Learn Microsoft Access Advanced Programming Techniques, Tips and Tricks.




We can search for Microsoft Access database files on disk by selecting the File - - > Open option from the main menu.  But, if we want to search, select, and open some other file from the disk then how do we do that?  If we are able to do that then what do we do with those File(s) in Access? Well, we can create a Hyperlink to the file and store it in a data field or use the FileCopy function to make a copy of it into a different location.

Demo Run Preview

Anyway, let us get to work with the first part. But before that, a preview of the Run of our Project is shown below:

Designing a Demo Form

Open a Database from your Computer or from the Network Drive.

Let us design a small Form with the Common Dialog Control, a Textbox, and a Command Button with a few lines of VBA Code for our project.  The design will look like the image given below. 

Tip: You can download a demo database from the bottom of this page.

The rectangular-shaped object on the left side is the Common Dialog control inserted from the ActiveX control group. when the user clicks on the Browse. . . button the dialog box like the first image above opens up.

Now let us get to work.

  1. Open a new Form and Create a Text-Box Control, wide enough to hold the Path and Filename selected from the disk.
    • Change the Caption of the child label to File Path Name.
    • Select the Textbox control, display the property sheet (F4), and change the Name property value to lbldb.
  2. Create a Command Button as shown in the above Design, display its Property Sheet, and change the following property values as shown below:
    • Name = cmdBrowse
    • Caption = Browse. . .
  3. Now it is time to bring in the real hero element of our design: the Microsoft Common Dialog Control, to do that follow the procedure given below:
    • Select ActiveX Control from Insert Menu
    • You will find a List of ActiveX Controls opens up, scroll down and select the Microsoft Common Dialog Control, and Click OK. If you didn't meet any trouble on the way out after clicking the OK button you will find a square-shaped control sitting on your Form. If your MS-Office installation is not properly done it is likely that you may end with a message like 'this ActiveX DLL is not registered, re-install it or something similar.

    Display the Property Sheet of the Common Dialog Control and change the Name property to cmDialog1. You can place it anywhere at your convenience, it will not be visible when you activate your Form.

  4. Click on the Command Button to select it.
  5. Display the Property Sheet (F4).
  6. Click on the On Click Event property and select [Event Procedure] from the drop-down control.
  7. Click on the build (. . .) button to open the VBA Module Window of the form.

The VBA Code

  • Copy the Following Visual Basic Code and paste it, over-writing the existing empty procedure lines, into the Module, and save the Form.
  • Private Sub cmdBrowse_Click()
    Dim VFile As String
    On Error GoTo cmdBrowse_Click_Err
    ChDrive ("C") 
    ChDir ("C:\")
      cmDialog1.Filter = "All Files (*.*)|*.*| _ Text Files (*.txt)|*.txt|Excel WorkBooks (*.xls)|*.xls"  cmDialog1.FilterIndex = 1
      cmDialog1.Action = 1
      If cmDialog1.FileName =  "" Then
      VFile = cmDialog1.FileName 
      Me!lbldb = VFile
      End If  
      Exit Sub
      MsgBox Err.Description, , "cmdBrowse_Click"
      Resume cmdBrowse_Click_Exit
    End Sub 

    Test Run

    Open the Form in normal view and click on the Browse button. The File Browsing Control, that we have seen on the top of this page, will open up. Select a file from any location you like and click Open. The selected file with its complete location address will be inserted into the Text Box control.


    Download Demo FileBrowser.zip



    1. I know you posted this some 3 years ago but a client of mine needed maintenance in an Access application and this saved me a lot of time. Thank you for the tutorial and the SIMPLE way of making this work. Other tutorials were huge.

      Thanks again!

    2. I like the form but it doesnt work, it gives me the error message" object doesnt support this property or method"

    3. You may try the following Code, if you are using MS-Access 2003. This sample code you can find on the Code Module of Employees Form in NorthWind.mdb database. The Program is run from the Add/Remove Button click on the Form.

      Private Sub AddPicture_Click()
      ' Use the Office File Open dialog to get a file name to use
      ' as an employee picture.
      End Sub

      Sub getFileName()
      ' Displays the Office File Open dialog to choose a file name
      ' for the current employee record. If the user selects a file
      ' display it in the image control.
      Dim fileName As String
      Dim result As Integer
      With Application.FileDialog(msoFileDialogFilePicker)
      .Title = "Select Employee Picture"
      .Filters.Add "All Files", "*.*"
      .Filters.Add "JPEGs", "*.jpg"
      .Filters.Add "Bitmaps", "*.bmp"
      .FilterIndex = 3
      .AllowMultiSelect = False
      .InitialFileName = CurrentProject.path
      result = .Show
      If (result <> 0) Then
      fileName = Trim(.SelectedItems.Item(1))
      Me![ImagePath].Visible = True
      Me![ImagePath].Text = fileName
      Me![ImagePath].Visible = False
      End If
      End With
      End Sub

      You may modify it to suit to your requirement.


    4. Hi - could you add a demo database of your browser lesson to your site? Having a demo version to compare to my own would be really useful!! Thanks.

    5. Replies
      1. This is the latest Link, which is already given on the bottom of the page as well: https://www.msaccesstips.com/2006/10/file-browser-in-msaccess.html

    6. Hi,

      Thanks a lot!

      The MS-Access 2002 example database contains the same code as the MS-Access 2003's. To find said database: http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb%3Ben-us%3B276376&x;=20&y;=10

      Bye !

    7. The Northwind example for Access 2003 is missing an operand. These lines:
      If (result
      0) Then
      should actually be
      If (result <> 0) Then
      It was missing the not equal. It works great after that. Thanks.

    8. The Code is corrected. Thanks for pointing out the Error.

    9. I really liked this post, this one is going straight into my stumble upon akun :)

    10. Bookmarked your website. Thank you for sharing. Definitely worth the time away from my workload.

    11. I just wanted to comment your blog and say that I really enjoyed reading your blog post here. It was very informative and I also digg the way you write! Keep it up and I’ll be back to read more in the future


    Comments subject to moderation before publishing.




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