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How to Fix “#Error” Displayed by Text Boxes on Access Forms and Reports

Updated by David Wallis on 2019-04-15.


Problem

“I use expressions as the Control Source for text boxes on forms and reports. Some of these work OK, but others display ‘#Error’. I cannot see why. Do you know?”


Solution Applies To

This topic is relevant to Microsoft Access 97, 2000, 2002 (XP), 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019.


Answer

Whether form or report, I find the most common cause of the error is when the Name property of the text box control itself is the same as the name of a field assigned to the text box’s Control Source property.

Imagine a form based on a table that has a field named “TelNo”. Also, that a text box on the form is named “TelNo”. For the Control Source of the text box, you input

="Telephone No: " & [TelNo].

Now Access cannot make up its mind between TelNo the field and TelNo the text box, and as a result displays #Error.

Change the Name of the text box to “tebTelNo”, say, and the Control Source expression to

="Telephone No: " & [tebTelNo]

The text box should behave, displaying for example

Telephone No: 01732 833085


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“O hateful error, melancholy’s child!
Why dost thou show, to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not?”

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, (1599)