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Forms: Changing the Background Color of the Current Record in a Continuous Form

James H Brooks

     Changing the Background Color in a continuous form is an often asked question in the Access Newsgroups. The following document shows how this can be done, and the methodology behind it.

     Download ConForm.zip

    This procedure will highlight the current row in a continuous form. Please see the notes at the end to learn what this procedure DOES NOT do.

    This sample is based on the "Products" table from the Northwinds Database.Changes will be noted so you may use this code in your own form.

  1. Create a new form based on the "Products" table.
  2. Add all fields from the products table to the form.
  3. Create the following Controls to the form

Name: CtlBack
Control Source: =IIf([SelTop]=[ctlCurrentLine],"лллллллллллл",Null)

    "л" is character 0219, the easiest way to enter this is to copy and paste from here. Format the font of this control as Terminal.

    Place this control on your form so that it is sized to cover the entire area where you would like the background to be. Experiment with the number of "л" characters as well as the font height to get complete coverage. Set the background to transparent. Set the foreground to whatever color you want your highlight color to be. Make sure the section background color is different from the highlight color.

    Next, for all the controls that will have the background highlight, select them all, change the background color to the highlight color, then change the background color to transparent. (Yes, this step is necessary).

    The following two controls can be placed anywhere, and be hidden. You may want to leave them visible to help in seeing how this works, then hide them when done.

Name: ctlCurrentLine
Control Source:=GetLineNumber()

Name: ctlCurrentRecordControl
Source: unbound

Add the following code behind the form:

'****************** Code Start *******************
' This code was originally written by James H Brooks.
' It is not to be altered or distributed,
' except as part of an application.
' You are free to use it in any application,
' provided the copyright notice is left unchanged.
' Code Courtesy of
' James H Brooks
Function GetLineNumber()
'The function "GetLineNumber" is modified from the Microsoft Knowledge Base
' (Q120913), the only difference here is that the following items have been hard
'coded:F, KeyName, KeyValue. This was done to add a slight performance
'increase. Change KeyName and KeyValue to reflect the key in your table.

Dim RS As Recordset
Dim CountLines
Dim F As Form
Dim KeyName As String
Dim KeyValue

Set F = Form
KeyName = "productid"
KeyValue = [ProductID]

         On Error GoTo Err_GetLineNumber
         Set RS = F.RecordsetClone
         ' Find the current record.
         Select Case RS.Fields(KeyName).Type
            ' Find using numeric data type key value.
            DB_DOUBLE, DB_BYTE
               RS.FindFirst "[" & KeyName & "] = " & KeyValue
            ' Find using date data type key value.
            Case DB_DATE
               RS.FindFirst "[" & KeyName & "] = #" & KeyValue & "#"
            ' Find using text data type key value.
            Case DB_TEXT
               RS.FindFirst "[" & KeyName & "] = '" & KeyValue & "'"
            Case Else
            MsgBox "ERROR: Invalid key field data type!"
               Exit Function
               End Select
         ' Loop backward, counting the lines.
         Do Until RS.BOF
            CountLines = CountLines + 1
Bye_GetLineNumber:               ' Return the result.
         GetLineNumber = CountLines
         Exit Function
      CountLines = 0
      Resume Bye_GetLineNumber
End Function

Private Sub Form_Click()
   Me!ctlCurrentRecord = Me.SelTop
End Sub

Private Sub Form_Current()
   Me!ctlCurrentRecord = Me.SelTop
End Sub
'****************** Code End *******************

How the code works:

    When you open the form, the GetLineNumber function gets the record number for each record and assigns its value to "ctlCurrentLine". As you move from record to record, the code "Me!ctlCurrentRecord = Me.SelTop" changes the value of "ctlcurrentRecord" to the current record number (See Access help for more on "SelTop"). The code in "ctlBack" compares "SelTop" to the"ctlCurrentLine" value and only changes the highlight if the two are equal.These values will only be equal for the current record. The highlighting works by formatting the Terminal Font character 219 (a box, you can use any font box character, but Terminal is more likely to be on any machine) to the highlight color. Because all the controls on the form are transparent, this formatting shows through as a background to the controls.


    Although at first glance it may look like the control "ctlCurrentRecord" is not needed, it actually is to force the record numbers to update as you move from record to record.The code as written will detect movement to a row from the following: a mouse or keyboard click, clicking the record selector (through Form_Click), and using the Record Navigation bar. If you move to rows through code, you may need to make modifications to highlight the row.

    Performance is affected by the speed of the machine. On slower machines you will note that the individual cell highlight shows first, then the whole row becomes highlighted.

    The are many things that can be done with a continuous form, such as allowing deletions, edits, additions, etc. This code generically handles navigation through the form only. To account for how your form is actually set up, you would need to modify your form to detect each of the above events, and refresh accordingly. Anytime you change the underlying records of the form, you will need to call "GetLineNumber" (one way to do this is through Form.Refresh). Since there is a performance hit in doing this, only use this for those operations that are allowed on your form.

Љ 1998-2010, Dev Ashish & Arvin Meyer, All rights reserved. Optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer