Customize a view by creating a user interface macro

With interface macros you can perform actions such as opening another view, applying a filter, or creating a new record. There are two kinds: “embedded” UI macros, which attach directly to user interface objects such as command buttons, combo boxes, or the Action Bar button object, and “standalone” UI macros, contained in macro objects.

To avoid duplicating code, reuse standalone UI macros by calling them from other macros. You can see the standalone UI macros in the Navigation Pane, under Macros, but you can’t run them directly from there. Use the RunMacro action to run a standalone UI macro from an embedded UI macro.

Create an embedded UI macro

Embedded UI macros run when specific events occur in a view, such as clicking a button, selecting an item in a combo box, or loading a view. The macros become part of the view or control they’re embedded in.

Here are the events you can attach a UI macro to in a control or view:

Event Type

When it occurs

After Update

Occurs after you type data into a control or select an item in a list control.

On Click

Occurs when a control is selected.

On Current

Occurs when the user moves to a different record in the view.

On Load

Occurs when a view is opened.

And here are the events each control supports:

Control or object type

Supported events

Action Bar Button

On Click


After Update, On Click


On Click

Check Box

After Update

Combo Box

After Update


After Update, On Click


On Click


On Click

Multiline Textbox

After Update, On Click

Text Box

After Update, On Click


On Current, On Load

Here’s how to create an embedded UI macro:

  1. Select the control you want to embed the macro in.

  2. Click the Actions button. Access opens the Actions dialog box for the custom action.

    The Actions button for a command button on a view.

  3. Click the event you want to attach the macro to.
    Access displays a blank macro in macro Design View, and you can start adding actions.

Create a standalone UI macro

  1. Click Home > Advanced > Macro.

Access displays a blank macro in macro Design View, and you can start adding actions.

  1. Click Save. Enter the macro name in the Macro Name box and then click OK.

Tips for creating a UI macro

These tips should help the process go more smoothly.

  • To refer to a field in a macro, use the format [TableName].[FieldName]. For example, use [Tasks].[Due Date] to refer to the Due Date field and [Tasks].[Status] to refer to the Status field.

  • Before creating an embedded UI macro, write down the names of the tables, fields and controls you plan to use, because you won’t be able to switch to other tabs while you’re working on it.

  • Save often.

Applies To: Access 2013

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