Navigating Dialog Boxes

The initial focus in a dialog box is generally placed on the control in the upper left area. Thus, for the majority of procedures, the initial focus in the main dialog box is placed in the source variable list. From there, you can access other controls in the dialog box by pressing the Tab key. Alternatively, you can use the dialog box keyboard shortcuts.

The main dialog box in most procedures can be divided into four parts:

  • Source/target lists. This includes the source variable list, the move-it (or copy-it) buttons, and their corresponding target lists and controls. Pressing the Tab key, the flow of control passes from the source list to the first move-it button.
    • Use the up and down arrow keys to move up and down the variable lists.
    • Use the space bar to select a variable.
    • Use the Shift key to select multiple contiguous variables.
    • Use the Ctrl key and the space bar to select multiple non-contiguous variables.
    • After you select variables, use the Tab key to move to and select the button to move the variables to the target list. Then use the space bar to move the selected variables to the target list. If there are multiple target lists, use the Tab key to move between buttons that move variables to the target lists.
  • Main dialog box controls. This section contains any controls that are not related to a specific target list. It includes any buttons that expand the dialog box. When the dialog box is expanded, the exposed controls are added to the end of the tab order of this section.
  • Subdialog box buttons. The buttons that open subdialog boxes appear in the tab order from left to right or top to bottom.
  • OK/Paste button group. If OK and Paste are enabled, they appear first in the tab order within this section. If they are not enabled, then Reset is first in the section.

The placement of a control in the tab order is determined by the section it belongs to, the type of control it is, and its placement in the dialog box. Note that some dialog boxes may not have all types of controls or the same number of controls.

See the topic Special Considerations: Text Wizard for more information.