Setting the Tab Order in a Form

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This article is part of the To Base and Back Again tutorial series.

When you create a form with the wizard, Base specifies a fairly logical tab order. (The tab order is the order you move through the fields by pressing the tab key.) But if you move the fields around, or if you delete text fields and enter combo box controls, the tab order will be altered. And sometimes you may not agree with Base's definition of a "logical tab order."

[edit] Setting the Tab Order

For this exercise, we will set the tab order in the main form of the Field Trips Data Entry form.

  1. Click on the Forms icon in the left hand column of the main database document page
  2. Right-click or control-click on the form named Field Trips Data Entry choose Edit from the contextual menu. The form opens in design view.
  3. Double click on one of the fields in the top part of the form.
    If the Properties box that opens is named Properties: Multisection and the only tab is the General tab, the data entry field is grouped with its label field. Before continuing, you will need to do the following:
    1. Close the Properties window, go to the Format menu, choose Group and then Ungroup.
    2. Click somewhere else on the form to deselect the two fields.
    3. double click on the field again.
  4. In the General tab, find the Tab order line and click the ... button that is in that same line, to the right of the empty box.
  5. Use the Up and Down buttons to move the fields into the order you want. (If you have created combo boxes for several of the fields on this form, you will see why the tutorial on combo boxes recommended giving each one a name that identified it.)
  6. Close the Properties window by clicking on the red circle in the upper left hand corner.

[edit] Excluding a Control from the Tab Order

Sometimes, you may have a control on your form that you do not want to be part of the tab order. (A control is any item drawn on a form. For example, labels, text boxes, combo boxes, and buttons are all controls). The example below presumes that you have added a button to the Field Trips Data Entry form that allows you to open the Locations Data Entry form.

  1. With the Field Trips Data Entry form opened in Design View (i.e you control-clicked the form name and choose Edit, double click on the New Location button on the form.
  2. In the Properties box that opens, in the General tab, find the line named Tabstop. You will see that the drop-down menu on that line is set to Yes set it to No.

Note: Double clicking on another field and resetting the tab order from there may re-include the button in the tab order.

[edit] Using the Form Navigator to Set Tab Order

The Form Navigator can be used to set many form and control properties.

  1. Make sure the Form Design Toolbar is visible. If it is not, go to the View Menu and choose Toolbars and finally Form Design
  2. Click on the Form Navigator button on the Form Design toolbar.
  3. Right-click or control-click on the Form icon in the Form Navigator window. The icon is probably name Main Form, although it may have a different name. Choose Tab Order... from the contextual menu.
  4. Adjust the tab order as desired in the Tab Order window and click OK

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