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Applies to

ComboBox Object

TextBox Object

You can use the Format property to customize the way numbers, dates, times, and text are displayed and printed. Read/write String.


expression Required. An expression that returns one of the objects in the Applies To list.


You can use one of the predefined formats or you can create a custom format by using formatting symbols.

The Format property uses different settings for different data types.

For a control, you can set this property in the control's property sheet. For a field, you can set this property in table Design view (in the Field Properties section) or in Design view of the Query window (in the Field Properties property sheet). You can also use a macro or Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code.

Note: In Visual Basic, enter a string expression that corresponds to one of the predefined formats or enter a custom format.

The Format property affects only how data is displayed. It doesn't affect how data is stored.

Access provides predefined formats for Date/Time, Number and Currency, Text and Memo, and Yes/No data types. The predefined formats depend on the country/region specified by double-clicking Regional Options in Windows Control Panel. Access displays formats appropriate for the country/region selected. For example, with English (United States) selected on the General tab, 1234.56 in the Currency format appears as $1,234.56, but when English (British) is selected on the General tab, the number appears as £1,234.56.

If you set a field's Format property in table Design view, Access uses that format to display data in datasheets. It also applies the field's Format property to new controls on forms and reports.

You can use the following symbols in custom formats for any data type.




Display spaces as literal characters.


Display anything inside quotation marks as literal characters.


Force left alignment instead of right alignment.


Fill available space with the next character.


Display the next character as a literal character. You can also display literal characters by placing quotation marks around them.


Display the formatted data in the color specified between the brackets. Available colors: Black, Blue, Green, Cyan, Red, Magenta, Yellow, White.

You can't mix custom formatting symbols for the Number and Currency data types with Date/Time, Yes/No, or Text and Memo formatting symbols.

When you have defined an input mask and set the Format property for the same data, the Format property takes precedence when the data is displayed and the input mask is ignored. For example, if you create a Password input mask in table Design view and also set the Format property for the same field, either in the table or in a control on a form, the Password input mask is ignored and the data is displayed according to the Format property.


The following three examples set the Format property by using a predefined format:

Me!Date.Format = "Medium Date"

Me!Time.Format = "Long Time"

Me!Registered.Format = "Yes/No"

The next example sets the Format property by using a custom format. This format displays a date as: Jan 1995.

Forms!Employees!HireDate.Format = "mmm yyyy"

The following example demonstrates a VBA function that formats numeric data by using the Currency format and formats text data entirely in capital letters. The function is called from the OnLostFocus event of an unbound control named TaxRefund.

Function FormatValue() As Integer
    Dim varEnteredValue As Variant
    varEnteredValue = Forms!Survey!TaxRefund.Value
    If IsNumeric(varEnteredValue) = True Then
        Forms!Survey!TaxRefund.Format = "Currency"
        Forms!Survey!TaxRefund.Format = ">"
    End If
End Function

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