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Microsoft KB Archive/170141

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Knowledge Base

ACC97: Using Tab Key to Insert Tab Character in RichText Control

Article ID: 170141

Article Last Modified on 1/20/2007


  • Microsoft Access 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q170141

Moderate: Requires basic macro, coding, and interoperability skills.


In a RichTextBox control, the default behavior of the TAB key is to move the focus to the next control in the tab order of a form. This article shows you how you can use the TAB key to insert a tab character into a RichTextBox control.

The sample function ctlRichText1_KeyDown() traps for the TAB key in the KeyDown event of the RichTextBox control. It prevents the control from losing focus, and then uses the SelText property of the control to insert the tab.


  1. Create a new form not based on any table or query in Design view.
  2. On the Insert menu, click ActiveX Control.
  3. In the Insert ActiveX Control dialog box, select Microsoft RichText Control, and then click OK.
  4. Set the control's Name property to ctlRichText1.
  5. Add two text boxes to the form.
  6. On the View menu, click Code. Type the following procedure:

          Private Sub ctlRichText1_KeyDown(KeyCode As Integer, _
                ByVal Shift As Integer)
             Dim rtf As RichTextBox
             Set rtf = Me!ctlRichText1.Object
             If KeyCode = 9 Then  ' TAB key was pressed.
                ' Ignore the TAB key, so focus doesn't
                ' leave the control
                KeyCode = 0
                ' Replace selected text with the tab character
                rtf.SelText = vbTab
             End If
          End Sub
  7. Switch the form to Form view. Note that pressing the TAB key now inserts a tab character in the RichTextBox Control. To exit the RichTextBox control, use your mouse pointer. Note also that the TAB key behaves as it normally does when one of the text boxes has the focus.


For more information about the methods and properties of the RichTextBox control, open a module in a database containing a form with a RichTextBox control and press F2. In the Object Browser, select RichTextLib from the list of Libraries, and then select RichTextBox from the list of Classes.

Keywords: kbcode kbhowto kbinterop KB170141