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ACC2000: How to Limit Number of Characters to Size of Text Box

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This article was previously published under Q198649
Advanced: Requires expert coding, interoperability, and multiuser skills.

For a Microsoft Access 2002 version of this article, see 324584 ( ) .
For a Microsoft Access 97 version of this article, see 152475 ( ) .

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This article shows you how to limit the amount of text a user can type into a text box so that the width of the text does not exceed the width of the text box.

NOTE: This article explains a technique demonstrated in the sample file, FrmSmp00.mdb. For information about how to obtain this sample file, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
233324� Microsoft Access 2000 Sample Forms Database Available in Download Center
Microsoft provides programming examples for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied. This includes, but is not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This article assumes that you are familiar with the programming language that is being demonstrated and with the tools that are used to create and to debug procedures. Microsoft support engineers can help explain the functionality of a particular procedure, but they will not modify these examples to provide added functionality or construct procedures to meet your specific requirements.

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More information

What follows is a Visual Basic for Applications procedure, LimitTextToControlWidth, that you can call from the KeyPress event of a text box to limit the amount of text a user can enter.

This procedure is ideal for developers who want to use a non- proportionally spaced font to print text into a fixed location on a pre- printed form. The LimitTextToControlWidth procedure ensures that a user will not be able to type more text than can fit in the defined area on the form.

A number of factors affect the width of text. The larger the font size, the fewer the characters that you can type. The font that you select also affects the width of characters in the text. Characters in a non-proportionally spaced font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, have different widths. The letter "i" is narrower in width than the letter "X." In addition, the letter "i" in one font may have a different width in another font. For example, the "i" in Arial font is much narrower than the "i" in Courier New font.

The following steps provide both 16-bit and 32-bit versions of the procedure, followed by an example of how to apply the procedure to controls on a form.

NOTE: The following code uses the GetTextExtentPoint Windows application programming interface (API) function. You can call this API function only from the control that has focus on an Access form.

  1. Create a new module and type the following in the Declarations section:
    Option Explicit
    Const LOGPIXELSX = 88
    Const LOGPIXELSY = 90
    Const TWIPSPERINCH = 1440
    Type Size
       cx As Long
       cy As Long
    End Type
    Declare Function GetDC Lib "user32" (ByVal hWnd As Long) As Long
    Declare Function GetDeviceCaps Lib "gdi32" (ByVal hDC As Long, _
       ByVal nIndex As Long) As Long
    Declare Function GetFocus Lib "user32" () As Long
    Declare Function GetTextExtentPoint Lib "gdi32" Alias _
       "GetTextExtentPointA" (ByVal hDC As Long, ByVal lpsz As String, _
       ByVal cbString As Long, lpSIZE As Size) As Long
    Declare Function ReleaseDC Lib "user32" (ByVal hWnd As Long, _
       ByVal hDC As Long) As Long
  2. Type the following procedures:
    Sub ConvertPixelsToTwips(X As Long, Y As Long)
       Dim hDC As Long, hWnd As Long, RetVal As Long
       '' Retrieve the current number of pixels per inch, which is
       '' resolution-dependent.
       hDC = GetDC(0)
       RetVal = ReleaseDC(0, hDC)
       '' Compute and return the measurements in twips.
    End Sub
    Sub LimitTextToControlWidth(KeyAscii As Integer)
       Dim AC As Control
       Dim Txt As String
       Dim TxtWidth As Long, SpaceWidth As Long
       Dim hWnd As Long, hDC As Long
       Dim lpSIZE As Size
       Dim RetVal As Long
       '' Exit if a non-printable character is typed.
       If KeyAscii < 32 Then Exit Sub
       '' Record active control.
       Set AC = Screen.ActiveControl
       '' Get the control text.
       Txt = AC.Text & ""
       '' Append typed character into the text.
       If KeyAscii > 32 Then
          Txt = Left(Txt, AC.SelStart)
          Txt = Txt & Chr$(KeyAscii)
          Txt = Txt & Mid(Txt, AC.SelStart + 1 + AC.SelLength)
       End If
       hWnd = GetFocus()
       hDC = GetDC(hWnd)
       '' Compute the width of the text.
       RetVal = GetTextExtentPoint(hDC, Txt, Len(Txt), lpSIZE)
       TxtWidth =
       '' Compute width of a space.
       RetVal = GetTextExtentPoint(hDC, " ", 1, lpSIZE)
       SpaceWidth =
       '' Are there trailing spaces to contend with?
       If AC.SelStart + 1 > Len(Txt) Then
          '' Add number of spaces * SpaceWidth to width of string.
          TxtWidth = TxtWidth + ((AC.SelStart + 1 - Len(Txt)) *  _
       End If
       If TxtWidth + (SpaceWidth / 2) > AC.Width Then
          KeyAscii = 0
       End If
    End Sub

How to use the LimitTextToControlWidth Procedure

  1. Create a new, blank form not based on any table or query, with the following properties:
       Form: Test1
       Caption: TestForm
       Text box
       Name: One
       Left: 1"
       Top: .5"
       Width: 1"
       Height: 0.1667"
       FontName: Arial
       FontSize: 12
       Text box
       Name: Two
       Left: 1"
       Top: 1"
       Width: 1"
       Height: 0.1667"
       FontName: Arial
       FontSize: 8
       Text box
       Name: Three
       Left: 1"
       Top: 1.5"
       Width: 1"
       Height: 0.3743"
       FontName: Arial
       FontSize: 24
  2. Call the LimitTextToControlWidth procedure from the KeyPress event of each text box above, for example:
    Sub One_KeyPress(KeyAscii As Integer)
        LimitTextToControlWidth KeyAscii
    End Sub
  3. View the form and try typing the following text in each text box:
    This is a test of the emergency broadcast system
    Note that the result appears as follows:
       Text box     Text allowed to type
       One          This is a test
       Two          This is a test of the
       Three        This is

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Keywords: KB198649, kbusage, kbhowto

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Article Info
Article ID : 198649
Revision : 3
Created on : 6/23/2005
Published on : 6/23/2005
Exists online : False
Views : 338