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Tab Order is set correctly, but does does not work when previewing

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I am currently designing a form in Adobe Life cycle 8.0. I set the tab order and everything looks good, but when I go to preview it in Acrobat 8.0 or Life cycle 8.0 it misses those tabs. Is there a fix?

Thanks alot,

56 Replies
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I'm having the same issue. Any fix yet?
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Same issue here, we need a fix asap please.
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The traversals will sometimes supersede the Tab Order you set. To correct this go into the XML source to see where the transversal is pointing to.


you may have to manual change CITY to the field you actually want.

another transversal will also create havok with tabbing. see sample below. Just delete this code.

Hope that helps.
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I tried the remedy your proposed King, and although it worked for the tab order which was functioning improperly, it seems to have created a difference in the order elsewhere (even though when viewing 'Tab Order' the numbers appear correctly.) Any other ideas? It seems to happen for me with form fields that are not originally detected by adobe when I import a .doc and which I have to add manually.
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I'm having the same issue with my tabbing - however, after looking through my XML source...cannot find anything noting <transversal> or something similar where it points to my next field.<br /><br />Any suggestions?
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There's got to be a way to get the tabs correct. I correct one and it messes up somewhere else. This is a bug Adobe should fix!
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Hello all,

One of the other things to try when the tab order is out of sync is to re-order the fields using the Hierarchy Tab in Designer.

When the Hierarchy of objects is in the order you want them to be for a tab order it seems that the tab order itself is more stable.

I have noticed however that there are still tab order problems with a repeated subform. If you set up a subform to repeat more than one time you cannot get the tab order to work properly from one instance to another instance of that subform.

Rick Kuhlmann

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I am experiencing the same problem . When I create a new form in LiveCycle with the tabs in the correct order, and then save and open in Adobe Reader, my tabs are not in the correct order anymore.
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Same issue over here. I have found that deleting all of the

tags and redoing the tab order will work in most cases, but I'm still having a problem on one of my forms. Has Adobe made any reference to fixing this issue? Have they even acknowledged that it is a problem?
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Rob - as far as I know, Adobe has yet to do anything about this problem. I doubt they've addressed any of the postings and concerns about it too; it's very frustrating. I keep checking in hopes for an answer....but getting nothing so far.
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Another work around that seems to do the trick:<br />Lets say that the tab order is set - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - but as you tab through the document it goes 1, 2, 4, 5, 3. What I did was reset the tab order by clicking on a random working field (5 for example), then clicking on the problematic field (in this case, 3), then click on a field that should NOT come next (any field EXCEPT 4), then any field that should not come previous (any field EXCEPT 2). End setting the tab order. Preview your form to see that the out-of-order tab setting are working. Now go back and reset the tab order to how you want it.<br /><br />It seems that if you "scramble" the problematic field, the field preceding it and the field after it - and then reset them in the right order - it will work. I would first recommend deleting the <traversal> tags, but this method has fixed all problems not fixed by the <traversal> method.
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I, too, am increasingly frustrated about this, but I have spent almost an hour on the phone with Adobe tech support, and they seem to think this problem is related to tab settings in my original Word doc causing problems with the Live Cycle tab settings. They recreated the same problem and have so far offered no additional solution.

He did say that recreating the form in Live Cycle/Acrobat would avoid the problem, and also that saving the original Word doc as a PDF, then importing it in the flowable format might help. Of course, this means re-creating all the form fields manually. Not a friendly option, to say the least.

Anyone else have any ideas?
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I'd like to add a bit to Rachael's comment above:

I think the tabbing issue (and I'm firm on this one) isn't related to one program interacting with another (i.e., pulling open a word form from Designer). ALL my forms that I have created, have been done from scratch - no word, excel, pdf, etc. file importing. I open Designer and start from a blank page. Tabbing issue still remains....which leads me to believe this is a "bug" in Designer. Rob - I've also tried your scramble/unscramble trick above, without success.

Has anyone had any luck in communicating this problem with Adobe? Any response from anyone at the company? Are they aware users at this point are trying jimmy-rigging tricks to make this program work?! This is BEYOND frustrating, I agree!!!
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Yes. I spoke with Tech Support yesterday for over an hour. They are finally checking into this. I told them that several users were experiencing the same problem with great frustration. He was not able to recreate the problem when creating a form in Acrobat, but I'm not sure how thoroughly this was tested on his side.

At this point, their only suggestions involve either recreating the form completely in Acrobat/Live Cycle or converting the Word doc to a PDF, then importing it into Live Cycle as a flowable format, which translates to time-consuming cleanup and re-development of text fields, drop-down boxes and other features.

I did express to him that this was not a viable solution, and that this defeats the purpose of being able to bring in documents from other programs, and reminded him that this is one of their biggest selling points when marketing and demo-ing this product.

