You receive "There isn't enough free memory" error message when you work with a Form in Access 2000

Novice: Requires knowledge of the user interface on single-user computers.

This article applies to a Microsoft Access database (.mdb) and to a Microsoft Access project (.adp).


When you are working with a form and you switch between Design view and Form view, or you print preview a form, you may receive the following error message:
There isn't enough free memory to update the display. Close unneeded programs and try again
However, when you close other programs, including Microsoft Access, no additional memory on your computer is freed.


You may receive this error message if any one of the following conditions is true:
  • You set the Picture property of the form to a .gif file.


  • -or-You created the form with the Form Wizard and selected one of the pre-defined styles.


  • -or-You used the AutoFormat command to apply one of the pre-defined styles to the form.


  • -or-You are working in one of the databases created by the Database Wizard that uses forms with styles set.
The pre-defined styles in Access 2000 that use a .gif file for the Picture property are:
  • Blends
  • Blue Print
  • Expedition
  • Industrial
  • Ricepaper
  • Sandstone
  • Sumi Painting
NOTE: If you apply these styles to the Picture property of a form, the property sheet erroneously displays '(bitmap)' even though the style actually uses a .gif file.


To resolve this problem, obtain Microsoft Office 2000 Service Release 1/1a (SR-1/SR-1a).

For additional information about how to obtain SR-1/SR-1a, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

245025 How to obtain and install the Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1/SR-1a Update

To temporarily work around this problem, do the following. After you receive the error message described in the "Symptoms" section, close all applications and restart your computer to free the memory on your computer.

To avoid this behavior, you can either use a different graphic format for the Picture property, or you can remove the .gif file from the Picture property while you are designing your form, and then add it back when you are finished.

Using a Different Graphic Format

You can use the graphics program of your choice to convert the .gif file to some other supported graphic format such as .bmp. After the graphic file is converted, you need to reference the converted file in the Picture property of the form. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Open the form in Design view and display the property sheet of the form.
  2. On the Format tab, select the Picture property and click the Build button to the right of the text box.
  3. Browse to and select the converted graphic file.
  4. Click OK to set the Picture property to that file.
If you use autoformat styles regularly, you may want to convert them to use a file type other than *.gif. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Use the graphics program of your choice to convert the autoformat graphic files to a format such as *.bmp. The following files used by the AutoFormat wizard are located in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Bitmaps\Styles folder in a default installation of Microsoft Office:
    StyleFile Name
    Blue Printacbluprt.gif
    Sumi Paintingacsumipt.gif
  2. Reset the Picture property as described earlier in this section.
  3. On the Format menu, click AutoFormat.
  4. In the AutoFormat dialog box, select the style that the form is using and click Customize.
  5. Select Update '<style name>' with values from Form '<form name>'
  6. Click OK twice.
When you apply the built-in style in the future, it will use the converted graphic file as the source for the Picture property.

Removing Picture Property During Form Design

While you design the form, remove the .gif file from the Picture property. Then after you have finished creating the form and will not be toggling between Design and Form view anymore, you can add the style back to the form. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Open the Form in Design view.
  2. On the Format menu, click AutoFormat.
  3. In the AutoFormat dialog box, select the format that you want from the Form AutoFormats list.
  4. Click OK.
The picture associated with the autoformat is added back to the form.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in Microsoft Access 2000.
This problem was corrected in Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1/SR-1a.

More Information

When you switch a form from Design view to Form view, the picture on the form is converted to a special file type so that it can be displayed correctly. When the Picture property of a form is set to a .gif file, this conversion process occurs every time that you change the view of the form, and this process uses up memory.

Article ID: 236977 - Last Review: Jul 27, 2004 - Revision: 1