Learn Microsoft Access Advanced Programming Techniques, Tips and Tricks.

ControlTip Text and Time Delay


Most of the Controls on a Form like Command Buttons, Labels, TextBoxes, and others have the Property ControlTip Text. This can be set with a value of up to a maximum length of 255 characters, either manually during design time or through Visual Basic. The text is displayed when the Mouse Pointer rests on the control for a few seconds. This is useful to inform the user to do a certain action, like click or Double-Click, on the control to run a Program or Macro attached to it.

The Toolbar Buttons above also have this feature programmed with the Screen Tip Property Value (another name for ControlTip Text) to give clues to the User as to what the control does or what to do to use it.

For example, when you point the Mouse pointer on the Copy Toolbar Button it will show, Copy (Ctrl+C) indicating that either Click on the Button to Copy the selected Text/Control or use Ctrl+C to get the same result.

The time delay is programmed into this action, assuming that the Mouse Pointer rests on the Control, because the user probably doesn't know what it does, and needs some help to indicate what he/she should do to use or what results from this action one can expect by using it.

Our own Method without Time Delay

Here, we will implement a new method for Controls on the Main Switchboard (Control Screen), like Command Buttons, and List-Boxes, and how to achieve the same result without the time delay that needs for the ControlTip Text Property.

There is another Property named Tag placed near to the ControlTip Property; its function is not clearly defined and free to use, as you wish. The value of this Property will not affect the Control in any way and will not have any side effects on other Properties either. You can write a short story into the Tag Property if you can limit your story to 2048 characters.

We are going to use this Property of different Controls on the Main Switchboard of a sample database to give clues to the User instantly, what each control does or what to do (like Click or Double-Click) to run the Program or Macro attached to them.

You must select each control and display their Property Sheet(View - -> Properties) and type the Value, you would like to display, into the Tag Property. This text will appear instantly in the Label with dark background (you can use any color you like) placed at the bottom of the Form when the Mouse is moved over a Control with a Tag value set and programmed.

An image of a sample Main Switch Board with the above trick is given below:

Using the Mouse Move Event

A Label with dark background (let us call it LBLTIP) is placed at the bottom of the design to display the clues when the Mouse moves over the controls above. The example text displayed on the image was saved in the Tag Property of the List-Box along with Forms' Names.

To display the clue and to remove it when the Mouse moves out of the Control we need to run a few lines of VBA Code at two places. On Mouse Move Event Procedure of the Control as well as at the Detail Section of the Form to remove the text and replace it with some general message text or a zero-length string to keep it empty.

The sample code in the On Mouse Move Event Procedure of the Reports Command Button is given below. It displays Open Report SwitchBoard in the LBLTIP label Caption text at the bottom of the form when the Mouse is moved over the Command Button.

Private Sub cmdRpt_MouseMove(Button As Integer, Shift As Integer, X As Single, Y As Single)
If Me.LBLTIP.Caption = Me.cmdRpt.Tag Then
    Me.LBLTIP.Caption = Me.cmdRpt.Tag
End If
End Sub

When the Mouse moves out of the Command Button and touches the empty area of the Detail Section of the Form the LBLTIP Caption changes to Welcome User: Admin (the current MS-Access User Account name) appears and stays there till the mouse moves over to another Control on the Form.

The VBA Code in the Detail Section On Mouse Move Event Procedure is given below:

Private Sub Detail_MouseMove(Button As Integer, Shift As Integer, X As Single, Y As Single)

Dim strtag As String

strtag = "Welcom User: " & CurrentUser

If Me.LBLTIP.Caption <> strtag Then
    Me.LBLTIP.Caption = strtag
End If

End Sub

Limiting the Mouse Move Event

Even though the Detail Section Mouse Move Event Procedure Code has no change; repeating all three lines of code for each control is excess work. The IF. . .Then statement is used to test and prevent setting the LBLTIP Caption value repeatedly.

We can implement this with a single line of code if we write a common routine and place it in a Global Module (standard Module) and call it with a single line of code with necessary Parameters. Such a Function is given below

Copy the following VBA Code and save it in a Standard Module:

Public Function ControlTip(ByVal frmName As String, Optional strtext As String = "Welcome User: ", Optional xswitch As Integer = 0)
On Error GoTo ControlTip_Err
With Forms(frmName).Controls("lblTip"
    Select Case xswitch
        Case 1
            If .Caption <> strtext Then
                .Caption = strtext
            End If
        Case Else
            If .Caption <> strtext Then
                .Caption = strtext & CurrentUser
            End If
    End Select
End With

Exit Function

MsgBox Err.Description, , "ControlTip()"
Resume ControlTip_Exit
End Function

The above Function has three Parameters:

  1. Name of the Form where the Function is called.

  2. The LBLTIP.Caption display text. This will be taken from the Tag Property Value of the Control. This parameter is defined as Optional so that this can be called without a value at the Form level (in our example from Detail Section) to display the welcome message after removing the earlier contents.

  3. The Optional xswitch parameter value is used for display choices. The Value of 1 will display the Text value passed through the Second Parameter or else it will display a welcome message to the User replacing the earlier text in the LBLTIP Caption Property.

With the above Function we can simplify the first two Sub-Routines as given below:

Private Sub cmdRpt_MouseMove(Button As Integer, Shift As Integer, X As Single, Y As Single) 

ControlTip Me.Name, Me.cmdRpt.Tag, 1

End Sub

Private Sub Detail_MouseMove(Button As Integer, Shift As Integer, X As Single, Y As Single)

    ControlTip Me.Name
End Sub

 Demo Database Download

You can download the sample database (Access2000 Version) from the link given below and try it out.


Download Demo ControlTip2k.zip


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