Example Apps for Businesses, Schools & Developers

Version 1.0         Updated 30 Oct 2018             Approx 0.5 MB (zipped)

Use the following method to create 'zombie' combobox lists as in the Combobox Puzzle example.

It should also help you understand what is going on!

1.  Create a new database with one table Table1.
    I used fields ID (PK/autonumber) and Dummy (text). Do NOT populate the table.

2.  Create a new form Form1 & use Table1 as its record source.
    Add a combo box cboDummy & set its control source to the text field from the table
    Use a value list for the combo and add a few items starting with "*".
    If using the wizard, set to save for later use (or cancel)
    Set Allow Value List Edits = No
    Set the default value to "*"
    Save, close and reopen the form.

3.  Now delete all values from the row source EXCEPT "*"
    Save, close and reopen the form in form view.

    All combo values are still present even though these are no longer in the row source 

4.  Create a new form Form2 & once again bind it to the table.
    Once again, add a value list combo box & set its control source to the text field from the table
    Do NOT populate any values in the row source
    Otherwise follow all the steps from item 2 above
    Save, close and reopen the form in form view.
    The combo is populated with the same values as the first form but its row source is EMPTY
    Clearly the values are being inherited from the first combobox. Can you work out how/why?

5.  Next, in design view for Form2, add a different value list to that in Form1 but again starting with "*".
    IMPORTANT: Do NOT use (or even look at) the builder (wait till step 6!)

    Save, close and reopen the form in form view
    The original list from Form1 should still be displayed though the value list row source is different!!!!

6.  Create a third form Form3
    Repeat all steps as for Form2 EXCEPT this time click the combobox row source builder - SURPRISE!
    Edit the list using the BUILDER
    Save, close and reopen the form in form view. The new combo list is displayed

7.  Reopen Form1 and Form2. Both combo lists also now show the new list of values

8.  The above instructions also work for listboxes

UPDATE 30 Oct 2018
An example database is available including the above explanation together with Form1 & Form2

Click to download:         Halloween Zombies

A full explanation of why the zombie lists occur is available on a hidden page elsewhere on this website. Please email me to obtain a link to that web page

Further Reading
Also, see an updated article by the DBGuy with his own explanation of this effect
Happy Halloween to Gremlins and Zombies

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