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Request for help creating a Custom Value List


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My colleagues aren’t really grasping the concept of the ‘edit…’ button in a value list for a drop-down menu and keep coming back to me with the same requests, so I’m after a better way to use a drop-down menu for them.

We have a “Trades” field whose values are chosen from a drop-down list generated from a Custom Values List. So when a new trade is to be entered, you choose edit… and enter the new trade then choose that value. However nobody is doing this, they are just entering the value into the “Trades” field and then coming back to me saying that the value isn’t present when they go to use it again. I have explained how Value Lists work, but they are not understanding or willing to change how they enter data.

So… what I would like to happen is to have the value list generate from another table, but also have it so that as they enter new data into the “Trades” field it will automatically enter the value into the table that the value list generate it’s values. This seems very difficult and not something I would usually do so that’s why I’m posting.

Now to elaborate:

  • The field that the value list will get it’s information is TradeValues::TradesValues
  • The field that will retain the information for the record is CompanyDetails:Trade

I have linked the two tables up in a relationship based on these two fields and have created a value list to get its values from TradeValues::TradeValues. Now the difficult part, when someone wants to add a new value they wont actually edit the TradeValues::TradeValues field because they want to simply type into the CompanyDetails::Trade field and somehow have the value add to the value list. The problem I can see is that if I make the TradeValues::TradeValues copy data from the CompanyDetails::Trade field it will copy 50+ instances of the same value (for example ‘fencing’, which is why we usually work the other way. But as I explained before, my colleagues do not understand how the list populates values, and are not willing to change their data entry practices. So I need a way for CompanyDetails::Trades to generate a value list from TradeValues::TradeValues, but also have TradeValues::TradeValues reflect all the trades from CompanyDetails::Trades but not show repeated data. If you can think of a better opinion on how to generate this list please let me know. Also I would appreciate a nice ‘This cannot or should not be done’ so I can print the post and show them what others think about the idea.

It would be great if we could get this working, but I don’t like the idea of figuring this out simply because nobody is willing to understand how a database actually stores/generates information. Also I see this as a problem because instead of creating a generic list of values to choose from, and therefore search, they will just create a custom value for every entry therefore making the whole point of a drop down list become unnecessary, eg. instead of just ‘fencing’ they will create ‘fencing – chainwire’, ‘fencing - wooden’, ‘fencing – temporary’, when this extra information should be entered into the comments/notes field ( because that’s how we decided to set it up).

Any help or comments would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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A value list, based on a field (does not have to be in a different table) will do what you want, I think.


If you set the behavior to auto-complete, and the field options to UNIQUE, then they can type in the field, and if it already exists, it will show up, or they can pick from the drop down, which will show up as they type, reducing in length as the content becomes more selective. The UNIQUE attribute will eliminate redundant entry (although how that can occur in an auto-complete list is questionable).

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