Visual Basic Code of the Week (COTW)
Issue #62
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All content and source code is Copyright (c) 1998 by C&D Programming Corp. No part of this issue can be reprinted or distributed in any manner without express written permission of C&D Programming Corp.

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Requirements for this Issue

Recently we have received many requests for some routines specific to Microsoft Access. The source code in this issue is designed for Microsoft Access 97. Similiar code should work in Visual Basic 5.0 and up.

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In this Issue

The routines included in this issue shows how to update counters and pad strings is Access.

Updating counters are useful when you want to control how a number gets incremented and the AutoNumber feature does not work since you need to have some control over the starting number or the sequence.

Padding strings are useful when you are exporting some data to a text file and need it to be formatted in a specific way. For example, we were creating text file extracts for EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and were required to pad data to the correct length. These functions let you perform that padding very easily.

If you have any other requests for specific Access source code, let us know at


There are three public functions in this module that you can use.

The first is GetNextValue which can be used to increment the value stored in a database. It is very useful for invoice numbers, check numbers or any other type of number that needs to be incremented.

PadRight will add blanks to the right side of the string and PadLeft will add them to the left side of the string. For example PadRight("923", 6) will return the string "923 " (there are three blanks after 923). PadLeft("923", 6) will return " 923" (there are three blanks to the left of 923).

Public Function GetNextValue(sTable As String, sField as String) As Long
Public Function PadRight(sData As String, lLength As Long) As String
Public Function PadLeft(sData As String, lLength As Long) As String



GetNextValue returns a Long Integer value. PadRight and PadLeft return the padded string.

Sample Usage

    MsgBox PadRight("LASTNAME,FIRST", 20)
    ' Will print LASTNAME,FIRST followed by 6 blanks.
    MsgBox PadLeft("123.99", 10)
    ' Will print 123.99 preceeded with 4 blanks.

    MsgBox PadRight("LASTNAME,FIRST", 8)
    ' Will print LASTNAME
    ' When the source string is less than the length it is truncated.

    ' Example for GetNextValue
    ' Assumes rs is an open recordset in edit mode
    ' InvoiceCounter is the table name and InvNumber is the field name
    rs.Fields("Invoice Number") = GetNextValue("InvoiceCounter", "InvNumber")

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