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Using MS Access/Combo Box Drop Down List is Blank


doug wrote at 2008-01-16 22:38:50
This just started happening to my databases today. I think it might be related to an update. 14 updates ran on my pc this morning and I'm getting the blank data in the drop down lists, so I tried a pc that hasn't installed the updates and the drop downs work fine. I'm going to uninstall updates to see if it starts working.

d.a.n wrote at 2008-07-01 18:23:28
PROBLEM: Microsoft Access combo-box (i.e. drop-down list) is blank.

SOLUTION: This is a bug in Microsoft Access.

This may only be a problem with Microsoft Access 2003 with Service Pack 3.

Also, while the combo-box is blank, it may still be possible to select an item from the list.

That is, while the combo-box appears blank, the entries are actually only invisible.

The problem is a Microsoft bug that changes the design of a field in a table by adding a ">" character in the formatting field of a text field.  

Remove the ">" character and/or other invalid formatting.

The ">" character should force all characters to upper-case, but it instead makes them invisible.

mdbman wrote at 2012-12-05 11:33:58
Same problem with @ format (text list imported as Access2003 table from Excel 2010 all as length 255, format @)

Using MS Access

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Richard Rost


I am happy to answer any kinds of questions about Microsoft Access - from basic table design to advanced VBA programming. Also, please feel free to check the Access Tips & Tricks section of my web site, and free Access 101 tutorial.


I am the president of and I specialize in Microsoft Access Tutorials. I have been teaching Access in the classroom since 1994, and online since 2002.

I am a self-taught Access expert. I have been building databases for clients since the early 90s. You can see a sample of my Access Tutorials on my web site at

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