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How to: Set Tab Order for Controls

The tab order of a form determines the sequence in which the controls are selected when a user presses the TAB key to move through the form.

You can choose two different methods for setting tab order: interactively, by clicking the controls in the order you want them to be selected when the form is used; or by arranging a list of controls in a dialog box.

To choose a tab-ordering method

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box choose the Forms tab.

  3. Under the Tab Ordering option, select Interactive or By List.

This procedure describes how to choose a tab-ordering method for the Set Tab Order button in the Form Designer Toolbar. You can also choose a tab-ordering method from the Tab Order option in the View menu.

Setting Tab Order Interactively

In interactive mode, you set tab order by double-clicking the control you want to be first in the tab order, and then single-clicking on the rest of the controls in the order in which you want them to be selected in the form. The last control selected is indicated with a highlighted tab order number.

To change the tab order interactively

  1. From the View menu, choose Tab Order.

  2. Choose Assign Interactively.

  3. Double-click the tab order box beside the control you want to be the first control in the tab order.

  4. Click the tab order box for each of the other controls.

  5. Click anywhere on the form to save your changes and exit Tab Order mode, or press ESC to exit Tab Order mode without saving your changes.

Setting Tab Order by List

In list mode, you set tab order by rearranging the control names in the Tab Order dialog box. You can set order by row (down the form) or by column (across the form).

To set the tab order using a list

  1. From the View menu, choose Tab Order.

  2. Choose Assign by List.

  3. Choose By Row or By Column.

  4. In the Tab Order dialog box, use the pointer to rearrange the list.

  5. Choose OK.

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