I.1. Visual Interface Standards

No matter how good your application is under the covers, people won't believe it if it doesn't look good. On the other hand, if your application looks great, people will think it is a good application. This reality about your user's perception of your Access application might not be fair, but you are going to have to deal with it. Luckily, it isn't too hard to make your application look as great on the outside as you made it inside.

I.1.1. Use Businesslike Colors

Please take our advice: Don't use a lot of colors on your Access forms. If you want your applications to look like they fit right in the Windows environment, you should use the colors that Windows uses. For the venerable Windows Standard color scheme, this means gray. However, you should actually make the colors of your forms adapt to the Windows scheme automatically.

For the background color of almost everything (forms, buttons, read-only text boxes, and so on), use the Windows default background color (which defaults to gray in Windows Standard). The numeric color value is −2147483633. Use white (color value 16777215) for the background of changeable fields.


Magic numbers: Access color properties use regular, positive numbers for normal static colors. All the "Windows" colors (that change automatically when the Windows scheme changes) are negative numbers.

To test your colors and make sure they aren't hard-coded to a certain color, change your Windows color scheme to something ...

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