Image controls and object frames

There are three different ways of getting a graphic on a form in Microsoft Access. The three buttons are next to each other on the Form Design toolbar and can be confusing. Make sure that you pick the right one.

The three buttons have three different uses:

[Microsoft Access image tool] Image

The tool with the mountain puts a simple image on the form. This is the tool to use when you just want a static picture. Although this picture appears to be static, you can still write VBA code that will make it respond to a mouse click.

[Microsoft Access unbound object tool] Unbound object frame

The tool with the cactus puts an object on the form. An image is a type of object so you can use this tool to add an image to the form. The form will look the same as if you'd used the Image tool, but it is actually much more complicated and will run more slowly.

An image is a passive part of the form, an object is active. If you double-click on an object Access will open the appropriate tool to work with that object. If you double click on an image that has been added as an object, Access will open PaintBrush and allow you to edit the image. This complexity makes the form operate more slowly. Avoid the object tool unless you do want the user to be able to edit the image.

The object tool is not restricted to holding an image and you can use it where the user needs to edit something like a spreadsheet or a Word document from within the database.

[Microsoft Access bound object tool] Bound object frame

This tool looks very similar to the Unbound Object tool but it has the letters 'XYZ' above the cactus. It too puts an active object on the form but it reads that object from a field of type OLE Object in the table. Use this where the table holds a different image or document for each record.