Drop down lists in Access

Lookups in Microsoft Access

There are several places to create a drop down list in Microsoft Access. The lookup lists are very useful in avoiding typos and stopping disallowed entries being added to a database.

Combo Box Lookup

The Combo box drop down list is one of two display options available within lookup properties. The other option is a list box. The main difference between the two is how the data are displayed in forms or reports.

Looking up a table or query

Select the type of box you require, there are three options from the Row source area. The first option is a Table or query. The table/query option is used when there is an existing table or query holding the list. There is an option to create a new query on this line if required.

Value List option

The second option from the Row source line is a value list. A value list is used when you don’t have a table and want to type a short list. Each element in the list is separated by a semi colon.

Field List option

The final option is a field list. This option uses the fields from a second table as the lookup options. Items are added when new fields are added to the lookup table.

Limit to List

The limit to list option is used to restrict data entries that should not be in the list. For example a list of products. Only the products that are in the list can be used, not additional products.

Form Lookup

It is better to create the lookups at table level but they can be added to a form. There is a third option on a form which enables users to search for records.

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