Last week a reader asked how to change the tab order on a contacts form.
A second way to change the tab stops is using the Tab Order dialog on the Layout toolbar. Use Ctrl+Click to select more than one control and you can move them up and down as a group. While it works well to move the address fields ahead of the phone number fields, if you have many to reorder and can't do it as a group, it may be less confusing to use the following method.
David Foulkes has this to say: "The best way to handle this without guesswork is to select the data entry boxes in the reverse order, setting the tap stop value to zero for each. Thus, you might select (I use Outlook 2000) Web page, email, the four phones, the address, file as, company, position and finally name. But selecting in reverse order and setting to zero, each time the last selected box will become 1, and the one before 2, and so on. By the time you set name to zero, the correct numerical order will be in place for all the other entry boxes.
Bear in mind the push buttons, drop down arrows, and even horizontal rules, all have tab stop values. But by the time you've "rezeroed" the form, and all the data boxes are in order, who cares about the rest of the form?"
If you want to really drive someone nuts, click and drag (or Ctrl+click on several controls) to select a group of boxes and set the tab index to zero. This rezeros all of the selected items and puts them in reverse order. It's not very useful in real life unless you need an annoyingly weird tab order.
Published December 30, 2005. Last reviewed on June 17, 2011.