How to Create a Navigation Form in Microsoft Access

In Brief...

Make the user experience with an application as streamlined as possible by creating a navigation form that presents the main functions of a database in a straightforward and logical way.

This feature works the same in all modern versions of Microsoft Access: 2010, 2013, and 2016.


  1. Open the database.

  2. On the Create tab in the Forms group, click Navigation.

  3. Select the layout you prefer from the drop-down list. For this example, we'll select "Vertical Tabs, Left". The form is added to the work surface in Layout view.
    Navigation Form

  4. Staying in Layout mode, drag and drop a form or report from the Navigation Pane onto the [Add New] button. A navigation button is added and the report or form loads in the view area of the form.
    View Area of Form

  5. Repeat the last step for each form or report you want to access from the navigation form.

  6. Change the caption at the top of the form by double-clicking in the text area, selecting the current text, and overwriting it.
    Text Area

  7. Change the caption on the form tab by right-clicking in the heading area and selecting Form Properties from the shortcut menu. On the Property Sheet in the Caption field, type a new caption.
    Caption Field

  8. Preview the form in Form view. Notice how clicking the buttons changes the contents of the view area.
    Form View

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Author: Tracy Berry

Tracy has been a senior graphic designer/programmer, instructor, and consultant since 1993 and has developed hundreds of logos, marketing materials, websites, and multimedia solutions for customers worldwide, including involvement in large corporate software rollouts. She has helped many organizations optimize and streamline data solutions. She teaches both onsite and online courses and has her CTT (Certified Technical Trainer) certification. Tracy specializes in teaching graphics, desktop publishing, web design, reporting/productivity applications, as well as the creation of online courses with software from leading vendors.