Sunday, 29 April 2012

Access Look Through Query Code

Generally I just post topics where I have been doing some research for work and self-learning purposes so today we will look at how to manipulate the SQL code of an Access Database Query and also how to change/view table names in VBA code. While working as an IT developer I had to do the following:

Replicate a database and change all the table names in queries to suit the new requirements; the code was to stay the same but only the data sources were to change.
In this instance a lot of the queries referenced a linked table and so by copying the DB I have to take the old table offline, clear the data and then create a new link to the other table; I cannot use the old table reference.

If you have a local table (not linked) in the Access database and you rename it, the renamed table will appear in all queries that reference it.

So with a linked table even when you delete it it will still appear in the query design, but the query will usually exhibit a "can't represent the join expression between LinkedTable.ID = LocalTable.ID" when you go to design view.

To get round this go into the visual basic editor (Usually tools > macro > visual basic editor in 2003 Access or Developer ribbon > visual basic editor in 2007/10 Access)

Create a new module, or use an existing module and enter the code below to get a taster of what you can do:

Simply create a new subroutine with any name you like - respecting design rules of course

Public Sub TableNamesInQueries()
Dim qdf As QueryDef
Dim sqlCode As String
Dim db As Database
Set db = CurrentDb()

For Each qdf In db.QueryDefs
sqlCode = qdf.sql
MsgBox "Query code = " & qdf.sql
Next qdf

End Sub

So here you can loop through each query and display the code in a mesage box. If you want to manipulate the code and say replace the table name you can use this in place of the message box:

If InStr(sqlCode, "Dates") Then
qdf.sql = Replace(sqlCode, "Dates", "New_Table_Name")
msgbox "New Code = " & qdf.sql
End If

 It is best to put a message box in at first to display your new SQL code so that you are confident that what you are designing is performing exactly the changes you want. Then when you are confident it is correct you can run the code with out performing a check every time.

You can also do a similar bit of code if you want to rename local table names just change it to:

Public Sub tableNames()
Dim tdf As TableDef
Dim tblName As String
Dim db As Database
Set db = CurrentDb()

For Each tdf In db.TableDefs
tblName =
MsgBox "Table name = " &
Next tdf

End Sub
 You can also exclude tables with system names and also linked tables if you want to only loop through local tables.

To exclude linked tables check for a connection string larger than 0, which is what a linked table will have:

If Len(tdf.connect) > 0 then
'Ignore this table
End if

To exclude system tables and temp tables check for "msys" or "~" characters in the name:

if instr(, "~") or instr(, "msys") then
'ignore and continue to check other names or process info
end if

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Using VBA

In Excel for example you can use VB code to manipulate certain things within the rows/columns and objects or even work with external data sources to import data and display it on the sheet. For example here is a simple bit of code to press a button on the sheet, bring up a dialog box where the user inputs a new sheet name and then a log is written in the spreadsheet of when the name was last changed and to what value. Here I am using 2003 Excel.

'New sub routine created with name reflective of the work to be done

Sub ChangeSheetName()

'Define variable to hold input from user

Dim NewName As String

'Firstly populate the variable with the user input then process

NewName = InputBox("Enter the new name of the sheet")

'Check if the variable is empty if so exit the sub
'If the value input by user is not empty then set the active sheet to this value
'Put a line of text in the first cell of the sheet
'then add current date to next cell
'then add the value that the sheet name was set to in the next cell
'in each of those processes do an autofit for the column so that log note
'looks like a sentence

If NewName = "" Then
 Exit Sub
 With ActiveSheet
  .Name = NewName
  Selection.Value = "This sheet's name was last changed on the :"
  Selection.Value = "=now()"
  Selection.Value = "To: " & NewName
 End With
End If
End Sub

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Using Dialog Result

If you are asking the user to confirm or cancel details, say you have a validation check on a textbox for instance, which is a system check to confirm the correct syntax etc is correct, for instance a phone number entered is in the format XXXX XXX XXXX. Now you want to display a message box asking the user to confirm that the number, say 0123 456 7890 is correct, this the number you meant to put in?

Do you see the two checks here?:

System check for correct format
User check of actual number entered

No point in doing this the other way round if you see what I mean? That is, ask user to confirm number and then validate the format of it. If the format is wrong then the user input will be wrong anyway, they might have put in a letter instead of a number for instance.

It might be an idea to start a simple VB project with a form and a text box if you don't already have one.Start up your new project as below. Call it anything you want, DialogTest or TestDialog, anything.

So you want to finally ask the user if this is the correct value they have put in before they move on. It can be a pain to be asked these things but many do not understand how useful this type of "interruption" is! It can save so many problems later on down the road.

Put a button and textbox on your form as below:

Now to open your code window while selecting the correct event for the button press action simply double-click the button on the form design. Each control (Button, text box etc) has a default event, in this case the button has a default event ButtonClick. Once you double click you should see something like this in yourcode window:

Note that I have put an underscore at the end of top line on the event handler (The bit between private sub and end sub) and cut the rest of the line down under the top line to see the whole event details. Yours will be all in one line but you can do this too so that it looks neater and you can read it in one screen.

