The Linux Page

Access 2007, or where are my menus?!

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My Boring Story

Microsoft Office is making progress... or... is that really progress?!

I got a great little surprised when I met face to face with Access 2007 and all the menus were gone. I wasn't warned about that one! Not only are they gone, you MUST use little tiny icons in the place of menus so it takes you an awful long time to learn the icons, but not just that, YOU have to choose which icons will appear on your toolbar.

At first you may think: Wow! Great! That looks neat. Well... we already had the functionality for a long time (since 2000 or so). The problem is that you look at the list of commands, there are like well over 100 of them and of course, many go by the same name (or at least very similar) such as "View" and "Views". Explainations for those? Probably, but I wanted to be effective immediately, not after reading 100 pages of documentations. So I just tested and selected what I needed, very slowly.

Now that was not too too bad (okay, super bad, but what I'm going to talk about it 100 times worse!) But think about having access to your tables and forms. Oh! That's called the Navigation Pane. And all you have to do, according to the documentation as found on Microsoft's website is click on the new Microsoft button at the top-left and select the "Access Options" button. Simple enough. So, let's click on that Microsoft button. Nothing! That is, only two options: Close Database and Exit Access. No "Access Options" button. Hmmmm.... what do I do now?!

The fact is that these Access Options are saved inside the Access Database. So whenever you load a database, if it says to hide everything, everything is hidden and you are on your own. More precisely, they try to hide most everything so your database users do not mess around with the code. But when you want to work on the programs, that's quite difficult without any menus!

So... there are actually several places where you can access the "Access Options". The toolbar has a small drop down button that offers you to customize the bar. Click on the "More Commands..." menu item. That will get you to the right place and you can then click on Current Database. The "Current Database" shows you the options for the current database and that includes the "Hide all the menus". Search for the checkbox named "Allow Full Menus" or use Alt-M. Then click on OK. That saves the information in the database, but you still need to quit and come back for the effect to take place. Until then, you still will not have any menus.

Quick Recap


  • No menus available and no way to get them back!
  • Navigation Pane does not appear on startup

Reason Why

  • The previous programmer hid these so regular users do not mess up the code (too easily).


  • Click on the small menu bar dropdown and select "More Commands...", or right-click on the Microsoft button at the top-left and select "Customize QuickAccess Toolbar..."1
  • Click on "Current Database"
  • Search "Allow Full Menus" and make sure it is checked
  • Click OK
  • Close the database (you can also close Access entirely)
  • Reload the database
  • Problem solved!
  • 1. The menu item appears grayed out? That would be because your license is out of date (or you never got a license.)