet view.

  4. To navigate to the field you want to add a default value to, press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Column," followed by the name of the field you want.

  5. To open the Expression Builder for the default value of the field, press Alt+J, B, V, D.

  6. Enter the expression for the default value. For example, to add the default value of 4 for a field, enter =4.

    Note: You must start the expression with the equals sign (=).

  7. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and press Enter.

Add a validation rule to a table field or record

In tables, there are two kinds of validation rules: field validation rules (which prevent users from entering bad data in a single field), and record validation rules (which prevent users from creating records that don't meet the validation rule). You use expressions for both kinds of validation rules.

To add a validation rule:

  1. Open the table you want in the Navigation pane.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Status bar," followed by the currently active view.

  3. Press the Right arrow key until you hear "Dataset view," and press Enter. The focus returns to the table in Dataset view.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To open the expression builder for a field validation rule, navigate to the field you want by pressing the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Column," followed by the name of the field. Then press Alt+J, B, V, A, F.

    • To open the expression builder for a record validation rule, press Alt+J, B, V, A, R.

  5. Enter the criteria that you want. For example, to make sure that the value of a field is 10 or greater, enter the criteria > 9 in the expression builder.

    Note: Validation rule expressions are Boolean, which means that they are either True or False for any given input value. A validation rule must be True for the value or Access doesn’t save the input and displays a validation message indicating the error.

  6. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and press Enter.

Add a validation message to a table field or record

To make your database easier to use, you can enter custom validation messages. These replace the generic messages that Access displays when data does not match a validation rule. You can use custom validation message to provide specific information that helps the user enter the correct data.

  1. Open the table you want in the Navigation pane.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Status bar," followed by the currently active view.

  3. Press the Right arrow key until you hear "Datasheet view," and press Enter. The focus returns to the table in Datasheet view.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To add a field validation message, navigate to the field you want by pressing the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Column," followed by the name of the field. Then press Alt+J, B, V, A, V.

    • To add a record validation message, press Alt+J, B, V, A, M.

  5. Enter a validation message, then press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and press Enter. For example, to inform the user that the value of a field must be 10 or greater, enter the following validation message: The value of the field must equal 10 or higher.

See also

Use a screen reader to start Access

Keyboard shortcuts for Access

Use a screen reader to create tables in Access desktop databases

Use a screen reader to create a query in Access desktop databases

Use a screen reader to download and use a template in Access desktop databases

Technical Support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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