Add Barcode Printing to Microsoft Access

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The TAL Barcode ActiveX control is a software component that is designed to make it easy for programmers and database developers to add high-resolution barcode printing capabilities to their own applications and then distribute their applications to other users without having to pay any additional license fees. It can be used with any application that supports ActiveX components including Microsoft Visual Studio, Internet Explorer HTML documents and Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and Access.

Follow this simple tutorial to use the Barcode ActiveX control to print barcode labels from a Microsoft Access database. The article assumes that you have already created a database and just want to add in barcode functionality. If not, create a test database to see how well the Barcode ActiveX control works. Our database contains a “Products” table with two data fields, “Barcode Number” and “Product Name”

The first step to create the labels is to open up your Access database, select the Reports section in the database window and click the “New” button. Access will then display a window containing options for how to create the report – along with a list box where you can select the table or query containing the data that you want printed in the report. Click on the “Label Wizard” option and then select your table (in our case, “Products”) Click the OK button, which brings you to the Label Wizard options. Select your desired label template and click Next.

The next step is to specify the font attributes for the text on the labels. Change as desired and continue to the next screen. This step is to select the data fields from your table that you want to appear as text in the labels. For example, we would select the “Product Name” field and click the arrow button to move the field name into the prototype label. Do not yet add the field containing the barcode data. This will be added later.

Click next and Access will prompt how to sort the data being printed on the labels. The default settings are fine. In the final window, select “modify the label design” so the barcodes can be added using the report designer. Enter a name for the report and click finish. Access will then open the report designer window and display the report that was created by the label wizard.

To add the barcodes, first open the View menu and select the Toolbox option. The toolbox contains several built in components like textboxes, buttons and image boxes that can be placed directly on the report surface.

Hover your mouse over the very last button in the toolbox that reads “more controls.” Click this and a menu will appear containing a list of all the ActiveX components that you have installed in your system. Scroll down the list and highlight the one named TALBarCD OCX. This is the TAL Bar Code ActiveX control. Click your mouse inside the report at the location where you want to place the upper left corner of the barcode control. A sample barcode then appears in the report. To configure the control, click on the “Properties” button in the Access toolbar to display the properties window for the TAL Barcode ActiveX control. 

The properties window contains all of the settings and options for whatever component you have selected in the report. The first property that should be set is the “Control Source” property. This tells the Barcode ActiveX control where to get the data that will be encoded in the barcodes. Click on the dropdown list next to the Control Source property to see a list of all the data fields in the table that the report is based on. Select the data field that you wish to be encoded in the barcodes – in our case, the “Barcode Number” field.

The other important properties to change are the Symbology and BarHeight. Modify any other properties as needed.

To test your progress and view the report, double click on the report to run it. Your barcode labels should have been produced exactly as you have designed them. Then next step would be to print the report using the label template you selected. As you can see, adding barcodes to Access database reports is extremely easy with the TAL Barcode ActiveX control. Also, because the control creates the barcodes as high-resolution vector images, your barcodes will print perfectly no matter what printer you use.

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