by Igor Katenov, the lead developer at 10Tec
The problem: MS Access comes without a built-in grid control
The Microsoft Access development environment comes with a good set of intrinsic form controls such as ListBox and ComboBox, but you will not find a grid control among them. The MS Access grid control (DataGrid) used to browse MS Access tables and query results can be inserted as a grid control into forms using subforms (visit the link Microsoft DataGrid Control - interactive grid on a form to find out more). But this MS Access DataGrid is always data-bound and cannot give you great flexibility, especially if you need a user-friendly unbound grid in your interface.
We have the only choice if we need a versatile grid control on MS Access forms - we should use a 3rd-party grid control like our 10Tec iGrid grid control. Before we briefly highlight its main benefits compared to the built-in MS Access grid in this article below, just look what you can do if you use it as an MS Access grid control:
Main features of 10Tec iGrid on MS Access forms
We and our customers, who are using our grid control in MS Access, find the following features of 10Tec grid the most useful in this development environment:
- iGrid's cells can store values of any type as they are Variant - even within the same column.
- 10Tec grid control provides the users with multi-column sort feature. To use it, the user just clicks the required column headers holding down the SHIFT or CTRL key.
- The data can be sorted as case-sensitive or case-insensitive strings, by cell colors, images, etc. Custom sorting can be implemented in the case the built-in sort types are not enough.
- iGrid implements built-in grouping. The user can create group rows through the column header context menu.
- The cells of our grid control can be formatted using numerous options (vertical/horizontal alignment, word wrapping, ellipsis for truncated cell texts and the like).
- Every cell can contain text, image and check box.
- Font and color formatting can be applied to whole rows or individual cells dynamically, and this approach works very fast even for grids with 10000+ rows.
- iGrid displays a tooltip for truncated cell contents automatically, and this tooltip can be adjusted by the developer to display extended/detailed information.
- 10Tec iGrid allows you to implement drag-n-drop inside the same grid or between two grids, with the ability to display helper text while dragging an object:
- iGrid can work as a treegrid, when it displays a tree (treeview) in one of its columns.
Replacement for ListView ActiveX in MS Access
Many developers know that the ListView control from the MS Common Controls pack (MSCOMCTL.OCX) can be used to implement something similar to an unbound grid on MS Access forms. Even if the ListView ActiveX is put into report mode to emulate tabular data view, it has a lot of restrictions.
First of all, it is not an editable grid control. The next significant disadvantage of ListView, if we consider it as a candidate for MS Access grid control, is that ListView does not implement built-in sorting and grouping. ListView also has a series of small but annoying drawbacks like slow performance on big amounts of data and flickering (you can find out more about this in our article Editable ListView Replacement, iGrid).
If you are going to use ListView as a grid control in Microsoft Access, we strongly recommend that you check all requirements to the functionality of your future grid control and see whether ListView can be really used before you start your development.
Supported versions of MS Access (2003/2007/2010/2013/2016)
iGrid ActiveX is built on the same COM VB runtime library installed with MS Office VBA (MSVBVM60.DLL), and it works perfectly in all modern versions of MS Access 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 because of that. Actually, it can be also used in earlier versions of MS Office as well (97, 2000 and XP/2002).
The only drawback of iGrid is that it is 32-bit - because it is compiled in Visual Basic 6 which does not produce 64-bit executable code. Unfortunately, Microsoft broke the backward compatibility with 32-bit executable code in all 64-bit editions of MS Office. Thus, 10Tec grid which is not a 64-bit OCX grid control cannot be used in 64-bit editions of MS Access.
However, note that this concerns the 64-bit editions of MS ACCESS but not the whole WINDOWS OS. iGrid is successfully used as MS Access grid by many customers in 32-bit editions of MS Office in 64-bit Windows including Windows 7 and Windows 10. And even Microsoft recommends that all developers and customers use 32-bit editions of MS Office if there are no necessary requirements to use a 64-bit edition (an excerpt):
You can discover much more interesting features of iGrid available for you and your users if you use it as an MS Access grid control in the product section on this website: