Access has a good report generator. It’s easy to use and performs well for the most part. You might think that a cover sheet or title page would be a built-in feature, but it isn’t. The hard way to add a cover sheet is to use Word and then collate the pieces manually. Fortunately, it only takes a little manual greasing to get what you need from Access.
This simple technique will work with any report, as long as there’s nothing in the report’s header section. If you need the report header for something else, it won’t work. You want only cover sheet material in the report’s header. To create a cover sheet for any report, do the following:
- Open the report in Design view.
- If the report's header section isn’t visible, open it by choosing Report Header/Footer from the View menu. If it’s visible but closed, open the section a bit.
- Double-click the Report Header title bar and choose the After Section option from the Force New Page property. This will force Access to display anything that follows the header content on a new page. If you click Print Preview at this point, you’ll see an empty page at the beginning of your report.
- Add a label control and enter the report’s title or whatever text you want on your cover sheet. Alternately, add a bound text box if you’re displaying existing data. You may need more than one control to complete the page.
- To format the text correctly between the top and bottom page margins, simply move the control up or down in the header section. You may need to preview the report a few times to find just the right spot.
- Once you have the controls properly spaced between the top and bottom of the page, you might want to align the text between the right and left margins. To do so, simply stretch the right and left borders of the control to the page margins. You want a control that stretches the entire width of your report page.
- Select the control and click the appropriate alignment tool on the Formatting toolbar. Most of the time, you'll center the text, but the control will handle any alignment format.
If you change the report’s width, you must adjust the width of the controls on the cover sheet. It only takes a little effort and it’s certainly easier than the alternative.
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.