Chapter 15. Help and Documentation

Thorough user documentation and user assistance are two features required of any commercial application, and even small workgroup applications can benefit from help documentation. If you don't have time to create complete documentation for your database application, a simple help feature can provide lots of benefits to your user, and reduce the amount of effort you need to provide in support of your users.

In this chapter, we discuss several strategies for providing assistance to end users. We show you how to:

  • Use intrinsic properties to control the status bar and control tips (tooltips) on forms and reports

  • Create and edit custom properties using VBA code

  • Create a context-sensitive help system using Access forms

  • Create a help system using HTML pages

  • Create HTML pages from data in an Access database

  • Create a help system using compiled help files

We will begin by looking at some of the built-in features for communicating with users through the Access user interface.

Documentation via Built-in Properties

Access objects have several properties that help you communicate the intention of the data fields in your application, as well as provide suggestions for how to enter or interpret data in form and report controls.

In addition to being beneficial to your users, consistent use of these properties can help you, the developer, when creating your application. Consider how many times you have returned to a project that you were away from for a long period of time, ...

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