ACC: How to Limit Number of Characters to Size of Text Box

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 152475 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q152475
Advanced: Requires expert coding, interoperability, and multiuser skills.

For a Microsoft Access 2002 version of this article, see 324584.
For a Microsoft Access 2000 version of this article, see 198649.
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page

SUMMARY

This article shows you how to limit the amount of text typed into a text box so that the width of the text does not exceed the width of the text box.

This article assumes that you are familiar with Visual Basic for Applications and with creating Microsoft Access applications using the programming tools provided with Microsoft Access. For more information about Visual Basic for Applications, please refer to your version of the "Building Applications with Microsoft Access" manual.

NOTE: Visual Basic for Applications is called Access Basic in Microsoft Access version 2.0. For more information about Access Basic, please refer to the "Building Applications" manual.

NOTE: This article explains a technique demonstrated in the sample files, FrmSampl.exe (for Microsoft Access for Windows 95 version 7.0) and FrmSmp97.exe (for Microsoft Access 97). For information about how to obtain these sample files, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
150895 ACC95: Microsoft Access Sample Forms Available in Download Center

175066 ACC97: Microsoft Access 97 Sample Forms Available in Download Center

MORE INFORMATION

The following information includes a Visual Basic for Applications procedure, LimitTextToControlWidth, that can be called from the KeyPress event of a text box to limit the amount of text entered so that the sum of the width of all characters in the text does not exceed the width of the text box.

This procedure is ideal for developers who want to use a non- proportionally spaced font to print text into a fixed location on a pre- printed form. The LimitTextToControlWidth procedure ensures that a user will not be able to type more text than can fit in the defined area on the form.

There are a number of factors that affect the width of text. The larger the font size, the fewer the characters that you will be able to type. The selection of font also affects the width of characters in the text. Characters in a non-proportionally spaced font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, have different widths. The letter "i" is narrower in width than the letter "X." In addition, for the same font size, the letter "i" in one font may have a different width in another font. The "i" in Arial font is much narrower than the "i" in Courier New font.

The following steps provide both 16-bit and 32-bit versions of the procedure, followed by an example of how to apply the procedure to controls on a form.

NOTE: The following code uses the GetTextExtentPoint Windows application programming interface (API) function. This API function can only be called from the control that has focus on a Microsoft Access form.

32 Bit Code - Microsoft Access 97 and Microsoft Access 7.0

  1. Create a new module and type the following in the Declarations section:
          Option Explicit
    
          Const LOGPIXELSX = 88
          Const LOGPIXELSY = 90
          Const TWIPSPERINCH = 1440
    
          Type Size
             cx As Long
             cy As Long
          End Type
    
          Declare Function GetDC Lib "user32" (ByVal hWnd As Long) As Long
          Declare Function GetDeviceCaps Lib "gdi32" (ByVal hDC As Long, _
             ByVal nIndex As Long) As Long
          Declare Function GetFocus Lib "user32" () As Long
          Declare Function GetTextExtentPoint Lib "gdi32" Alias _
             "GetTextExtentPointA" (ByVal hDC As Long, ByVal lpsz As String, _
             ByVal cbString As Long, lpSIZE As Size) As Long
          Declare Function ReleaseDC Lib "user32" (ByVal hWnd As Long, _
             ByVal hDC As Long) As Long
    						
  2. Type the following procedures:
          Sub ConvertPixelsToTwips(X As Long, Y As Long)
             Dim hDC As Long, hWnd As Long, RetVal As Long
             Dim XPIXELSPERINCH As Long, YPIXELSPERINCH As Long
    
             '' Retrieve the current number of pixels per inch, which is
             '' resolution-dependent.
             hDC = GetDC(0)
             XPIXELSPERINCH = GetDeviceCaps(hDC, LOGPIXELSX)
             YPIXELSPERINCH = GetDeviceCaps(hDC, LOGPIXELSY)
             RetVal = ReleaseDC(0, hDC)
    
             '' Compute and return the measurements in twips.
             X = (X / XPIXELSPERINCH) * TWIPSPERINCH
             Y = (Y / YPIXELSPERINCH) * TWIPSPERINCH
          End Sub
    
          Sub LimitTextToControlWidth(KeyAscii As Integer)
             Dim AC As Control
             Dim Txt As String
             Dim TxtWidth As Long, SpaceWidth As Long
             Dim hWnd As Long, hDC As Long
             Dim lpSIZE As Size
             Dim RetVal As Long
    
             '' Exit if a non-printable character is typed.
             If KeyAscii < 32 Then Exit Sub
    
             '' Record active control.
             Set AC = Screen.ActiveControl
    
             '' Get the control text.
             Txt = AC.Text & ""
    
             '' Append typed character into the text.
             If KeyAscii > 32 Then
                Txt = Left(Txt, AC.SelStart)
                Txt = Txt & Chr$(KeyAscii)
                Txt = Txt & Mid(Txt, AC.SelStart + 1 + AC.SelLength)
             End If
    
             hWnd = GetFocus()
             hDC = GetDC(hWnd)
    
             '' Compute the width of the text.
             RetVal = GetTextExtentPoint(hDC, Txt, Len(Txt), lpSIZE)
             ConvertPixelsToTwips lpSIZE.cx, lpSIZE.cy
             TxtWidth = lpSIZE.cx
    
             '' Compute width of a space.
             RetVal = GetTextExtentPoint(hDC, " ", 1, lpSIZE)
             ConvertPixelsToTwips lpSIZE.cx, lpSIZE.cy
             SpaceWidth = lpSIZE.cx
    
