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Tab order... the PAIN! :-O


Level 4

OK, so it's not really all that painful, just a bit odd and tough to get where I want to go. I've read other posts where this is discussed, but the final solution was never reached. Here's what I've gathered so far:

Q: Tab order doesn't work properly when creating instanced subforms. The new instances of the subform get dropped to the bottom of the tab order list. How do I keep new instanced subforms in the proper tab order?

A: New instances will keep the tab order if Automatic tabbing is used.*

*One gotcha someone noted, simply opening the Tab Order tab will change Automatic to Custom, although for some odd reason, after switching it back from Custom to Automatic a few times, LC decides you really want it to be set to Automatic and stops changing it to Custom for you. :-)

OK, that much I can understand. But if you set Tab Order to Automatic, then getting some of your tabs to work in the order you want seems impossible. This image is a perfect example:


On top is the tab order layout. Of course I would like the tab order to be:

09= Name

10= DOB

11= Male

12= Minus Button

How do I keep the tab order set to automatic while at the same time rearranging this order? In the heirarchy, I tried rearranging the order of objects, but that didn't work (although, oddly enough, in another part of the form, doing this actually had an effect).

Any help would be appreciated.


7 Replies


Level 10

Hi Graham,

Have a look at some of the MAX sessions. Angie (?) and Charlie Pike dealt with tabbing order (in part).

One thing I didn't appreciate before is that the tabbing order is primarily determined by the x and y coordinates of an object. Starting at the top left and working down and right.

So if an object on the right of the page is a FRACTION above an object on the left; even though you want the object on the left to get focus first, the higher object gets focus first.


Tip 1: Align objects so that they are in line;

Tip 2: Place groups of objects that you want tabbed in a sequence INTO a subform. Once is gets down to the x/y of the subform, the tabbing order will give focus to all objects within a subform in turn first before going to the next object/subform in the x/y coordinates (jumping out of the subform).

Tip 3: Leave tabbing tab alone!

Standing on the shoulders of giants!!!!

...bowing out of room... "we're not worthy"...

Good luck,


ps Additional tip, if wrapping objects in a subform for tabbing purposes only, then set the binding of the subform to "none".


Level 4

Hey Niall,

OK, I'll see if I can find those MAX sessions.

After writing my post, another issue popped up that I neglected to address. That is the one of "protecting" a field to remove it from tab order. On my long form, I have placed navigation buttons on the top of each page (6 in all). I would like these buttons to be ignored in tabbing, but of course protecting them would make them unusable. Any thoughts on that?



Level 10


The MAX sessions are available at http://max.adobe.com/scheduler/#view=1 You can filter out to LC ES and then there is a small video icon that will play each session.

I don't think you can exclude available objects from the tabbing order in the master page (or any page).



Level 4

OK, saw the video, got the T-shirt. :-) In effect, I'm screwed.

Top most concern is getting tab order correct when using instanced subforms. As that functionality breaks when Tab Order is set to Custom, Automatic is what the tab order will be.

As ignoring buttons (or anything) to being part of the tab order while still remaining selectable (i.e. not placed in Protected mode) is impossible, then those myriad buttons will have to be included in the tab order (I can see user frustration now).

IMHO, this is a real weak point with LC. I hope that this lack of functionality will be addressed in future versions.

Thank you for your help in resolving this issue to the best it can be resolved in such a short time.



Level 10

This is a biggy - watch your Y coordinates!

Also, on the field you're tabbing from, check the XML for the <traversal>...</traversal> tags and either make sure they're pointing where they are supposed to or delete them.

What does this do?


Level 10

I wish this was doable too.

I think in an earlier version there was a way to remove objects from tab order but the functionality was removed.


Level 10

Hi Jono,

I haven't tested this yet, but I think that setting the subform to "none" dosen't affect any existing data bindings of objects in the subform.

It was just one thing Angie (?) said in her session.

Have a good weekend,