Now declare a variable of type integer. Integer because it will be holding whole numbers like 5, 6, 7 etc Call it what you like but in this case you could use MsgAnswer or similar. Declare it within the button click event as shown:

You will get a squiggly line under the variable or any variable you are not yet using, this doesn't mean an error it just means the variable is unused as of this point.

Now Add a small statement to show a message box (when button is clicked) asking the user if the value they put in the text box is correct. Code like this:

MessageBox.Show("Is the value " & txt1.Text & "  Correct")

Note: your textbox (txt1) may have a different name property so be sure to change that or you will get an error message by copying this line. Default is usually Text1. So if you have not changed it's name in the properties list you would instead put:

MessageBox.Show("Is the value " & Text1.Text & "  Correct")

Can you see the difference?

You can see the final code below for this part of the excercise:

Run this code using the F5 button just to get a feel for what is happening so far. Put in a name and press the button. You will get a small message box with an OK button asking Is the value Correct?

At this point you only have an Ok button, but you want to have a cancel and OK button. To do this got to the end of the line of code in the messagebox and put two commas, with a string value after the first one as below:

MessageBox.Show("Is the value " & Text1.Text & "  Correct",  "User Check Value", ) 

After the last comma press the space bar and you should see a list of different options pop up. Pick MessageBoxButtons.OKCancel

If the user is happy with the value they have entered then you do not want to do anything, otherwise highlight the text so they can easily fix the value. proceed to assign the messagebox value to the variable you declared. The messagebox returns an integer value depending on the option picked (Yes/Cancel).

so your code will now look like:

MsgAnswer = MessageBox.Show("Is the value " & txt1.Text & "  Correct", "User Check Value", MessageBoxButtons.OKCancel)

And also add this IF statement:

If MsgAnswer = Windows.Forms.DialogResult.Cancel Then
            txt1.Focus() '
Sets focus to the text box
            txt1.SelectionStart = 0 '
Sets the selection to the start of the text box
            txt1.SelectionLength = txt1.Text.Length ' Selects the length = to the length of the text in the box
End If

So now if you run it you will see that if you press cancel on the message box it will highlight the text in the textbox and you can enter a new value. If you say OK it will not do anything.

This was just a simple exercise to show you how the messagebox value returned from user interaction can be use to do something else depending on the answer returned. As you are probably aware the scope of this is much larger than use it has been put to in this example.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Using the IIF Statement

For those that aren't aware the definition 'IIF' may seem like a spelling mistake but VB uses a statement called the IIF statement to compare an input and return either of two values. It is, in effect, a shorthand was of doing:

If Value = condition THEN 
  Do Something here

  Do something else

It is generally used for assigning values to variables or calling another routine rather than processing large pieces of code. The terminology is:

IIF(Input = (Value), Dothis, ElseDoThis)

And you can asign the value to something like on a form. So for example in VB create a form with a 2 text boxs and a label as below:

Text box 1 is the left box. The second text box is to give something you can tab to and fire the validate event.

On the form right click and pick view code. In the code window from the left drop down box you will see the text box name, pick this then in the right hand drop down list pick the event Validating. You will now see the following:

In this event put the following code:

lbl1.Text = IIf(txt1.Text = "Y", "Answer is Yes.", "Answer is no.")

Remember your label and textbox are usually called 'label1' etc but you can change this too what you prefer, I use lbl1 and txt1 as they are shorter to type. 

So with this code you are assigning to the label whatever the IIF statement evaluates every time you tab from the first text box to the next.

If you enter 'Y' the label will get assigned a string of text "Answer is Yes.", any other value and the label will get assigned to it the value "Answer is No."

Save your design and then run it. Put 'Y' in the box and then tab to the next text box and watch what gets put in the label.

If you want to make sure that an upper case 'Y' always gets put in, even if the input is a small case 'y' then you can do use the upper case function in the code:

lbl1.Text = (IIf(UCase(txt1.Text) = "Y", "Answer is Yes.", "Answer is no."))

This just means that anything you put in the textbox will be changed to upper case. This will then handle a user putting in both upper case and lower case 'Y' and 'N'.

Some other things you can do is go to the first text box's properties and change the maxlength value from 32k to 1. This will mean you can only put in a single value. This will help us as we do not need to code as much to check that only a single character value has been put in. As below, look at the highlighted portion in the properties window, bottom right:

Now you may wonder if there is an easier way of doing this rather than having a second text box to allow validating, which then runs the code because the code is in the validate event handler. Validating only works when you are exiting a control such as a text box so to run your code without having to leave the text box you can use the textChanged event instead of the validating event. You can see the code in the new event handler below:

If you are unsure how to pick a certain event then see here for picking from the drop down lists in the code window. Example shows picking form load event but the principle is the same. You pick the control from the left drop down and then the associated event from the right drop down, have a look at the screen shots to see how in the link. You can also delete the second text box as there's no need for it now.

Now that we have our code in the new event we want to try it out so save the project and then run it. Notice how only a 'y' or a  'Y' changes the answer to "Answer is Yes"?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Using Functions

In this post I am going to explain the fundamentals of a function in your code, how to pass parameters in the function and return values back to the calling code.

