Microsoft Access Tips for Serious Users

Provided by Allen Browne, October 2004.  Last updated March 2008.

Format check boxes in reports

Consider using a text box in place of a check box on reports. You can then display crosses or check marks, boxed or unboxed, any size, any color, with background colors, and even use conditional formatting.

The text box's Format property lets you specify a different format for negative values. Since, Access uses -1 for True, and 0 for False, the Format property lets you display any characters you want.

For this example, we use the check mark characters from the Wingdings font, since all Windows computers have this font installed.

The steps

  1. Open the report in design view.
  2. If you already have a check box on your report, delete it.
  3. Add a text box for your Yes/No field.
  4. Set these properties:
    Control Source:Name of your yes/no field here.
    Font Name:WingDings
    Width:0.18 in
  5. Type these characters into the Format property of the text box:

You can now increase the Font Size, set the Fore Color or Back Color, and so on.

The characters

Select the characters from this list:

Character Keypad number Description
Checked box Alt+0254 Checked box
Crossed box Alt+0253 Crossed box
Check mark Alt+0252 Check mark (unboxed)
Cross mark Alt+0251 Cross mark (unboxed)
Unchecked box Alt+0168 Unchecked box

To leave the text box blank for unchecked, omit the first character in the Format property, i.e. nothing before the semi-colon.

You can find other characters with the Character Map applet that comes with all versions of Windows. There are many other uses for these symbols, e.g. as graphics on your command buttons.

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