Tips & Tricks

Getting Form Fields in Order

January 15, 2004

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In previous versions of Acrobat it was a simple matter of choosing a menu item from the Form fields menu to change the Tab order of Form fields. When version 6 hit the streets this option simply vanished!

The only option for tab ordering available was dependant on the layout of the form fields or the structure of the underlying PDF document. This caused new users of version 6 much distress - until now.

Adobe has recently released an update to version 6: 6.0.1 (http://.....) this update puts the menu item and tab order control firmly back in the hands of the form developer.

The downside to the update is that it's not immediately obvious as to how to set the order of the fields. So let's have a look at how we can set the tab order of form fields.

I've create a simple PDF with three form fields: field1, field2, field3. In this example I want the tab order to go from field1 to field3 then to field2.

The first thing we need to do is choose the 'select Object Tool', without this tool selected the 'set Tab Order' menu item is disabled.

Once selected you can then choose Advanced> Forms> Fields> Set Tab Order.

Or you can use the content menu by right mouse clicking over any field and choosing 'set Tab Order'

Once selected your form fields will display a number in the top left hand corner indicating their order in the tabbing sequence.

To change the tabbing sequence you click on the fields in the order that you want them to tab, for example I want field1, then field3 then field2. As you click you'll see the numbers skipping around, continue clicking in the correct sequence and on the last click your form fields will be in the correct order.

First Click

Second and Final Click

Once you've clicked all of your fields you should have the correct sequence for the Tabbing order set.

Copyright Dave Wraight & Planet PDF. No unauthorised reproduction, distribution or publication permitted.

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