So you might have a bit of code where in part of that code you might want to check a certain condition before you continue, and to do this you may need to go to another class etc to check this. So you may have the following in a click button event for checking a name exists:

Dim fName as string ' Declare variable

fName = firstNameInput.text  ' Whatever the first name value is will be assigned to the fName variable for use in the function
Dim sName as String ' Declare variable
sName = surNameInput.text ' Whatever the last name value is will be assigned to the sName variable for use in the function
Dim Variable As String ' Declare variable
vCheckName = txtBox1.text Whatever is typed (Y/N) in the text box is then assigned to the variable

If vCheckName= "Y" Then ' When you click the button this will check if Y/N is put in the text box and call function

    If  Person.CallNameCheck(fName, sName) = True Then  ' Call this function with the variable values passed as the parameters to use to check if the person exists etc
         ' Do something
        ' Do something else
    End If
End If

Notice the code above saying:

Person.CallNameCheck(fName, sName) = True

In the Person class, which is where the function is you will find something like this:

Function CallNameCheck(varFName as String, varLName as string) As Boolean

' Code to gather information and check name goes in function and uses function parameters passed
' What would generally happen here is that the data where the names reside (DB or collection)
' would be gathered and looped through. If there was a name matching the one passed through
' the parameters of the function then something like a number count would be incremented
' and an If statement would determine if that number was more than 0 then True would be returned
' The if statement would be something like as follows:

If Count = 1 then
  CallNameCheck = True
  CallNameCheck = False
End If

This would then return true or false to the original condition i.e. This part:

If vCheckName= "Y" Then '

    If  Person.CallNameCheck(fName, sName) = True Then  ' Check if True or False
         ' Do something if True is returned
        ' Do something else if False is returned
    End If
End If

If it was false then the code would go to the 'Else' statement, do whatever it has to do then exit out of the final IF statement.

This is basically what you use a function for.

Note: a function returns a certain value (True/False in this instance) to the calling statement whereas a procedure does not.

And also note that the function's parameter names can and usually do differ in the actual function itself to that, which is passed from the calling code. So in this case:

fName = varFName
sName = varLName

 It is simply because the variables used in the calling code use different named variables than that to the code where the function resides. These values (varFName, varLName) would maybe be used to be passed to a database procedure which would run and check the names against the values you passed.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Using Check Boxes

A check box is a simple control that allows the user to tick a box to mean they want a certain action performed. It is similar to thinking either true or false, or 1 or 0, and is actually used in this fashion in programming techniques.

When a checkbox is checked its CheckState property is set to 1 and when unchecked to 0.

If you want to have some code run when the checkbox CheckState is changed then you can use the following event:

CheckBox1_CheckStateChanged event.

In this event you can code for both a 1 and 0 event (Checked and Unchecked).

The CheckStateChanged event does not know itself what value the checkbox is at. all it knows is that it has changed. You have to read the properties of the checkbox to find that out. So if you wanted to do something depending on the state of the Checkbox (1, 0) you would maybe have an IF statement saying:

Note comments follow a single quote (')
If CheckBox1.CheckState = 1 Then  ' Meaning it has been ticked
  'do something such as run a procedure or function etc
Else ' Can only mean the checkstate is otherwise 0
 ' Do some other operation
End If

This code woul be in the CheckStateChanged event handler meaning that whenever the check state changes run the code inside the event handler. The full code is below:

Private Sub CheckBox1_CheckStateChanged(ByVal sender As Object, _
    ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles CheckBox1.CheckStateChanged

       If CheckBox1.CheckState = 1 Then  ' Meaning it has been ticked

           'do something such as run a procedure or function etc
      Else ' Can only mean the checkstate is otherwise 0

          ' Do some other operation
      End If
End Sub


Instead of using CheckBox1.CheckState = 1 you can also use:

CheckBox1.CheckState = CheckState.Checked

For 0 you can use:
CheckBox1.CheckState = CheckState.Unchecked

Which is the same as:
CheckBox1.CheckState = 0

This may seem slightly confusing and a pointless thing to have different notation meaning the same thing but it is essential to learn that these things exist in all code, and you have to learn how to spot them and understand what they mean.

Setting a Different Mouse Pointer

To use different mouse pointers such as a hand or a cross-hair when the cursor is moved over a control (Button for example) you simply set the Cursor property of the control that you want to see a different pointer on. So if you wanted to see a hand pointer on a button you would set the button's Cursor property and pick the pointer that you want to see when the mouse cursor is over that control.

Some designers like to do this as it gives a visual indication to the user that you can press the button, and when you move the cursor off the button it goes back to a simple pointer.

The default setting is a pointer on the form and on all the controls.

You can also set it programmatically by using the mouse enter event handler on a control such as a button as follows:

Private Sub btn2_MouseEnter(ByVal sender As Object, _
    ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles btn2.MouseEnter
        btn2.Cursor = Cursors.Hand
    End Sub

Pick the button from the drop down list at the top left in your code window and it will automatically populate the non-bold code above into your code editor window. You then put the code in, shown in bold above.