Site log analysis indicated, that a lot of people come here to find some answers about continuous forms. So, we decided to create this FAQ, to answer all questions you may have about that continuous forms.


Microsoft Access continuous form is a special form type, when entire form design is repeated for each record of the data source. It gives you ability to make something different to usual “table-view” approach, hovever you are still limited to “striped” design.

Core problem

Access doesn’t create separate form object for each record. It just makes one form to draw several times with different data. This leads to following limitations:

  • Any changes to form controls or properties thru VBA affects appearence of all the records
  • Event handlers you suppose to be executed for every record, execute only for the first one
  • It is restricted to place ActiveX controls on continuous form

There is no ways to bypass this limitations directly. Remark: this limitations doesn’t apply to header and footer of the form – because it is not dublicated.


Once we made thru basics, lets answer the questions. If you have question not being answered here, don’t hesistate to ask it at the bottom of the page.

How can I make controls to look different in different records?

The only way is to use Format->Conditional Formatting feature. In Access 2007 you can put right mouse button on the row title in table view to reach it. Sure, its limited alot, but there is no much choice here.

How can I show pictures from database?

All the methods that utilize regular data-bound controls are valid. You can use Bound Object Frame, in Access 2007 – Attachments and Image controls. However, you can’t use any VBA scripting with em.

How can I show some conditional data or pictures?

The only way to achieve this is to build custom queries, that perform checks and calculations you need and prepare data to show.

How can I show pictures, that are stored externally?

In Access 2007 there is an improvement to regular Image control. It will display image from file, if you bind it to the field or expression that provides image path and filename. This works in continuous forms too.

In pre-2007 versions of Access you need to have picture previews saved in your database as OLE data type. AccessImagine control handles their creation and maintaining easily.

How can I do something, that Access limitations doesn’t allow me to do?

If there is no tricks to save the situation, people usually mimic continuous forms, creating a form that displays several records at once with paging buttons. There are 2 downsides of this approach. First – it requires a lot of VBA coding. Second – you loose all the built-in features users can utilize to any Access form – sorting, search and filters.

Try to avoid this path until you have some time to waste.

Not found an answer you need? Post a question at the bottom!