How to Open your MS Access Application like a Custom Software Application

Level of Difficulty


SQL Server Hosting

Applies to MS Access Versions

Access 2000+


Sometimes, when we create a full blown application, utility, or departmental tool, we only want to see the opening form pop up on the screen and leave the full MS Access application window at the bottom of the toolbar.

In this MS Access tutorial, we will show you how to open a Microsoft Access database so it appears minimized at the bottom of your screen, and all you see is the first form you declared as the opening form. You will now be able to double-click on the icon to only view the form and not MS Access.

This is easier to achieve than you may think, here are the simple steps:

1.1. Open the form you intend to use as the main form in design view. In the attached example database OpenAccessFormOnly.accdb, I have the same main menu form entitled frmMainMenu. Be sure to set the form property PopUp = True.

Step 1 How to Open your MS Access Application like a Customer Software Application Access Experts Blog IT Impact Jay McCormick

2. In the backstage view, open the Database Options window and choose the “Current Database” tab. In the “Display Form’’ option, drop-down the list and select the form you intend to use as the startup form. In my example, I have selected the form frmMainMenu.

step 2 How to Open your MS Access Application like a Customer Software Application Access Experts Blog IT Impact Jay McCormick

3. Click “OK” to close the database options dialog box.

4. You will see this message box appear

step 4 How to Open your MS Access Application like a Customer Software Application Access Experts Blog IT Impact Jay McCormick

Click ‘ok’.

5. Close the database.

6. Go to your desktop, right click in any blank area and choose ‘New’ then ‘Shortcut’. Browse to the .accdb file you just created. In this example, I choose the OpenAccessFormOnly.accdb database.

step 6 How to Open your MS Access Application like a Customer Software Application Access Experts Blog IT Impact Jay McCormick


Then click ‘next’ and ‘finish’ if necessary, creating the icon on your desktop.

Step 6 b How to Open your MS Access Application like a Customer Software Application Access Experts Blog IT Impact Jay McCormick

7. Right click on the shortcut you just created and choose ”Properties.”

Step 7 How to Open your MS Access Application like a Customer Software Application Access Experts Blog IT Impact Jay McCormick


8. This second dialog appears as below. Choose the ‘shortcut’ tab and notice a drop-down option called ‘Run’. Drop-down and choose ‘Minimized’ as shown below.

Step 8 How to Open your MS Access Application like a Customer Software Application Access Experts Blog IT Impact Jay McCormick



9. Click ‘Apply’ then click ‘OK’.

10. Double-click your icon and voila! Now you’ll ONLY see the main form appear, with Access minimized at the bottom of the screen.


About the Author:

Jay McCormick is a Senior Access Developer at IT Impact, Inc., and has been working on creating MS Access solutions since 1994. Jay has worked in five states, with dozens of clients building a wide range of applications in a wide spectrum of industries. Jay has excellent skill in understanding a customer’s need and translating that into a very usable application that meets the need. Jay has utilized MS Access with SQL Server, as well has high skills with linking Excel of SQL Server, and linked Access databases with other proprietary technologies. Jay contributes is currently pursuing a professional development path toward full Microsoft certification as a solutions developer, and Access MVP.


  1. Valentine Neng So November 25, 2018 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jay. Very helpful.
    You’re a legend.

  2. Tom F June 20, 2018 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    I used this method many years ago with Access 2003/2010. I had a problem with “screen flicker” application.echo false was not pausing screen updates while many events ran on the form(s). Have you noticed the same/similar issue (Do you see screen updates/rewrites/drawing between application.echo false and application.echo true)? Did you find a work around?

  3. Richard May 25, 2018 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Also, a few other things to keep the user from going “behind the scenes”… save your project as an executable file (*.accde, Access 2010) and on the desktop shortcut add the switch “/runtime” at the very end of the “Target:” option, outside the quotes. This will disable the right-click so the user can’t change the view as well as hide all your objects in the Navigation pane (and the Navigation pane itself) if the user happens to bring up the Access Window anyway.

