How to Create an Input Mask in Access [2023 Updated]

In this article, we will be discussing all about Access Database Input Mask features to explore something new. Also, you will learn here how to create Access Input Mask in table fields, query fields, and controls on forms or reports.

So, let’s get started….!

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What Is An Input Mask In A Database?

Microsoft Access Input mask is generally used for reducing inconsistency in datasets by defining specific character templates for fields that check the information which users enter during the data entry.

If the mask template won’t match the database will throw a warning message and won’t place the record in the table until the format mismatch is get resolved.

You can say, an Access input mask is a user-generated set of rules.  As you can even help users to enter the correct data into your database by assigning input masks for the field which contain data that is formatted in certain ways.

Input Mask Access examples

For example- when you use the input mask to ensure that people will enter the correct format phone number into the field of a phone number.

Access Database input masks affect whether the Access accepts a data; it doesn’t change the type of stored data. As, this task is controlled via data type of field & other properties.

Also read: How to Create a Table in Design View in Access?

What Is The Purpose Of An Input Mask?

The input mask consisting numerous characters which indicate a format of the valid input values. You can make use of this input mask when it is compulsory that the input values format is consistent.

Basically, you can use it in table fields, controls, and query fields on forms/reports. An input mask is saved as the object property.

These Access Masks consist of one essential part & 2optional parts & each part is split with the semicolon. However, the purpose of each part is mentioned below:

  • Mandatory part:

This contains the mask character or string along with the placeholders & literals data like periods, parentheses, and hyphens.

  • Optional Part 1:

This denotes the characters of embedded masks & how they’re saved in the field. However, if this part is actually set to the value 0, the characters are actually saved with the data and if it is set to 1, then the characters are only shown and don’t get stored anywhere. So setting this part to one can save the database storage space.

  • Optional Part 2:

This one is the 3rd part and is even optional & it indicates the single character/space used as the placeholder. If you need to use any character then enter it in this third section of your mask otherwise by default Access will use an underscore (_).

What Are The Limitation To Use Access Input Masks?

MS Access input masks aren’t suitable for every condition. It is not necessary to use this mask if the below situations apply to:

  • People are sometimes required to enter the data which does not match a mask. The input mask doesn’t throw any exceptions. So, in that case, you do need not to use it.
  • While you are using the Date Picker Control via the Date or Time field.

Also read: How to Create Calculated Field in Access Query/Table [2023]

How To Create An INPUT MASK In Access 2016/2013?

In this section, I am going to share some easy tricks on how to create an input mask in Access 2016. So, you can easily create input mask Access for different Access database objects like tables, forms, reports or queries, etc.

Trick 1# Adding An Input Mask To The Table:

To build an input mask for a field in an Access 2013 table by using the Microsoft Access Input Mask Wizard: You can even use an input mask with fields set to the number, text, currency, & date, and time data type.

  1. Go to Navigation Pane >> right-click a Table.
  2. After that, tap on the Design View which you can see on a shortcut menu.
  3. Tap on a field where you need to add an input mask.
  4. On a General tab, go to the Field Properties; hit the property box of Input Mask.
  5. To start with input mask wizard click Build button.
  6. Under Input Mask List >> choose the Mast Type that you need to add.

Microsoft Access Input Mask

     6.Tap on the Try It option and enter some data to check how the mask will work.

     7.If you don’t want to do any changes to Input Mask then tap on the Next

     8.Select the option for how to get stored the data.

     9.Hit the Finish option and save all your changes.

Trick 2# Adding Input Mask To A Form Or Report Control

  1. Under Navigation Pane, make a right click on the form or report you to want to modify & click on design view on the shortcut menu.
  2. Make a right click on the Control that you wish to change. After then click on the Properties option on the shortcut menu.
  3. On the All tab, tap to the Input Mask property box.
  4. To start an input mask wizard hit the Build button, and then carefully follow the instruction in the wizard.

Also read: Create a New Form Using Form Wizard in Access [Tutorial]

Trick 3# Adding Input Mask To A Query

  1. From the navigation pane, make a right click to the query that you want to change and click to the Design View on the shortcut menu.
  2. In the query design grid, keep the pointer in the column for the field you wants to change. You can keep the cursor to any row of that field too.
  3. To open the property sheet for the field, Press F4.
  4. Within the Field Properties, on a General tab, tap on Input Mask property box.
  5. Now hit the Build button to open an Input Mask Wizard. After then follow the instructions carefully in the wizard.

How To Create the Custom Input Masks?

Input masks wizard offers input masks for the common formatting requirements. But do you know you can create your own custom input mask as per your requirement. Access database input masks are customized in 2 ways:

Way 1: Changing a predefined mask from an input mask wizard

Way 2: Change a property of an input mask field where you need the mask to apply.

Customize Input Masks From The Input Mask Wizard

  1. Open an object in the Design View and tap on the field where you want to apply the Custom the Input Mask.
  2. To start an Input Mask Wizard tap to the Build.
  3. Now hit the Edit List option.

This will open a dialog box named “Customize Input Mask Wizard”.

Customize Input Mask Wizard

  1. Now move to the fresh record in a dialog & in a Description box you have to type New Description.
  2. Under the text box of input mask, enter the placeholders and characters using allowed characters from a table
  3. Now hit Mask Type to make a selection for the appropriate mask type.
  4. Tap on the Close option. Now, a fresh input mask will display in a list.


After knowing this very helpful Access Input Masks feature complete details. Now you can use this in your Access Database Table, Query, Form, Or Report Control or simply customize your own input masks on your own.

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Pearson Willey is a website content writer and long-form content planner. Besides this, he is also an avid reader. Thus he knows very well how to write an engaging content for readers. Writing is like a growing edge for him. He loves exploring his knowledge on MS Access & sharing tech blogs.