Flash MX Accessibility: Put it on my tab

I’m pleased to report that yesterday I learnt how to fix a Flash accessibility ‘bug’. I had a problem with a Flash movie which had various elements such as movie clips, buttons and text input fields on it. When you filled in the first field, and hit the ‘Tab’ button, you’d be taken to the next nearest element – which unfortunately was a button. Thus the flow of use would be disrupted.
I searched some Flash forums and found that many people have been trying to remedy this problem since circa 2000 (the Flash 4 era). Flash MX, however, allows you to customise your tab order and disable tabbing for specified elements.
The Textfield.tabIndex property lets you set the order, where Textfield is the instance name of your input field.
The .tabEnabled property, when set to False, can be used on buttons and movie clips so they won’t show up when you hit the Tab button while filling the form.
Voila. Note that since this is an MX feature, you must publish your Flash file as version 6. Your users also need the Flash 6 player for everything to work.
[ Update: Read my tutorial on Flash MX tabbing! ]


  1. Mark

    Macromedia was nice enough to provide this feature, but it’s like pulling teeth to figure out how to use it! Do we put the code on a blank movie or on the stage?
    I couldn’t get this to work, but I had some limited success with the “Deluxe Tab Order” component that I downloaded from Macromedia’s site. It seems to work if you use it on a single movie, but I have a form .swf file that I import into another .swf file. this completely disables the tabbing order again!
    Any ideas?

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