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Access 2003: Field Properties

Access 2003: Field Properties

You can set just about every default value for a field in a table using the Field Properties pane.

Figure 26. Field Properties/Table Design View




Field Size

Set the maximum size for data stored in a field set to the Text (0-255), Number, or AutoNumber (Long Integer or Replication ID) data type.


Customize the way numbers, dates, times, and text are displayed and printed. While it would be too lengthy to review all available formats, two interesting ones are: < forces all characters to be lowercase and > forces all characters to be uppercase.

Input Mask

Makes data entry easier and control the values users can enter. For example, you can use an Input Mask to automatically enter parenthesis and hyphens in phone numbers.


Provide helpful information to the user through captions on objects in various views. If you don’t specify a caption, the field’s Field Name property is displayed in table, form and report view.

Default Value

Automatically entered in a field when a new record is created. This is useful is most new records will have the same entry such as setting the State to VA. The Data Entry person can always override the default value.

Validation Rule

Specify requirements for data entered into a record, field, or control. This is helpful when data needs to be within a certain number range, for example.

Validation Text

When data is entered that violates the ValidationRule setting, you can use the this property to specify the message to be displayed to the user.


Specify whether a value is required in a field.

Allow Zero Length

Only for Text, Memo and Hyperlink table fields, you can use this property to specify whether a zero-length string (” “) is a valid entry in a table field. This field property works independently of the Required property. The Required property determines only whether a Null value is valid for the field. If the AllowZeroLength property is set to Yes, a zero-length string will be a valid value for the field regardless of the setting of the Required property.


An index speeds up queries on the indexed fields as well as sorting and grouping operations. If the primary key for a table is a single field, Microsoft Access will automatically set the Indexed property for that field to Yes (No Duplicates).

Unicode Compression

When set to Yes, any character whose first byte is 0 is compressed when it is stored and uncompressed when it is retrieved. This is simply a storage method. In Access 97 & earlier, each character consumer 1 byte of space. With Access 2000 and later, that number increased to 2 bytes. Unicode Compression is a means of counter-acting, when possible, the effects of the increased byte size of data in a Text, Memo or Hyperlink field.

IME (Input Method Editor) Mode

An Input Method Editor (IME) is a program that allows you to enter Asian text in programs by converting your keystrokes into Asian characters. In general, you should be fine leaving this property as “No Control.”

IME Sentence Mode

Property to specify or determine the IME Sentence Mode of fields of a table or controls of a form. This is used with IME Mode.

Smart Tags

You can save time by using smart tags to perform actions  in Microsoft Office Access 2003 that you’d usually open other programs to perform such as sending an email using Outlook. You can attach smart tags to a file in a table or query or to controls an a form or report.