I have a very simple database which lists students who have went on exchange both in and out of our university. I am able to do a simple user entered query along the lines of [Enter university] or 'between [enter year] and [enter year]'
but here is where it gets confusing (for me) - the list of universities changes every year and we also send students on exchange through other local universities programs - which means their exchange parter is not on our list. My question are:
1) The univeristies names are very long how can I allow the user to abreviate the title such as L'Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines - abreviated = UVSQ
2) is it possible to use a drop down box within the query so the user can select rather than risk problems with spelling
3)if I can use a list box would it still be possible for the user to enter a criteria which is not on the list.

I find some of these options easier within excel but my boss wants it in access - I am lost using access so any clear guidance woudl be appreciated.

my field names are simple: institution, year, first_name, surname, student#,country, length. the tables are called 'incoming' and 'outgoing'


You can add a field in the actual table with the universities names abbreviated. If you would like a drop down box you could use the lookup wizard to make this available so the individual can't change it.

Actually it would be better for you to draw up a query and then make a form. The form would be the best way for an outside user besides yourself. You can use the wizard or design view to make it.

If you want the user to be able to enter criteria on the list, that option is actually in the lookup wizard. It will give you an option for strict adherence to the list or user can add stuff.