How to: Add a Value to a Bound Combo Box

Access Developer Reference

Combo boxes are commonly used to display a list of values in a table or query. By responding to the NotInList event, you can provide a way for the user to add values that are not in the list.

Often the value displayed in a combo box is looked up from a record in a related table. Because the list is derived from a table or query, you must provide a way for the user to enter a new record in the underlying table. Then you can use the Requery method to requery the list, so it contains the new value.

When a user types a value in a combo box that is not in the list, the NotInList event of the combo box occurs as long as the combo box's LimitToList property is set to Yes, or a column other than the combo box's bound column is displayed in the box. You can write an event procedure for the NotInList event that provides a way for the user to add a new record to the table that supplies the list's values. The NotInList event procedure includes a string argument named NewData that Access uses to pass the text the user enters to the event procedure.

The NotInList event procedure also has a Response argument, in which you tell Access what to do after the procedure runs. Depending on what action you take in the event procedure, you set the Response argument to one of three predefined constant values:

Constant Description
acDataErrAdded If your event procedure enters the new value in the record source for the list or provides a way for the user to do so, set the Response argument to acDataErrAdded. Access then requeries the combo box for you, adding the new value to the list.
acDataErrDisplay If you do not add the new value and want Access to display the default error message, set the Response argument to acDataErrDisplay. Access requires the user to enter a valid value from the list.
acDataErrContinue If you display your own message in the event procedure, set the Response argument to acDataErrContinue. Access does not display its default error message, but still requires the user to enter a value in the field. If you do not want the user to select an existing value from the list, you can undo changes to the field by using the Undo method.

For example, the following event procedure asks the user whether to add a value to a list, adds the value, and then uses the Response argument to tell Access to requery the list:

  Private Sub ShipperID_NotInList(NewData As String, Response As Integer)

   Dim dbsOrders As DAO.Database
   Dim rstShippers As DAO.Recordset
   Dim intAnswer As Integer

On Error GoTo ErrorHandler

   intAnswer = MsgBox("Add " & NewData & " to the list of shippers?", _
      vbQuestion + vbYesNo)

   If intAnswer = vbYes Then

      ' Add shipper stored in NewData argument to the Shippers table.
      Set dbsOrders = CurrentDb
      Set rstShippers = dbsOrders.OpenRecordset("Shippers")
      rstShippers.AddNew
      rstShippers!CompanyName = NewData
      rstShippers.Update

      Response = acDataErrAdded         ' Requery the combo box list.
   Else
      Response = acDataErrDisplay       ' Require the user to select
                                        ' an existing shipper.
   End If

   rstShippers.Close
   dbsOrders.Close

   Set rstShippers = Nothing
   Set dbsOrders = Nothing

   Exit Sub

ErrorHandler:
   MsgBox "Error #: " & Err.Number & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & Err.Description
End Sub