Most labels have a bit of text on a white background, which is functional for most purposes. Occasionally, you might want to jazz things up a bit by displaying a graphic. For instance, you might want to include an event or company logo on nametags. Using Access, you'd create the label report, insert the graphic, and run the labels. It's not as difficult as it might sound.
To illustrate this simple technique, we'll use the Employees table in Northwind (the sample database that comes with Access):
- Select the Employees table in the Navigation pane (that's the Database window in Access 2003).
- Click the Create tab and then click Labels in the Report group to launch the report wizard. (In Access 2003, choose Report from the New Object button's dropdown list and double-click Label Wizard.)
- In the first pane, identify the labels by manufacturer product number or by size. For instance, I chose Avery USA 5371. (You can also create a custom label.) Click Next to continue.
- In the next pane, you can format the data, but for this example, just click Next. When applying this technique to your own labels, you'll might want to take the time to apply specific formats. You can also format fields later.
- In the next pane, you determine the data printed on each label. In this case, enter the text "Hello! My name is:" to the first line, press return several times and add the FirstName and LastName, separated by a space character. Then, add the JobTitle field to the next line.
- Click Next twice.
- Name the report Employee Nametags.
- Check the Modify The Label Design option, and click Finish.
If the wizard adds blank fields between the introductory text and the actual name fields, just select them and press Delete. Adding the graphic is just as easy. With the label report still in Design view, do the following to add the graphic:
- Click the contextual Design tab (if necessary).
- In the Controls group, click the Insert Image dropdown and choose Browse. (In Access 2003, click the Image control on the Toolbox.)
- Locate and select the graphic file you want to insert.
- Click OK and then drag inside the label report to insert and size the graphic.
You didn't think it'd be quite so easy did you? At this point, you have all the pieces and you can spend a little time formatting the text and moving the graphic around to get just the right balance. If the graphic obscures the text a bit, send it to the background by right-clicking it, choosing Position, and then selecting Send To Back.
If necessary, you can make the background of your fields transparent to allow the graphic to bleed through. To do so, right-click the text control, choose Fill/Back Color, and select Transparent. Doing so lets you create a layered effect, similar to a watermark.
Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.