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Formatting Years In Access

Ask how your end users of Access databases like to enter their dates.

Some users are firmly entrenched in the habit of typing dashes in their dates, while others prefer slashes; still others just want to type six digits and let the program fill in the dash or the slash automatically. Fortunately, you can accommodate almost any style of data entry by tweaking the Input Mask associated with your Date/Time field.

As you probably know, you can open your table in Design View, and click on the Date/Time field for which you want to customize the input mask. In the bottom half of the screen, click the General tab and then click the Build button (the gray button displaying an ellipsis) to launch the Input Mask Wizard. From there, you can view and experiment with the built-in masks and design your own.

In some cases, you'll want to force Access to display four-digit years, even if the input mask allows the user to enter only two digits for the year (e.g., to avoid ambiguity about a date). In Access 2000, you can make that change globally by going to Tools | Options and clicking the General tab. In the Use Four-Digit Year Formatting section, activate the check box for the option labeled All Databases, and click OK.

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