Access: Unhide the Menus

A couple of years ago, while trying to learn as much as I could about Microsoft Access for the Canadian Skills Competition, I managed to find a setting that turned off access to the full menus. I thought to myself, "Oh, this is brilliant! I can stop users from messing around with my database by turning off all of their menus!".

It seemed like a fantastic plan, until I closed and re-opened my database and realized that I wanted to go in and make some changes, but couldn't. How could I make changes without the menus? How could I turn the menus back on without accessing the menus?

I experienced quite a lot of frustration attempting to restore the menus, and so today I'm going to tell you the simple secret to getting them back:

Just hold down the Shift key on your keyboard while you open the database! It's that simple.

If you've already got the database open, you'll need to close it and then re-open it while holding down the Shift key.

Once you're in, you can change the Access Options to show the menus again. If you don't change the settings, the menus will still be hidden the next time you open it (without holding down the Shift key, of course).

The next question I've gotten from a few people is: "Where are these options found in Microsoft Access 2010"? Go to the 'File' tab, and choose 'Options'. From the menu on the left, choose 'Current Database'. Scroll down a bit until you get to the 'Navigation' and 'Ribbon and Toolbar Options'. It's in there that you can turn on and off items such as the navigation pane, the full menus, and the shortcut menus.

Hope that helped you "access" your menus! (I know, bad joke...)


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