This tutorial shows you how to work with the PDF Forms features in Acrobat X. See what the all-new Acrobat DC can do for you.

Download a free trial of the new Acrobat.

How to set up tab order in a PDF form using Acrobat X

Learn how to set the tab order in a fillable PDF form to improve the appearance of your PDF form and also make it easier for users to use.

By February 6, 2012


In this tutorial, learn how to set the tab order in fillable PDF forms to improve the appearance of your PDF form and also make it easier for users to use. Suppose you're making a PDF form for attendees at your upcoming conference. Your users expect to press TAB to move through fields in the PDF form from the upper left to the bottom right, jumping from field to field in sequence. Sometimes the tab order isn't right.

In an online PDF form you've already created, open the Tools panel, and choose Forms > Edit to activate the online PDF form editing mode.

By default, Acrobat X shows the fields sorted by Tab Order. To make working with fields easier, click Tab Order and choose Show Tab Number. This way you see the sequence of the fields on the PDF form page.

To fix your fields, make sure you're using the Sort By > Tab Order option to show the Tab Order settings. If you want to make any changes, click Tab Order > Order Tabs Manually. Otherwise you'll see a dialog box explaining you have to order tabbing manually first.

You can order fields based on the structure, rows, or columns. For most forms, click Tab Order and choose Order Tabs by Structure as Acrobat X does a good job of ordering for you.

If you want to change the order manually, click and drag the field in the Fields pane. You'll see the field's number change on the page.

Once you're done organizing, click Preview and press the TAB key to move through your form.

Now your form is not only good-looking, it's easier for your conference attendees to use.

Did you know?

  • You can ask a question and get an answer from one of our experts.
  • You can search our database of over 800 tutorials by product and/or topic.
  • You can leave a comment below for the author of this tutorial.

Products covered:

Acrobat X

Related topics:

PDF Forms

Top Searches:

Convert existing forms to fillable PDFs, fill and sign any form