Form design

The right edge of any form should be at grid unit 156. The bottom of any form should be at grid unit 42. Forms which follow this guideline will fit in the default fonts at 640x480 and 800x600. Additionally, these forms provide enough room along the edges for a scroll bar if required.

When placing controls on forms, make all character dimensions (coordinates for placement on the screen, height, width) even numbers, because the space required to display one character is 2x2. When the ArrayLength of a field is set to be a number greater than 0 and the field is situated at an odd coordinate, it will automatically shift to an even coordinate.

Important: Each field needs a unique name property. You can change the value in the name property, but do not delete it.

Things to keep in mind when designing forms.

  • Provide logical navigation buttons in all forms. For example, the Back, Cancel, Submit buttons.
  • Use a Submit or Search button where appropriate instead on relying solely on the ENTER key.
  • Stack wide elements like text areas used for descriptions. Multiple wide fields can make a form to wide. Stacking is easier to read than wide elements placed side-by-side.
  • Avoid creating wide forms. Recent surveys show that the majority of users do not use monitor settings greater than 1024x768.
  • Avoid three–column layouts. Scrolling vertically is more acceptable to most people that scrolling horizontally.
  • Avoid adding too many fields, widgets, and notebook tabs to a single form. Simplify forms by breaking it up into smaller forms that link to other forms through a logical flow. Too much information is overwhelming to most users and results in a less productive application. Too many controls on a form can severely degrade performance on the Web client.
  • Avoid placing elements too close to each other. Forms are easier to read and use when the text and fields are spaced out. When users increase font sizes this becomes more apparent. This can translate into overlapping form elements, text, and containers in the Web and Eclipse clients.
  • Printing works well with label/inputs. It does NOT work with arbitrary positioning of widgets in the form. If you want to print a table, make it a table. Do not simulate one with cleverly placed labels.
  • When you design a QBE list form that contains a table, do not enclose the table in a Frame or Group; otherwise the QBE list form will not function properly.

Related concepts

Form creation
Forms Designer
Creating and editing forms
Forms Designer best practices
Building accessible forms
Dynamic View Dependencies
Format Control

Related tasks

Access Forms Designer
Create a form using the Form Wizard
Update a form
Add an HTML Editor or Viewer to a form
Add a dynamic form to a form

Related references

Forms Designer controls and tools