Tabbing from One Table to the Next

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 13, 2013)

Dori Lynn's customers use Word to create simple forms. One of the things they do quite often is use tables for ease in moving through the form. Dori Lynn wonders if there is a way to tab from the last cell (field) of one table to the first cell in the next. Right now if she tabs at the end of the table, it creates a new row.

Pressing the Tab key when the insertion point is in a table cell normally moves the selection to the next cell in the table. At the last cell in the table, the Tab key adds a new row of cells to the bottom of the table and moves the insertion point to the first cell of the new row. That is obviously not the behavior that Dori Lynn is looking for.

There are a couple of approaches you can use for this problem. One is to remember that you can use the Object Browser to move from one table to the next. That, of course, means that you can't use the Tab key to move from table to table, but you can click the Object Browser button (bottom-right corner of the screen, click the small "ball" between the double up- and down-arrows, then choose Browse by Table from the options) to find those tables.

If you actually want to use the Tab key, then you are going to need to create a macro. Pressing the Tab key when the insertion point is within a table causes Word to execute a command called nextcell, which in turn executes the MoveRight command. It is possible to write a custom nextcell command that forces Word to do what Dori Lynn wants.

How you modify existing Word commands is covered in other WordTips. The custom nextcell routine, below, traps the Tab key and moves the selection to the next cell unless the current cell is the last cell of the table. If it is, then it moves to the next table in the document. If there are no further tables in the document, then the insertion point remains in the last cell of that last table.

Sub nextcell()
    Dim oCell As Cell

    With Selection
        Set oCell = .Cells(1).Next
        If oCell Is Nothing Then
            .Move unit:=wdTable, Count:=1
        Else
            .MoveRight Unit:=wdCell
        End If
    End With
End Sub 

The subroutine will work correctly with tables that have vertically and horizontally merged cells. It will process tables within tables, but will stop at the last cell of the inner table.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5673) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding an Equal Sign Tool

Excel used to provide, prior to Excel 2002, an equal-sign tool near the Formula bar. If you miss this tool, you may want to ...

Discover More

Changing the Default 'Print What' Setting

By default, Word automatically changes the "Print What" setting in the Print dialog box to reflect what it thinks should be ...

Discover More

Changing Link References

If you use UNC paths in your links to external information, those paths may need to be changed at some point. You can easily ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Quickly Accessing the Column Tab

If you need to quickly display the Column tab of the Table Properties dialog box, here are some handy tricks you can use. ...

Discover More

Index Number for the Active Table

For some programming needs, it is important to determine the index of an object within a collection of such objects. This tip ...

Discover More

Setting Table Values to Three Decimal Places

If you import information into a document from another program, the values you import may not be exactly to your liking. For ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven minus 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.