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Tabbing Order

Jun 20, 2011 11:28 AM

My company has a new system coming out next week and we had to make about 30 new forms for the system implementation.  This was a huge project and I have been working on the forms for over 2 years.  It came down to finalize them and I had massive issues with the tabbing order.  I worked over 50 hours last week trying to get the tabbing order perfect on this forms.


Why is it that the system fights you when you attempt to set the tabbing order?  Why is it that you can go in and change one single thing and the entire tabbing order for a multi-page form get entirely off?  We does Designer sometimes randomly scramble the tabbing order so that it doesnt make a bit of sense?  Why does the tabbing order sometimes skip pages even though you have the tabbing order perfect.


Some of these forms were designed 2 years ago and have underwent several layers of revisions.  Could it be that the XML coding in the forms is jacked up from all the revisions that it is causing these issues?  Should I have rebuilt the forms after they were finalized to make the process go more smoothly?


The tabbing order debacle is so bad that some of my superiors want me to stop using Designer and find something else.  I have been using Designer for a long time and do not want to to that but I need to find away to make this process smoother so next time a 50 million dollar project is on the line, my forms arent holding it up.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 20, 2011 11:58 AM   in reply to rjrobbins2

    What version of Designer are you using? I know versions 7 and 8 were tabbing nightmares but 9.0 is a dream. They seemed to have paid attention to all the griping we did in the past versions.

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    Jun 20, 2011 12:22 PM   in reply to rjrobbins2



    I tend to stick with automatic tabbing on the basis that it is strongly influenced by the x/y coordinates of objects on the form. This is working from the top/left corner working down and right.


    Also the tabbing will working through all of the objects in a subform before coming back out and continuing with the rest of the objects.


    See example here:


    Hope that helps,



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    Jun 20, 2011 1:26 PM   in reply to rjrobbins2

    I was having the same exact frustrations as you today. I have found that the only time I experience this is when I have a long form in which many fields are named the same. For example, on my form today, I had a checkbox that WOULD NOT stick in the tab order that I kept throwing it down to the last position in the tab order. I noticed that every checkbox was labeled "(untitled Check Box)". The only way I was finally able to get it to stick was to first RENAME the checkbox that was giving me trouble (I just called it "ckbox1"). Once I did that, it immediately cooperated with my tab placement. I don't know why, but that's how I was finally able to fix the problem.



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    Jun 20, 2011 1:36 PM   in reply to rjrobbins2

    I always do the tab order last. I start by clicking the automatic numbering, then I switch to custom and correct any problems. You just can't infer the order on some forms. We have many that go down one column and then over to the next column. LiveCycle would put them in line horizontally.

    I've noticed that this new version likes to stick objects under things on the Master Page. Those are really hard to move to their correct position.  Sometimes I just delete the thing on the Master Page and then paste it back after the order is correct.

    The thing I hate is that sometimes the tab order changes when I reopen the form again. But all in all, it's a great improvement from past versions.

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    Jun 23, 2011 5:12 AM   in reply to rjrobbins2

    Yes, I've had all the same experiences as you. I first started using LiveCycle with version 7. Now THAT was a nightmare. Every time you clicked somewhere, it made that object number one and you'd have to start all over again. I'm so glad they have gotten tabbing to the point that they have and I'm sure that when they hear these complaints on the forums, they try to address the problems in the future. Each version is always improved over the past. I'm looking forward to the next version because this one has had us amazed with the actions section. I don't write script so to have that built in is a huge deal.  Well, good luck with your tabbing struggles. We're all in this together....

    > Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 13:30:56 -0600



    Subject: Re: Tabbing Order Tabbing Order


    I have the same experiences as you.  I do the tabbing order as the very last thing before publishing the form to use on our repositories.


    I just want it to take less time and I do not want the system to fight me on it.  I wish they had a way so you could turn off the system driven tabbing order and just go in and set your own manually.


    I have gotten the tabbing order perfect, saved the form and then sent it to someone else to take a look at and the tabbing order was off again.  I have also had it where it completely skips items on the page even though they are included in the tabbing order.


    I often have to delete items and put them back on because for whatever reason, they will not go where I want them to in the tabbing order.


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    Sep 2, 2011 1:50 PM   in reply to jeanette614

    Just wondering if there's a way to remove or skip an item in the tabbing order. I have Delete buttons for several subforms and I would like to have users be able to tab over the buttons without the chance of stopping on a delete button, hit enter and clear their work. If I make it "protected" it doesn't tab to the item, but then you can't click on it either...  I've also tried setting the focus to the next field upon "enter" but when you reverse tab you get stuck.


    Any ideas?? Why isn't this functionality in the form design?? I would think this would be very common use among designers...


    I know tabbing has improved alot, but it is still difficult at best. I still can't use custom tabbing because when my subforms are expanded the tabbing then goes out of sequence and is unacceptable to the users.


    Any help would be appreciated.. I'm using ES 8.2.1



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