LO Writer form controls tab order is broken

I submitted this to Bugzilla, but also posting here.

I’m on LO Mac, macOS 10.15.4 (same problem in recent LO and macOS versions)

The attached example Writer form has 207 fields (all named “Field” - see Note 1), Most fields are text boxes, and some are check boxes.

All fields have a customized tab order number (see Note 2), left-to-right, row-by-row.

Previously (2017? 2018?), LO Writer obeyed my customized tab order. But now, when I open my form, the tab order is random.

I discovered a temporary workaround: Form > Design Mode ON, Form > Form Properties…, then click on the last field in each category (making no changes), then Form > Design Mode OFF.

After that, during that LO session, tab order will be correct. But after quitting LO and then re-opening the form, the problem returns.

The example form was created several years ago. So the problem may involve backward compatibility. A new form created from scratch under 6.3 or 6.4 might not have this problem.

(Note 1. In the past, LO permitted field name alphanumeric order override tab order number. So I had to make “Field” the name of every field. Separate bug?)

(Note 2. Tab order numbers are by category. That is, Category 1: 7 fields, tab order 101-107, Category 2: 40 fields, tab order 201-240, Category 3: 12 fields, tab order 301-312, etc.)

Bug 133158 Attachment.odt


Possibly it is the Mac version. On Ubuntu 20.04 with LO v6.4.3.2 the tab order works without problem.

I submitted this to Bugzilla, but also posting here.

Ref.: tdf#133158

Ratslinger - Did you tab all the way through all the fields in the example? The first row behaves normally. But when you tab from the end of the first row, tab order is random - 6th row, then 2nd row 1st field, then 3rd row 10th field, etc.

All the way to the end of the page & then it started at the beginning again. Went to every row in succession. NO random pattern.

Strike the above. Just went to test again. Was random after first opening the file. Then started over & all OK. Closed file & re-opened and all tabbed fine from the start. Opened a different LO file (Base). Closed that and opened yours - problem first time through - all OK after that.

Thanks! Good to know the problem exists on other platforms.

I think I found a durable workaround: Open a new text file and set margins to match the example. In the example, select all and copy. Paste into the new file. Tab order in the new file is all correct - except row 1 field 4 (lease months) is now misbehaving.

This seems to suggest a backward-compatibility problem. The last time I worked with this form was May or June 2019, so probably v6.2.8.2. No tab order problem back then.

Sorry, I spoke too soon on the copy & paste workaround. It did not fix the tab order problem in my other form. (Unfortunately, it is proprietary and I can’t provide a sanitized version.)

I downloaded Mac v6.2.8.2, and both forms perform perfectly in that version. Even row 1 field 4.

Ratslinger: Bugzilla requests that you go there and confirm reproducing my tab-order problem on Ubuntu. You can go to Bug 133158:


Log in, go to the bottom of the page, and “Add Comment”. If you don’t have a Bugzilla account, you can click “New Account” at the top of the page. Many thanks.

Done tdf#133158

Thanks very much!