How can I get a form in an Access database to let me use images in a dropdown as the choices?
March 25, 2010 1:11 PM   Subscribe

How can I get a form in an Access database (I'd like to make a web app, but my hands are tied and I must use Access) to let me use images in a dropdown as the choices?

I'm familiar with actual database software and can write some VB if that's the path I need to take. Right now I've got one table (Assessment) with several fields, the majority of them being lookups of other tables and queries. For one field, it's looking up a query called AvailableAssessmentSkillChoices. This query has a few fields, Choice (text), Image (OLE Object), Sort Order (Number) and ID (AutoNumber). I have no problem making the field Assessment table lookup this query.

My issue is, I'd like to make the Image what's displayed in the dropdown on the form, preferably without the Choice field, though I'll settle for displaying Image and then the Choice field next to it. What am I overlooking? I have no problem making any other field or combination of fields what I see in the dropdown. Or is this just yet another reason I don't want to use Access?
posted by Brian Puccio to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
It will be helpful to know what version of Access you are using.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:50 PM on March 25, 2010

This being Microsoft you most likely are able to use 3rd party UI controls in your solution although many of them are going to cost money.
posted by mmascolino at 2:45 PM on March 25, 2010

Sorry, 2007.

Money is out of the question. (Enough money to buy Office, but not enough money or whatever to use a billion open source or free alternatives that would let me make a similar end product. I don't get this place.) I've found some.

posted by Brian Puccio at 3:10 PM on March 25, 2010

If your query includes both the lookup's bound field and the OLE object field, you can have your selection box, as well as a text box who's control source is the OLE object. Your text box should automatically update based on the selection made in the lookup field.

If the query cannot include the both the lookup's bound field and the OLE object field without impairing the form's functionality, you might consider having two dropdowns, one for the selection, the other strictly for display purposes. Remember, the bound column in a dropdown does not have to be the displayed column (set the bound column width to "0," and the next column is automatically selected for display). So bind both dropdowns to the same field, then arrange things so that the selection box displays the relevant selection field, but the 'display' combo box defaults to the OLE object. Then protect the 'display' combo box from things like tab stop & click selection, so people don't mess with it.

I'm sure there's more elegant solutions, but I've used both of these to good effect in 3 different versions of Access, including 2007.
posted by Ys at 4:13 PM on March 25, 2010

Thanks, Ys. Maybe I'm dense (or just not used to Access), but when I set the bound column width to 0, the next column is the Image column, but all it shows me is "OLE Object", not the actual image. Here's a screenshot since I may not be explaining this clearly.

posted by Brian Puccio at 6:26 AM on March 26, 2010

I think I've seen that before, with pictures & dropdowns. You may have to go a textbox route, rather than the easier dropdown route. Unfortunately, my home computer doesn't have Access installed. But if I get within striking distance of a computer that does, and if you haven't gotten the problem resolved, I will see what I can do about remembering how to get around the problem.
posted by Ys at 9:31 AM on March 26, 2010

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