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A power user presses the Tab key on their keyboard to move through their fields, instead of clicking with their mouse every single time. By default, Access sets the order of the fields according to the order they were in the underlying table. But as you create your own forms, you'll move everything around, and the tabs need to follow. Let's see this in action. I'll close this sample form. We're going to make a fast form and rearrange it. Click on the Customers table one time, go to the Create Ribbon, and choose Form, switchover to the Design View. Now I'm not going to go into detail on how I rearrange this form.
To learn how to manage forms, please see your Access 2010 Essential Training. I am going to go ahead and draw a marquee to delete these fields right here. I'll highlight them and click Delete. I am going to scroll down, and click on WorkPhone, and Shift+Click on the label, Shift+Click on Fax Number and on Fax, and I'll move these fields up here to the phone numbers. I'll do the same thing with Notes. I'll click on Notes, Shift+Click on its label, Shift+Click on Documentation, and flag, and then move these six fields up under the Fax.
Then I'll delete my Type and its label as well. Now when I go back to the Form View and I Tab through, it's tabbing across. But I still want it to tab down. So I'm going to go back to my Design View again, and I'm going to go over here to the Tab Order button on the right-hand side. There is three sections; controls in the Header, the Detail area that contains all of our fields, and the Footer. We're going to stick to the Detail area. I want my form to go down. So after CustomerID would be Company. So I'll click once in the box next to Company, and drag it up above WorkPhone.
I'm going to pickup Address, and drag it up under Company. Now I want you to note something. As you're clicking on these, you can't click and drag in one motion. What that does is select multiple controls at one time. So I do have to click in the box, let go off my mouse, and then drag the field up. So now I have CustID, Company, Address1, Address2, then City, State, Zip, and Country. That leaves me with WorkPhone, Fax, Notes, Documentation, Flag, and a Child field.
Also note that there is an Auto Order button, and this button hypothetically will reorder the tabs in the order of your fields. But sometimes I find it more problematic than helpful. So I'll click OK. Now when I go back to my Form View, and I tab through, it goes down the columns. Now there is one more thing you can do with tab stops. You can skip fields altogether. For example, for Country, almost all of my customers are in the United States, so I could skip right over it as I Tab. Same with Documentation and Flag.
I'll still be able to click in the boxes to enter data into them. But as I'm tabbing through, it will save me several tabs if I skip right over those fields. So let me go back to the Design View. Open up your Property Sheet, if it's not already open. Click on the Country field. Now notice this Tab Index. This 7 is telling me that it's tab number 7 down the list. But we're going to skip it. So I'm going to change Tab Stop to No. I'm going to do the same thing for the Documentation field. Change Stop number 11 to No, and Flag as well.
Now when I change to Form View, it's going to go from Zip straight over to WorkPhone, and from Notes, straight down to my Orders field. When you're working with form data, efficient workflow is essential. Setting Tab Stops allows you to create a natural and practical order for your data entry.
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