    But here’s a problem I’m running into with that, and I have googled my butt off looking for a solution. When trying to position a popup form it appears Access always uses the top, left corner of the Access window, below the Access Ribbon and to the right of the Navigation pane as the top, left most corner (position 0, 0). If I drag the form further up or left its position goes negative. I have found a way to get the height of the Ribbon { CommandBars(“ribbon”).Height } but not the width of the Navigation pane. And when I have the main Access window minimized the numbers for the top, left of my form are even more bizzare (when placed in the top, left most corner the position is 19,013/18,113, what tha? With Access visible the position depends on where in the window Access is placed as well as the height of the ribbon and the width of the navigation pane). Also, since the position (WindowTop / WindowLeft / WindowHeight / WindowWidth) are all integers they are limited to 32,767 (Twips) so in a dual monitor environment once it hits that limit it goes to a negative number.

    So basically here’s what I’m trying to do, and in the end it may be futile. I have a popup form with just a listbox and a close button. The form is popup & sizable, I have everything working the way I want with the controls staying anchored and resizing as the form is resized. I want to limit the size of the form, seems easy enough, in the “Resize” event of the form I check the “WindowWidth”/”WindowHeight” and if it’s greater than the limit I set then I reset it to the maximum. It causes a little screen flicker as I try to drag the form bigger and it keeps resetting it, but it’s not a show-stopper. But, for whatever reason, I don’t want the user to move any part of the form off the screen. There is a “Resize” event but no “Move” event, and since I don’t really know where on the screen the form is, it’s hard to test if it’s beyond the limits to move it back. Any suggestions? I’ve tried various API calls to get the info I’m looking for but none have worked so far.

  4. John Bennett May 25, 2018 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Hi Jay, I know this thread has been running for a couple of years however I’ve only just decided to run my application without all the MS Access back ground information.Your instructions worked fine for me first go and still doing so. Thanks for your help.

    I have one issue though, I have two buttons on a form, one to open a report in review mode, the other to print a hard copy of the report. Selecting the review button only gives me a small icon in the middle of the open form. The button that requests a hard copy without the review option works fine.

    Do you have any suggestions as to why I cant review the report full size rather than display just a small icon.

  5. Muhammad Ijaz May 20, 2018 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Worked well but a slight problem with reports. report are also minimized. Report don’t show their contents until refreshed. How to solve that?

  6. Jay McCormick fan May 9, 2018 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Works like a charm!

  7. Wajdi April 29, 2018 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Thanks, I did the steps and it works but the buttons on the form no longer working, advise please.

    • Wajdi April 29, 2018 at 2:18 pm - Reply

      I changed the property “pop up” for all the forms in the database to “yes” and it works.
      Thanks again.

  8. Steve the Idiot February 27, 2018 at 7:44 am - Reply

    I just locked myself out of a huge important database that I made for work….modal popup login form that my VBA was working perfectly on before I set it up in my autoexec macro to load ……
    HELP!!!! Please!!!

    • Jason May 2, 2018 at 11:58 pm - Reply

      Hold shift while opening. Don’t let go until it is open.

  9. Frank February 23, 2018 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Jay, You are an Idol !!!!

  10. David Hillan February 22, 2018 at 5:59 am - Reply

    Hi Jay and all

    I have a main form I have called ‘home’ it contains buttons to navigate to and open other forms. Seems to work well but I don’t want users to view all the other Access tools etc…

    When I set the ‘home’ form properties to popup = yes .. it displays exactly like I want it BUT the buttons I use to navigate to other forms no longer work… I’m sure there’s a simple explanation or fix.


    In anticipation

    Doodahdave – Perth Western Australia

    • Carol Merrill April 21, 2018 at 3:00 am - Reply

      David, share how you did that please! Thanks.

  11. Jacqueline February 13, 2018 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    I have made all the changes in your document, but the full MS Access application window still opens. I am using MS Access 2016. Thanks for a reply.

  12. Errol February 8, 2018 at 5:46 am - Reply

    Worked perfectly – no complicated VBA code required; it’s all point-and-click. Thanks.

  13. Shamim December 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    But there is problem in showing report. Report is not shown in this mode. plz giv any solution

  14. G Bradley November 1, 2017 at 4:25 am - Reply

    I did it. It worked fine.
    Now I need to make a change and it doesn’t seem to allow me to set it back


  15. Aftab Hussain September 10, 2017 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Once you minimize the pop out form and then go back into it, the Access window itself gets opened at that point. Is there any way around that?

  16. Matt August 4, 2017 at 3:00 am - Reply

    I like it…except, when I close the pop-up form (e.g. MainMenu), Access remains on my taskbar, it doesn’t close?

  17. Maria Favereaux January 19, 2017 at 1:46 am - Reply

    Thank you soooo very much!

