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Input Fields

As their name suggests, input fields are small controls (usually found in a dialog box that allows you to provide required information) (see Figure 3-10). A textbox is one of the most common forms of input field. Essentially a mini word processor, the textbox is used for entering text. Most input fields allow only a single line of text (such as the Address Bar or the Filename field in File Open/Save dialogs), but some allow multiple lines. You can almost always right-click in a textbox to display a quick menu for Cut, Copy, Paste, and Undo (see “Clipboard,” earlier in this chapter).

Figure 3-12. A simple input field (textbox) allows you to type a small bit of text; right-click to display Cut, Copy, Paste, and Select All commands


There are four common variations of input fields. The first type are the input fields made to look like labels (see “Labels”, later in this chapter). The second are combo boxes (see “Listboxes”, later in this chapter). The third are known as counters, which are simply input fields with up and down arrows to the right, allowing you increment or decrement a numeric value without typing (some even have a tiny divider between the arrows, allowing you to quickly “scroll” to any value). Finally, we have password fields (Figure 3-11), which look and act just like standard input boxes, except that their contents are masked with asterisks or dots to hide them from prying eyes.

Figure 3-13. Password fields work like standard input fields, except that the characters you type are masked with round bullets


Since the Tab key is used to shift the focus to the next control, you’ll need to press Ctrl-Tab if you actually want to type a tab character into an input field. Likewise, Enter is often used to move between controls (or to press the default button; see “Buttons,” earlier in this chapter), press Ctrl-Enter to insert a new line (multiline textboxes only). Hold Shift and use the arrow keys to select text without using the mouse (or Ctrl-A to select everything), and then use Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, and Ctrl-V for Cut, Copy, and Paste, respectively. Press Ctrl-Z to undo.



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