He is researching it and is supposed to get back with my by tomorrow. I'll post whatever his reply is.
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Certainly understood the frustration. Looked everywhere including hours with Support. It was by reviewing the LiveCycle Forum entries and combining a couple of suggestions that provided for the following fix in my case.

Tab reorder success was brought about by 1. Manually reordering the object hierarchy (grab and drag to order). Some success, not totally. 2. Renamed the entry objects to user terms rather than Text...Date...Static this and that. Worked fine.

Speculation for fun; too many of same object types on many-field forms and generated names become non-unique.
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I'm hopeful this latest post might work for you fellow frustrated-tabbers. Here's what I was able to merge from similar posts and suggestions. The fact that this is a simple remedy, only adds to the frustration!

To correctly set your tabs in the order you need, go to View>Tab Order (at the bottom of the drop-down list). Throughout your form, you'll see little numbered boxes on each of your fields. Basically, you click each numbered box IN THE ORDER THE TABBING NEEDS TO BE, and it places these fields in that order. There is a good amount of info on how to do this using the Designer Help menu (search under Tab Order). Once your tabs are set, simple click View>Tab Order again and save your changes. Go to PDF Preview and check to ensure your tabs are now working in the correct order you selected.

This was the fix for me and has now alleviated my tabbing I'm anxious to hear if it works for you guys as well. Please post if you have similar positive results!
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W T Ellis -

Did you ever receive a resonse from your Adobe contact? Is it Lee Sutton by chance?

We're able to get our tab order working, but only by inactivating the radio buttons from the tab order.
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I did speak with Tech Support. They referred me to a Tech Note on their website re: setting the tab order in Adobe PDE Files and Live Cycle Designer. Unfortunately, these instructions are the same as you would receive in the help section, and the Tech Note, while titled as being for Acrobat 7.x and 8.x versions, actually gives instructions only for 7.x, and since there have been changes to the drop down boxes in 8.x, the instructions are impossible to follow in 8.x.

While I have spoken with several members of the Adobe Tech team over the past few weeks regarding this, I have continued to receive different answers each time. The first guy referred me to the discussion groups for help, since he did not know how to help, and the last guy I spoke with actually told me that he typically advises people not to use Live Cycle Designer because he doesn't think it works very well. He advised me to only use Acrobat for forms import and modification.

This, combined with a couple of other problems I am having with this software, are turning this tabbing order issue into a deal breaker. I cannot and will not send my fillable forms out to my clients for use if the program cannot handle something so basic as tabbing correctly from field 1 to 2 to 3, etc ... My experience with Adobe Tech Support has been that no one seems to really know how to correct this, nor does it seem to be high on anyone's priority list to get it resolved.

Since we are still within our 30-day trial period, we will be returning this software for a refund if this issue is not resolved by next week, and we have already moved on to other methods of handling our electronic forms creation and data maintenance that do not involve faulty software and feeble tech support. As for our other methods, so far so good.

I mentioned to several of the guys I spoke with that several of their users were having the same problem and were growing increasingly frustrated, but this comment received absolutely no response any time I mentioned it.

Should anyone from Adobe happen to wander into this discussion and take the time to read and hear your users' frustration, here are a few tips:

1. Grab a clue.

2. Be proactive in reviewing your user discussion groups occasionally.

3. When a customer tells you several people are having the same problem with no resolution, say something.

4. Train your tech support people to know your product inside and out.

5. Train your tech support people to not be satisfied to end a customer complaint/issue by referring them to the user group for help because he/she is clueless. Every call/complaint should end with (a) resolution, (b)"I don't know but I'll research this and get you and answer/resolution", or (c)"This cannot be resolved at this time. We want our customers to be satisfied. We apologize for any inconvenience this has cause you, our valuable customer. Would you care to return our defective product for a full refund?"

6. Don't put your tech support people in the position to feel like they have to advise your customers against using your product. Hello?

Thank you for your time.

I'm done now.
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I too am an extreme newbie and have been very frustrated but finally figured out something!! While in design view, open the Hierarchy window. On the design view of the form, click on a box you know is out of order. Now look over at the Hierarchy view and see where it falls in order there. (that particular field will be hi-lighted) If it's not in the order of what you set your tabs to, move it up/down in the Hierarchy panel to where it should be. I just happened to stumble on to this through careful observation. Hope it works for you too and it wasn't just a fluke for me!
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I think I've read every message in this tab order thread and have tried View Tab Order and resetting the order by clicking through, AND using the Hierarchy panel which messed my tab order up even more. Is there a way to just clear the tab order and go back to square one (default)? Moving this around in Hierarchy messed this up so bad, I don't even know where to begin. Initially, the tab order was just off my one (skipped a state droplist), but now it's all over the board.

LiveCycle Designer is just awful for a new user.