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Scroll Bar Width for using Access on Tablets

Some of our clients are now moving into Touch Screen devices.  There has been a common request for Access development optimized for tablet running Windows 10.  Here are the key changes you need:

A windows OS tablet (Panasonic Toughbook or Acer, or other tablet) .  We did testing on non-ruggedized devices, but out clients like rugged options.

Modify a registry key to make scroll bars wider so our fat thumbs can actually use them:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics
set scrollwidth to -800 (we played with that one a lot to find the optimal size)

Modify the device to launch the keyboard when opening certain forms or fields. This was actually a lot of work:
I created a public function and  call it:

Public Sub Launch_It()
ShellExecute 0, vbNullString, "tabtip.exe", vbNullString, "C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\ink\", 1
End Sub

Private Declare Function ShellExecute Lib "shell32.dll" Alias "ShellExecuteA" (ByVal hWnd As Long, ByVal lpOperation As String, _
ByVal lpFile As String, ByVal lpParameters As String, ByVal lpDirectory As String, ByVal nShowCmd As Long) As Long

You also need the on screen keyboard because you have no physical keyboard to use.

I added a manual button to a lot of forms as well to do the same thing, as we found the keyboard would usually hide itself.  Note we sized buttons to be fat thumb friendly 🙂 .  This was a common complaint when testing, users could not accurately touch scroll bars and buttons.

Apart from that, we spent hundreds of hours fine tuning forms for layout.  The onscreen keyboard always takes up part of the screen, and you have to design for that.  Otherwise users are perpetually moving the keyboard out of the way to see what fields they are typing in.

Hope this helps you, some of this code took us a long time testing to get it right!

Mitch Redekopp
Article Written by Mitch Redekopp

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