Microsoft KB Archive/168872

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Article ID: 168872

Article Last Modified on 1/19/2007


  • Microsoft Access 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q168872

Novice: Requires knowledge of the user interface on single-user computers.


When you click the Subform Field Linker Build button next to the LinkChildFields or LinkMasterFields property of a bound subform property sheet, you may receive the following error message:

Can't build a link between unbound forms.


The linking field for the main form is not bound to a table or query.


You must manually create the link between the main form and the subform by typing the field names that you want to use in the LinkChildFields and Link MasterFields property box.


You will be able to use the Subform Field Linker Builder to link the fields in your main form/subform combination only if the following conditions are true:

  • Both the main form and the child object are based on tables or queries, and a relationship between those objects has been defined with the Relationships command.
  • The main form is based on a table with a primary key, and the subform is based on a table or query that contains a field with the same name and the same or a compatible data type as the primary key.

Steps to Reproduce Behavior

  1. Open the sample database Northwind.mdb.
  2. Create a new form not based on any table or query in Design view, and save the form as Form1.
  3. Add a combo box to the form with the name SelectCustomer.
  4. Set the RowSource property of the SelectCustomer combo box to:

Select CustomerID from Customers ORDER BY CustomerID

  1. Close and save Form1.
  2. Create a new form based on the Orders table by using the AutoForm: Columnar Wizard. Close and save the form as Form2.
  3. Reopen Form1 in Design view and position the form so that you can see the Database window. Drag Form2 from the Database window to the detail section of Form1.
  4. View the properties of the Form2 subform control, click the Data tab, and position the pointer in the LinkMasterFields property box. Click the Build button.

Note that you receive the error message mentioned in the "Symptoms" section.


For more information about creating links between a main form and a subform, search the Help Index for "linking subforms," and then "How Microsoft Access links main forms and subforms."

Keywords: kbprb kbusage KB168872