Customizing the Navigation Pane

Originally introduced in Access 2007, the Access Navigation Pane replaced the previous database window and is much more customizable and flexible than its predecessor. Not only does the Navigation Pane allow the user to see the database objects by an Object Type grouping, but it also provides many other types of groupings, allows users to create custom categories and groups, and to expand and collapse those groups, and even allows database objects to have aliases to show different names than their actual object names in the database. This lesson discusses the basics of building custom Navigation Pane settings and attempts to show how they can be applied to an Access database application.


This lesson is designed to provide a basic overview of working with the Access Navigation Pane settings. The only requirements are that you be familiar with the different types of database objects and you have a database (such as the Northwind database) to begin working with the Navigation Pane settings. Otherwise, this lesson does not require any other specific knowledge of Access.


The Access Navigation Pane provides an entry point to the Navigation Options dialog, which is the Access UI for working with all of the Navigation Pane options. The following steps describe how to open the Navigation Pane options in Access 2010:

  1. Open any database in Access 2010.
  2. If the Navigation Pane is not expanded, click it to expand the ...

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