Use custom field headers to create more professional Access reports

Query-based reports give you the opportunity to turn those unfriendly field names into better-looking headers. See how this quick tweak can polish up your reports.

When you run a report, the report field headers are based on the field names in the source table. If you base your report on a query, you have an opportunity to change the field headers. For example, say you're basing your report on a query that includes the fields CompanyName, ContactName, and ContactTitle. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the query in Design mode.
  2. Right-click the CompanyName field and select Properties.
  3. Click in the Caption property box and type Client Company.
  4. Right-click the ContactName field and select Properties  (Figure A).

Figure A

client name

  1. Click in the Caption property box and type Name (Figure B).

Figure B


  1. Right-click the ContactTitle field and select Properties.
  2. Click in the Caption property box and type Title.
  3. Run the Query (Figure C).

Figure C

report query

Although the query results and any report based on the query use the new caption names, the field names remain unchanged in the source table.

Miss an Access tip?

Check out the Microsoft Access archive and catch up on other Access tips.

Help users increase productivity by automatically signing up for TechRepublic's free Microsoft Office Suite newsletter, featuring Word, Excel, and Access tips, delivered each Wednesday.


a better habit to get in to is to put the standard column heading in the CAPTION property at table design time. I've always taught students and co-workers that field NAMES should be short and easy to remember, without using keywords (like "NAME" or "DATE"), the CAPTION property should be used for column headings, and the caption property in a query that is a report source should be used if the recipient has another 'name' for the field. Useful when the same data is viewed by more than one operational department, for example.

Editor's Picks