             '' Are there trailing spaces to contend with?
             If AC.SelStart + 1 > Len(Txt) Then
                '' Add number of spaces * SpaceWidth to width of string.
                TxtWidth = TxtWidth + ((AC.SelStart + 1 - Len(Txt)) *  _
                   SpaceWidth)
             End If
    
             If TxtWidth + (SpaceWidth / 2) > AC.Width Then
                Beep
                KeyAscii = 0
             End If
    
          End Sub
    						

16-Bit Code - Microsoft Access 2.0

NOTE: In the following sample code, an underscore (_) at the end of a line is used as a line-continuation character. Remove the underscore from the end of the line when re-creating this code in Access Basic,

  1. Create a new module and type the following in the Declarations section:
          Option Explicit
    
          Const LOGPIXELSX = 88
          Const LOGPIXELSY = 90
          Const TWIPSPERINCH = 1440
    
          Type SIZE
             cx As Integer
             cy As Integer
          End Type
    
          Declare Function GetDC Lib "User" (ByVal hWnd As Integer) As Integer
          Declare Function GetDeviceCaps Lib "GDI" (ByVal hDC As Integer, _
             ByVal nIndex As Integer) As Integer
          Declare Function GetTextExtentPoint Lib "GDI" (ByVal hDC As _
               Integer, ByVal lpszString As String, ByVal cbString As _
               Integer, lpSIZE As SIZE) As Integer
          Declare Function GetFocus Lib "User" () As Integer
          Declare Function ReleaseDC Lib "User" (ByVal hWnd As Integer, _
             ByVal hDC As Integer) As Integer
    						
  2. Type the following procedures:
          S
          Sub LimitTextToControlWidth (KeyAscii)
             Dim AC As Control
             Dim Txt As String
             Dim TxtWidth As Integer, SpaceWidth As Integer
             Dim hWnd As Integer, hDC As Integer
             Dim lpSIZE As SIZE
             Dim RetVal As Integer
    
             '' Exit if a non-printable character is typed.
             If KeyAscii < 32 Then Exit Sub
    
             '' Record active control.
             Set AC = Screen.ActiveControl
    
             '' Get the control text.
             Txt = AC.Text & ""
    
             '' Append typed character into the text.
             If KeyAscii > 32 Then
                Txt = Left(Txt, AC.SelStart)
                Txt = Txt & Chr$(KeyAscii)
                Txt = Txt & Mid(Txt, AC.SelStart + 1 + AC.SelLength)
             End If
    
             hWnd = GetFocus()
             hDC = GetDC(hWnd)
    
             '' Compute the width of the text.
             RetVal = GetTextExtentPoint(hDC, Txt, Len(Txt), lpSIZE)
             ConvertPixelsToTwips lpSIZE.cx, lpSIZE.cy
             TxtWidth = lpSIZE.cx
    
             '' Compute width of a space.
             RetVal = GetTextExtentPoint(hDC, " ", 1, lpSIZE)
             ConvertPixelsToTwips lpSIZE.cx, lpSIZE.cy
             SpaceWidth = lpSIZE.cx
    
             '' Are there trailing spaces to contend with?
             If AC.SelStart + 1 > Len(Txt) Then
                '' Add number of spaces * SpaceWidth to width of string.
                TxtWidth = TxtWidth + ((AC.SelStart + 1 - Len(Txt)) * _
                   SpaceWidth)
             End If
    
             If TxtWidth + (SpaceWidth / 2) > AC.Width Then
                Beep
                KeyAscii = 0
             End If
    
          End Sub
    
          Sub ConvertPixelsToTwips (X As Integer, Y As Integer)
             Dim hDC As Integer, hWnd As Integer, RetVal As Integer
             Dim XPIXELSPERINCH As Integer, YPIXELSPERINCH As Integer
    
             '' Retrieve the current number of pixels per inch, which is
             '' resolution-dependent.
             hDC = GetDC(0)
             XPIXELSPERINCH = GetDeviceCaps(hDC, LOGPIXELSX)
             YPIXELSPERINCH = GetDeviceCaps(hDC, LOGPIXELSY)
             RetVal = ReleaseDC(0, hDC)
    
             '' Compute and return the measurements in twips.
             X = (X / XPIXELSPERINCH) * TWIPSPERINCH
             Y = (Y / YPIXELSPERINCH) * TWIPSPERINCH
          End Sub
    						

How to use the LimitTextToControlWidth Procedure

  1. Create a new, blank form not based on any table or query.
  2. Place 3 text boxes on the form with the following properties:
    Name: One
    Left: 1"
    Top: .5"
    Width: 1"
    Height: 0.1667"
    FontName: Arial
    FontSize: 12

    Name: Two
    Left: 1"
    Top: 1"
    Width: 1"
    Height: 0.1667"
    FontName: Arial
    FontSize: 8

    Name: Three
    Left: 1"
    Top: 1.5"
    Width: 1"
    Height: 0.3743"
    FontName: Arial
    FontSize: 24
  3. Call the LimitTextToControlWidth procedure from the KeyPress event of each text box above, for example:
          Sub One_KeyPress(KeyAscii As Integer)
             LimitTextToControlWidth KeyAscii
          End Sub
    						
  4. View the form and try typing the following text in each text box:
    This is a test of the emergency broadcast system
    Note that the result appears as follows:
          Text box     Text allowed to type
          ---------------------------------
          One          This is a test
          Two          This is a test of the
          Three        This is

Properties

Article ID: 152475 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 2.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Access 2.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 97 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbprogramming kbusage KB152475
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

Give Feedback

 

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com