Ms Access – Percentage Field Formatting

A quick tip to fix what shouldn’t be a problem!

Occasionally, Access can act rather confusingly. I ran into a typical example early this morning, when I was trying to get Access to allow entry of percentages correctly. I’ve done this about one thousand times before and probably solved this problem one thousand times as well, but every time it happens it causes me to scratch my head (mostly in disbelief).

What happens is this: You set up a field in a table, designate it to be formatted as percentage. Right OK – you go to your form design, set up your input fields, and then try to enter a number as a percentage, and notice that it keeps rounding to 100% or 0%. Frustration ++.

Back to table design. The problem here is that you have to correctly set the field data type as well as the data type format. However, the data type is not integer, double, or even decimal – it is usually single. Once you set that on your percentage fields, you can enter data in decimal format (i.e. 0.5, 0.25 etc etc) and it will show up in its proper percent format.

I know this is shouldn’t be a problem but, amazingly, people get caught by it all the time, and there doesn’t seem to be clear answers on the web. Hopefully this tip does something to addressing this issue.

68 Comments

  1. From memory, it might depend on your access version. Newer versions have figured this out (that when you say 2.5 in a percentage field, you mean 2.5% and not 250%). You could simply set it to percentage.

  2. Thank you so much for this information! Why are points like this not given to us in the help section? How hard would it be to add the line “When dealing with percents, be sure that your variable and field are set to ‘single’.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. “I know this is shouldnโ€™t be a problem but, amazingly, people get caught by it all the time, and there doesnโ€™t seem to be clear answers on the web. Hopefully this tip does something to addressing this issue.”

    So true. Thanks for the info.

  4. Thank you!!!

    Couldn’t find this answer anywhere and even in the “For Dummies” book, they don’t mention how to create percentage fields correctly. It is as if everyone ASSUMES that it is widely understood how to do this!!! For all your people explaining Access percentages out there… Start from how to create the actual data field in the design view… WHY doesn’t anyone (except daz here) explain this??? And Microsoft… seriously, fix this, or make a pop-up or something. GEEZ. Thanks Daz.

  5. Wow, thanks for this! Not only was this problem super annoying, the task of putting the problem into words on a search engine was tough as well! Your solution worked like a charm.

  6. While I only suffered with this for a day, and not quite at the suicide/homicide point, I’m still very glad you posted the answer 4 years ago. And yes, it seems Microsoft is still expecting us all the “guess” at how things really work. So glad there are folks like you willing to share solutions!

    1. Yeah, I’m pretty stoked to know this small post has proved so helpful to people over the years and still is helpful! I’m guessing this issue might still exist in Access 2010 then? (I haven’t used 2010)

  7. Thank you so much! I couldn’t figure this one out. Very frustrating, until I found your easy answer: Change “field size” in Table Design View to “Single”. Voilร ! Thank you and have a very Merry Christmas!

  8. Very helpful, but I still have to divide my number by 100 to get it to display properly. I am working in Access 2010, just installed and I want to show .03%. m To get that I have to enter .0003. What am I doing wrong!

    1. Hi Karel, I’m not sure if I can help – I don’t have access 2010.

      However, what you have entered – .0003 is actually .03% though..I’m not sure if I understand whats wrong…

  9. How do i calculate a % in an access 2010 form where it has to count both fileds w/ & w/o data until it reaches100%? In excel, it looks like this- =COUNTA(F3:F41)/(COUNTBLANK(F3:F41)+COUNTA(F3:F41)).

    thanks for any help you can provide.

    1. Sorry Dan, I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking – I’m guessing you’re talking about cumulative calculations? I don’t think Access have equivalent Counta or countblank functions either.

  10. More hair saved and not pulled out due to this 4 year old information ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much!! (Oh, and I have Access 2010 and the help is still no help as far as percentages go.)

  11. As if you haven’t heard this already…but thank you! Saved me on a class project today. It’s amazing how simple this was once you pointed it out.

  12. 2010 version of Access.
    I’m entering data as a percentage.
    Access is taking the whole number, rounding to an integer, then giving me that as a percentage. Eg. 2.5 becomes 200%. I’m new to Access, but have played with the Data Type and Format, which I’ve set to Number and Percent, respectively.
    I realise it’s been more than 7 years since you posted about this glitch, but I’m hoping you’re still out there in cyber land.

    1. OK, got it, cheers for the guidance.
      I just needed to find out how to set the Field Size…
      For anyone else looking, it’s here:
      office.microsoft.com/en-001/access-help/set-the-field-size-HA010341996.aspx#BM2

  13. My case is slightly different. The number (e.g. 12%) appear correct as 12 in the table, but wrong (1200%) in the form and report field.
    Both these fields are set as Percentage without decimals, the one in the table as Single.

    Any idea?

    1. What version are you using of access? Does it work when you put in 0.12?

      I’ve just tried it in 2007 – modelling my table exactly the way you’ve suggested and entered via datasheet and form and both seem to work out fine – it shows 12%.

      1. Access version is 2007, but is possible that the database has been created with a previous version, and then converted to 2007. Don’t know if that could be relevant.
        Anyway, if i put 0,12 in the form, the table shows 0,0012

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