It’s much easier to enter phone numbers if you don’t have to
type the hyphens and parentheses. Did you know that you can configure Microsoft
Access to enter those special characters for you? You just need to tweak the
field’s Input Mask property.

To create an input mask for a phone number field, follow
these steps:

  1. Open
    the table in Design View, and select the Phone field.
  2. In
    the Field Properties window, click the Input Mask text box.
  3. Click
    the builder button to the right of the text box.
  4. Click
    Next to select the suggested phone number mask.
  5. Click
    Next to select the suggested placeholder, and click Finish.

Now, to enter a phone number, just move to the field, and
type the numbers. The special characters will appear automatically.

If the suggested mask isn’t appropriate, you can add your
own mask to the list provided. For example, suppose you want Access to format
phone numbers as 206-555-0000.

In the first Input Mask Wizard window, click the Edit List
button. Delete the parentheses, and add a hyphen to the existing input mask.
Retype the sample data, and click Close. Go through the rest of the wizard to
enter the new mask into the field’s properties.

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