Thursday, February 25, 2016

Report Gridlines

I don't normally create reports in my databases because I prefer to export the data into Excel or other format, so that the user can further analyze them. However, I have seen enough questions in the forums regarding "drawing lines" on a report that made me think maybe some people were not aware of this feature.

Gridlines, if I am not mistaken, were added as a feature starting with Access version 2007 (in conjunction with the Layouts). Essentially, it's a new way of drawing border lines around the controls on a report. For example, take a look at Figure 1.

Figure 1 shows a typical setup if the user wanted an Excel or datasheet look for the data displayed on the report. This is typically done by turning on the border for each control. However, if any of the controls has its Can Grow property set to Yes, then we might get the result shown in Figure 2.

Prior to having the Layouts and Gridlines features, most developers resort to using the Line method to draw lines on the report to achieve something similar to what we see in Figure 3. But with Layouts and Gridlines, no code is necessary.

To achieve the effect shown in Figure 3, we just need to select all the controls in the Details section and apply a Layout, Tabular in this case (see Figure 4).

So we're done, right? But wait, the title of this article is about "Gridlines," so what's so good about them? Well, I'm glad you asked. Take a look at Figure 5 to see the difference between how the gridlines are drawn in relation to how the borders are drawn on the report.

As you can see in Figure 5, the gridlines are drawn in between each row (and column, not shown) of data. So how is that better? Well, take a look at Figure 6 where we turned off all the borders and just used gridlines.

Again, the lines shown in Figure 6 were used to be achievable only by using the Line method in previous versions of Access. But now, it is a lot easier to create lines without using code by using the Layouts and Gridlines features.

Now we're done. Hope you find this article informative. All comments are welcome. Thank you!

Original post date: August 6, 2015


  1. I have spent HOURS.. no DAYS trying to replicate exactly what my "client" wanted... an excel style grid... used lines... now I know better... thanks!!!

    1. Thank you for your comment. Glad to hear you found it useful. Good luck with your project.