Microsoft Access FormsMicrosoft Access Form Tip: Copy and Paste a Command Button without Losing its Picture

Written by: Luke Chung, FMS President

Paper applies to Microsoft Access 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and earlier.

Microsoft Access forms let you add pictures to command buttons. This is a nice way to visually identify buttons.

Microsoft Access Form Command Button with Email Graphic

Microsoft Access includes pictures you can select from its Picture Builder Wizard. The buttons can be just the picture or displayed with text depending on how you set the Picture Caption Arrangement property.

Use Your Own Graphic File

You can also use your own pictures by updating the command button's Picture property. From the Property Sheet, click the [...] button for the Picture property:

Microsoft Access Form Command Button Property Sheet

When the Picture Builder wizard loads, click on the [Browse] button to select your file:

Microsoft Access Form Command Button Picture Builder Wizard

In this example, we use a graphic of an envelope called email.bmp. If you like, download it to your disk and select it.

Once you have a command button with the picture and properties you want, you may want to duplicate it on this form or to another form. Using the Windows Clipboard to copy and paste seems like the way to do that.

Copy and Paste Loses the Picture

Unfortunately, when you copy and paste the button, the new button doesn't have the picture. From the Form Designer, the button on the left is the original that is copied. The button on the right is the pasted version:

Microsoft Access Form Command Button Picture lost with copy and paste

The picture is missing from the button on the right!

Could be a Serious Problem if You Don't Have the Graphic File

In our situation, we can easily update the Picture property by selecting the graphic file again (email.bmp).

However, you may want to duplicate a button where you can't find the original graphic file. Maybe you created it a long time ago or someone else created it, so you can't find it or maybe that file changed. This minor issue suddenly becomes a serious problem.

Fortunately, we discovered a trick to modify the original command button so it can be copied and pasted with its picture.

  1. Highlight the Picture property's value:
    highlight picture property

  2. Delete the value and press Enter. This dialog box appears:
    delete picture property

  3. Press the [No] button.

  4. It would seem like we did nothing, but surprise! The Picture property changed. Instead of the file name, it is now (bitmap):
    picture property changes to (bitmap)

Magic! You Can Now Copy and Paste the Command Button with its Picture!

After you do that, you can copy and paste the command button and preserve the picture:

Copy and Paste a Command Button Without Losing its Picture

The drawback is the name of the graphic file is gone from the Picture property. That may be a problem if you want the original file name, but once you can copy and paste the button, there may be no need for it.

Hope you find this tip helpful!

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