Example Apps for Businesses, Schools & Developers

Version 1.3           Approx 0.6 MB (zipped)                 First Published 9 Nov 2023                 Last Updated 26 Jan 2024

This is the second in a series of articles about highlighting objects on Access forms.
You could say it is a desperate attempt to get listed as one of this week's highlights in Mike Wolfe's Week in Review blog. It worked!

In this short article, I will demonstrate two simple 'tricks' showing how you can highlight the currently selected control without using any code.

The example app contains two forms demonstrating each approach:

Main Form

1.   Using Transparency

The short video (0:06) shows the effect in action:

To achieve this effect, open the form in design view and select all fields that you want highlighted.
Set the back color property to your preferred colour e.g. pale yellow (FFFF66) with the back style set to Normal

Design View 1
Now change the Back Style to Transparent and save the form. The set back colour is saved but is not normally in use.

Design View 2
Change to Form View and tab through the controls. As each gains focus, it shows the set colour.
This happens because back style becomes Normal (solid) whilst it retains focus.

Form View - Form1
That's it! Nothing else is needed.

This approach can only be used on textboxes and comboboxes as these are the only control types which have both a back style property and can receive focus.

2.   Using Conditional Formatting

The first approach doesn't work so well for forms with a coloured background as a transparent control takes on the colour of its background
In such cases, a simple alternative is to use conditional formatting:

In design view, set the back style of the controls to Normal (solid) and set the back color to e.g. White (Background1)

Design View Form 2

Select each control, then click Conditional Formatting on the Format tab
Set the condition to Field Has Focus and choose your format conditions e.g. back color = pale yellow and text style = Bold

Conditional Formatting
The end result is identical to the previous method

Form View 2
The same methods can also be used in a continuous form. For example:

Continuous Form

For more details, see my companion article: Highlight Control/Column in Continuous Forms


I have created a short video (3:31) to demonstrate both of these approaches.
You can watch the Highlight the Current Control - NO CODE REQUIRED! video on my Isladogs YouTube channel or you can click below:

If you liked the video, please subscribe to my Isladogs on Access channel on YouTube. Thanks.


Click to download:   Highlight Current Control v1.3.accdb     Approx 0.6 MB (zipped)

Download and unblock the zip file.
For more details, see my article: Unblock downloaded files by removing the Mark of the Web

Unzip and save the ACCDB file to a trusted location.

Related Articles:

      Highlight Current Record in Continuous Form

      Highlight Selected Control/Column in Continuous Forms

      Highlight Required Fields

      Highlight Search Results


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Colin Riddington           Mendip Data Systems                 Last Updated 26 Jan 2024

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