Solved

Getting the Tab Key to Indent in Textarea box

Posted on 2003-12-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-09
I've got a textarea box I'm using for an html powered CMS and I'm wanting to tab my code in all the time using the tab key, but using it moves the cursor from the text box.  I can't easily tab.

Any easy ways around this?  JS?
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Question by:happydog234
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13 Comments
 
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

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seanpowell earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
This works for Ctrl-Tab, IE only...

copyright removed as per members agreement...

function CheckTab(el) {
  // Run only in IE
  // and if tab key is pressed
  // and if the control key is pressed
  if ((document.all) && (9==event.keyCode) && (event.ctrlKey)) {
    // Cache the selection
    el.selection=document.selection.createRange();
    setTimeout("ProcessTab('" + el.id + "')",0)
  }
}

function ProcessTab(id) {
  // Insert tab character in place of cached selection
  document.all[id].selection.text=String.fromCharCode(9)
  // Set the focus
  document.all[id].focus()
}
</SCRIPT>
<TEXTAREA ID=MyTabDemo ONKEYDOWN="CheckTab(this)" ROWS=20 COLS=20>
Try using CTRL-TAB inside of this textbox.
</TEXTAREA>
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Expert Comment

by:elvin226
Comment Utility
I went to this section to ask exactly the same question. And it's also the latest entry in the unanswered questions list! Thanks to happydog and georgemarian. :)
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Expert Comment

by:Nelson_Pires
Comment Utility
Alternatively and to make it multi browser compatible, add a Text Link, say TAB, or a Image and when you click on it it will add the tab, here's the JS function for that:

function addTAB() {
      document.frmNAME.txtNAME.value += "    ";
      document.frmNAME.txtNAME.focus();
}

There's a little draw back to this, it will aways add the Tab to the end, I can give the more complete code where it adds the Tab where the cursor is, but it only works in IE.
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Author Comment

by:happydog234
Comment Utility
Well seanpowell, it works fine.  So thanks.

But I'm going to hold off awardiung you points to see if I someone can figure out not having to use any key with tab, just tab.

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Expert Comment

by:Nelson_Pires
Comment Utility
That would not be possible, because, Tab key by default changes the focus amongst all controls in the page, that's the default behaviour and can't be changed.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:seanpowell
Comment Utility
Hi happydog234,

We need to modify the initial keystroke to maintain user-accessibility. The only way to do it would potentially break the standard operating environment - so you'd correct one thing by corrupting another.

Given the general usage patterns of multiple keystrokes to perform an action (Ctrl-C) for instance, I don't believe adding the extra element would create any interface problems for the user....

Thanks,
georgemarian
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Author Comment

by:happydog234
Comment Utility
IE 5.5+ specific is fine.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:seanpowell
Comment Utility
Okay - so we'll leave it as is. It's the best option...
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Author Comment

by:happydog234
Comment Utility
seanpowell ,

I would agree you shouldn't break standard practice.  This CMS is only for me, on my own site, so I don't mind breaking it.

The above code with CTRL, can it be changed to just tab?
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Author Comment

by:happydog234
Comment Utility
It does work seanpowell !

Nice!
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:seanpowell
Comment Utility
>>The above code with CTRL, can it be changed to just tab?
Absolutely - we just remove the additional CTRL keypress statement:

<html>
<head>
<script>
function CheckTab(el) {
  // Run only in IE
  // and if tab key is pressed

  if ((document.all) && (9==event.keyCode)) {
    // Cache the selection
    el.selection=document.selection.createRange();
    setTimeout("ProcessTab('" + el.id + "')",0)
  }
}

function ProcessTab(id) {
  // Insert tab character in place of cached selection
  document.all[id].selection.text=String.fromCharCode(9)
  // Set the focus
  document.all[id].focus()
}
</SCRIPT>
</head>
<body>
<form>
<TEXTAREA ID=MyTabDemo ONKEYDOWN="CheckTab(this)" ROWS=20 COLS=20>
Try using just the TAB inside of this textbox.
</TEXTAREA>
</form>
</body>
</html>
0
 

Expert Comment

by:Nelson_Pires
Comment Utility
You are using CreateRange object, beware only IE can deal with it, NS will just ignore it at best.

Good luck.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:seanpowell
Comment Utility
They mentioned already that IE 5.5+ specific is fine...
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