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(Archives) Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro: Setting Tabbing Order

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This article is based on legacy software.

For many PDF documents and especially PDF forms, users may press the [Tab] key to move through the document. You can specify the order in which tabbing moves a user through your document. This can make your document more navigable for your readers.

Setting Tabbing Order: Tab Order Pull-Down Menu

You can set the order in which users tab through elements on your page (e.g., form fields) using options defined by Adobe.

  1. Open the PDF file that you will use for the form.

  2. From the Forms menu, select Add or Edit Fields...
    When in Form Editing mode, the Fields pane is displayed. Fields appear in the order in which they were created.
    fields

  3. (Optional) To view the tabbing order, from the Tab Order pull-down menu, select Show Tab Numbers.

  4. From the Tab Order pull-down menu, select the desired option.

Default Tab Order
Tabs by row, first through form fields, then through links, and lastly through comments.

Order Tabs by Row
Tabs horizontally through each row down the page.

Order Tabs by Column
Tabs vertically down each column across the page.

  1. Click OK.

Setting Tabbing Order: Drag and Drop

Users completing your form will often press [Tab] to advance from one field to the next. You can set the order that the user tabs through the form fields by dragging and dropping fields in the Fields pane.

  1. Open the PDF file that you will use for the form.

  2. From the Forms menu, select Add or Edit Fields...
    When in Form Editing mode, the Fields pane is displayed. Fields appear in the order in which they were created.
    fields

  3. (Optional) To view the tabbing order, from the Tab Order pull-down menu, select Show Tab Numbers.

  4. From the Tab Order pull-down menu, select Order Tabs Manually.

  5. In the Fields pane, click and drag the field to the desired position in the list.

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