  18. Brian August 4, 2016 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Once you minimize the pop out form and then go back into it, the Access window itself gets opened at that point. Is there any way around that?

  19. Shahram Vesali June 12, 2016 at 4:19 am - Reply

    Perfect. worked very well for me. Thank you

  20. Mandy June 3, 2016 at 4:23 am - Reply

    It’s easy and great? thank u

  21. Affiq Arip June 1, 2016 at 9:02 am - Reply

    is it possible if i want my forms to run out of access? i mean that i dont need to open access to run the forms no matter it is minimized or not. is it possible? this is my task to try to run the forms without opening access.

  22. wonder stars™ April 9, 2016 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    thank you very much.
    worked on win7 very well

  23. Anthony Gyasi February 12, 2016 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks very much………….. works so great

  24. Sanjay November 25, 2015 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Good Work. I am able to open the main form but when I press the button I created for my record, it does not show me the form for the record but the main form only. please guide how to move forward from the main menu ?

  25. AccessGuy June 6, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Nice. Except… Now none of my right-click shortcut menus display anymore. No errors. They just wont display. Any idea how to fix that and still keep the Access window minimized?

    • Jay McCormick June 8, 2015 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      AccessGuy – interesting…… didn’t know simply opening access minimized would result in causing the shortcut menus to not display anymore – bummer. There are a few workarounds – one accessed based workaround is to highjack a ‘right mouse click’ type event in the vein of a blog post at, and to create a form to appear at the point on the screen of the mouse pointer – a form that has no border, looks just like a pop up menu, etc. Another approach is to use API’s – there are lots of different articles like that have a great API type function to hide the actual access window. My blog post here was meant in the spirit of ‘low tech’ simple no coding solution. Obviously you have shown that it sort of wipes out the shortcut menus, so it wont work on apps that have short cut menus.

      • AccessGuy June 8, 2015 at 7:51 pm - Reply

        Thanks. Yeah that mvp routine you link to is the first thing I tried. Same problem. If the Access window is minimized by any means I have tried, shortcut menus silently just fail to display. Bummer indeed. So far my resolution is like the old doctor joke: “Well, don’t do that…” But I would love to find a better one.

        • Jay McCormick June 8, 2015 at 7:54 pm - Reply

          You will have to go with the first link I supplied, simulate a right mouse click event combined with actually opening up an access form that looks like a right mouse click menu. A hack workaround but I’ve seen people use forms for right mouse click menus before. That is your only hope before you hit the wall of the old doctor joke of “Well, don’t do that…..”

          • Mark June 22, 2018 at 11:51 pm

            I am having similar problem, but with my custom ribbon not loading (which is all that will be in place when rolled out).

            If I switch from Minimized to Normal, ribbon loads fine

            When set to Minimized, from either direct shortcut or from a .bat file (which I prefer as I query the registry to make sure I am calling Access/Office 2016 path to MSACCESS.EXE) no go, custom ribbon not showing nor can I access any of the built in ribbons.

            Any ideas?

          • Ben Clothier June 23, 2018 at 9:49 pm

            Just in case — could that you do not have the “Show User Interface Errors” checked? By default it’s not, and thus any errors w/ ribbons will be silently suppressed, leaving you with no custom ribbons. You can find that via the Access Options dialog on the Current Database pane.

  26. Paul Cook-Giles March 20, 2015 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    I’m feeling awfully dim; I’ve been working in Access for 20 years, and always wanted to have my users see only the forms (or other created objects) at runtime, and not the full db window. I’m running Access 2010, have followed these instructions several times– both with your downloaded db and my own– and I’m still seeing the full db window. Any suggestions?

    • Jay McCormick March 20, 2015 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      You have to have the shortcut set to open the database MINIMIZED. Without that little checkbox checked ‘open minimized’ in the icon that is on the desktop, it won’t work. It has to be a SHORTCUT pointing to the actual database. Also, the opening form you have set must be pop up. Again, it has to be a shortcut and the shortcut has to open minimized.

      • Paul Cook-Giles March 21, 2015 at 12:11 am - Reply

        I’m just stumped. I have a shortcut on my desktop, the Run: option in the shortcut is “Minimized”, and the database’s DisplayForm is frmMainMenu, with the PopUp property set to Yes.

        • Jay McCormick March 21, 2015 at 12:36 am - Reply

          you could have the maximize property set on the form itself – have you checked that? my example is proven to work.

  27. Andy Rice February 5, 2015 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    I like that, thanks.

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