What I Learned About the Access Report Language

Because Engel asked, here is what I know….


I had some bugs to do on the ASP project that involved fixing some little things in various reports. They were minor things, the sort of thing that would take someone who had ever seen the access report/form language before about 10 seconds to do. Since I never had (and believe me, when I first saw it I went “oh shit, I have no idea how to do this and there’s no way in hell I’m getting it done for Monday like I have to”…. actually I think my dream was related to the stress of it even), it took me a bit to figure out, but here it is…



  • To adjust the sorting for the detail data (that is, the data between the header and footer) right click on the header for that data and select sorting and grouping. You’ll then be able to add a field from the data set to sort on and can select how it’s sorted.
  • Once you have a data object on the form (I have no idea how to get them there) you simply have it’s name typed to have it display that data for whatever iteration of detail data you’re on. IE: “employeeID” will have that box show the data for employeeID for that row. If you have a text label you can also run operations on data. IE: put “=sum([cost])” in a text label in the footer area will display the sum of the ‘cost’ column. I’m sure that more complex math or other operations work here as well. I don’t know why you have to put the [square brackets] around the field name though.
  • If for some reason you have a detail section header but no footer, you can add one by right clicking on the header bar and selecting “sorting and grouping” (huh?). In there under the sorting information you can toggle the visibility of the header or footer area on or off. Toggle footer on and the footer will show up, and you can add any data or labels into there. As I said above, I don’t know how to add a data control in, I just copied one from another part of the report.

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