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 responses to “Ms Access – Percentage Field Formatting”

  1. Thank you.

    You are a lifesaver. I have been pulling my hair out with this for two days!

  2. Brett. No worries. Glad I could be of assistance.

  3. Thank you!
    I was really stuck on this on, hit this site on a Google search and Bingo, quick, easy and simple solution.

    Thanks agein!

  4. John – no worries! Glad to be of service.

  5. SimpleSimon Avatar

    But what if I want to enter “2.5” on the form and for it to be displayed as “2.5%” and stored as “2.5%” in the table?

  6. 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.

  7. ww1flyingace Avatar

    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™‚

  8. No worries ww1flyingace.

  9. trader joe Avatar
    trader joe

    “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.

  10. Debbie Dickinson Avatar
    Debbie Dickinson

    THANK YOU! Couldn’t find this anywhere and was also getting frustrated!

  11. Debbie, no worries. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Thank you – just saved me a lot of headscratching!!

  13. No worries Stuart.

  14. Thank you! That problem has been bugging me for days!

  15. Glad I could help Andres

  16. Thank you – like you, I’ve fixed it before, but always forget to make the field single!

  17. 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.

  18. No worries Ian!

  19. Louise Foley Avatar
    Louise Foley

    Wow, written 4 years ago and STILL helping people. Thank you, thank you!!

    1. Darragh Avatar

      Just shows that Microsoft still haven’t upped their game in their help files!

  20. Thierry Avatar

    Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. 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.

    1. Darragh Avatar

      Glad I could be of help!

  22. Thank you! I agree with all previous comments — very frustrating, and such an easy solution!

    1. No worries, glad to have helped!

  23. Anonymoose Avatar

    You, sir, are a god among men, and have prevented at least one shooting spree/suicide.

    1. Ha, I’m pleased I’ve prevented that with this old post then!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. 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)

  25. Thank you for the tip, it’s been drivinbg me up the wall for last few days.

    1. No worries at all!

  26. Chrsitine Avatar

    Thank you so much. I was going nuts trying to figure it out!

    1. No worries. Seems that this bug is still around! Lots of people are looking this solution up.

  27. Gee, THANK YOU for your post. Would have taken forever for me to figure this out as an Access beginner.

    1. No, thank you for commenting ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m really glad this little article is still helping people so long after I published it!

  28. 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!

    1. Excellent Jeri, glad I could be of help!

  29. Thanks heaps! It’s been driving me insane…

  30. 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. Darragh Avatar

      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…

  31. John W Avatar
    John W

    Thanks for this, I was really getting frustrated at why i was entering 20% and it displayed 0% itn’t the www (and yourself) wonderful.

    1. Darragh Avatar

      Glad to be of help. The documentation is pretty rubbish surrounding this !

  32. Cathi Avatar

    Yes, this is still an issue in 2010 ๐Ÿ™ THANKS!

    1. Darragh Avatar

      That’s very handy to know, thanks Cathi.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.)

    1. No worries Rebecca. Glad to have helped.

  35. Wow– actually almost 6 years old ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks again!!

  36. Thank you so much. Very helpfull.

  37. GENIUS…you have saved my life, this has been doing my head in for days

    1. Glad to have helped.

  38. Thank you! The only one that suggest me the right solution!!!

  39. Thank you so much!! This small problem has taken me days to sort out.

    1. Darragh Avatar

      Glad to be of assistance!

  40. accesnew Avatar

    Thank you!!!!!

  41. Thank you!it was veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy usefull.

  42. Echo thoughts of everyone above. Life saver! So quick to solve but would have taken me years on my own…. cheers.

    1. Ha no problems Keza! I’m super pleased (and somewhat surprised) this tip is still giving after all this time!

  43. Thank you! This was extremely helpful!

  44. 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.

    1. Darragh Avatar

      No worries Scott ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. 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:

    2. Darragh Avatar

      I am – you have to set the format to ‘single’ – that’s the key part if you want decimals or percents to stop the rounding.

  46. Mauri Avatar

    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. Darragh Avatar

      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. Mauri Avatar

        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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