Table and Field Templates

Development is about creating better solutions. Using built-in features and functionality not only reduces development time, but it lessens problems down the road and allows developers to focus on more complex issues.

When you are building an application that includes a contacts table (that would be just about every application), you can now select one or more tables from the list of template tables and build from there. The five standard table templates are Contacts, Tasks, Issues, Events, and Assets. Once added, the tables can be customized by dragging fields from the Field Template task pane or by creating additional fields of your own. It's also that simple to add fields to tables that were designed from scratch. Chapter 21 explains how to create and share custom templates. Regrettably, even if you create your own table templates, you cannot add them to the ribbon.

Being able to add or delete fields in Datasheet view means that you can add a field and begin using it without switching views. This is essentially what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) for tables. With that in mind, you can now use Datasheet view to add fields from existing tables or templates. It just takes a few easy steps. With a table in Datasheet view, click the Datasheet tab. The controls for Fields & Columns appear toward the left. Click the New Field command and the Field Templates display in a new pane on the right. There are nine basic fields plus six tables of field templates. That makes it easy to add fields based on their type, such as rich text or attachment, or based on what they will contain, such as a priority status or date.

Using a template does not mean that you are stuck with its properties. Switch to Design view and make all the adjustments you want. From Design view, you can also copy and paste fields between existing tables and even to a table in a different database.

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