Access Startup Options

Microsoft Access is delivered as a tool for users who need to create or work with a database and so all the development features and options are enabled by default. This complexity can be daunting to some users but you can use the startup options to reduce the confusion so that they can settle down and just use the database you've developed for them.

Select Startup... from the Tools menu to show the dialog:

[Access Startup Options dialog]

The settings on the startup dialog fall into two categories: some control the appearance of the database; others control its behaviour and the security.


  • Application Title - the caption that will appear in the title bar in place of "Microsoft Access".
  • Application Icon - The icon that will appear on the title bar of the main window and as a shortcut to the database on the desktop. Access XP has an extra option Use as Form and Report Icon which will use the same icon on forms and reports throughout the database.
  • Display Form - The form that will open when the database is loaded.


These check boxes allow you to show or hide different parts of the Access user interface:

  • Allow Full Menus - leaves a simplified menu structure without the development entries such as Tools. It's usually best to clear this tick box to keep the user away from the more powerful features.
  • Allow Default Shortcut Menus - leave the user with the ability to right-click on a form or report and use the short-cut menu. Options on this menu like Export can be useful or dangerous in different circustances depending on the needs and abilities of the users.
  • Display Database Window - clear this tick box so that the user goes straight into your startup form when the database opens. Note that the user will still be able to reach the Database Window by selecting Unhide from the Window menu.
  • Display Status Bar - clear this unless you are deliberately using the Status Bar for messages to the user. The default messages from Access such as Form View are worthless to the majority of users.
  • Allow Built-in Toolbars - some toolbars include Design View or New Form buttons. Clear this tick box to hide such features if the users will never need to add or edit the forms.
  • Allow Toolbar/Menu Changes - always clear this tick box. If this option is enabled then users will be able to bypass your security by adding back in all the features you've just hidden from them.
  • Allow Viewing Code After Error - clear this tick box. You do not want the user to ever see a VBA code window.
  • Use Access Special Keys - clear this tick box so that the user cannot press keys like F11 to view the Database Window.


The options in the screen shot above will leave the user with a database which lets them do very little except use the forms which you've designed. Any Access developer will know how to get around these restrictions but these options form a good basis for distribution to casual users.

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