Sometimes it’s helpful to change the tab order of your slide objects to improve keyboard navigation and optimize the experience for learners with screen readers. With Articulate Storyline, it’s easy to do.
- Customizing the Tab Order
- Removing Objects from the Tab Order
- Restoring Objects to the Tab Order
- Resetting the Tab Order to Its Original State
- Adding Alternate Text for Screen Readers
Currently, custom tab order accessibility is only supported in Flash output. (HTML5 output will continue to tab from top to bottom and left to right.)
- Open the slide you want to customize in Slide View.
- Go to the Home tab on the Storyline ribbon and click Tab Order.
- When the Tab Order window opens, select the option to Create custom tab order in the upper left corner.
- To change the tab order of an object, select it and use the Up/Down arrows in the lower right corner to move it to a new location in the list. (Storyline will highlight the selected object on the slide with a red outline, so it’s clear which object you’re editing.)
- When you’re finished, click Save.
- All objects for the slide will appear in the Tab Order window, including objects from layers and slide masters.
- If you add new objects to the slide after customizing the tab order, they’ll appear at the bottom of the list.
- You can't customize the tab order of player navigation elements, but you can skip them when you're tabbing through a slide with a screen reader.
It’s a good idea to remove objects from the tab order altogether if they aren’t crucial to the context of the slide. For example, you might remove background design elements from the tab order so learners won’t have to repeatedly press the Tab key to advance to important elements, such as captions and text-entry fields.
To remove an object from the tab order, select it in the list and click the Remove button in the lower left corner of the window.
Removing an object from the tab order doesn’t delete it from the slide. It only hides it from keyboard navigation and screen readers.
Tip: To remove a slide master object from the custom tab order, you'll need to switch to Slide Master View (press F4). Right-click the object and choose Size and Position, then select the Alt Text tab and uncheck the visibility box.
To restore an object to the tab order that you previously removed, click the Add button in the lower left corner of the window and select the object you want to restore.
To restore all objects at once, click the Add button and choose Add all objects back to tab order.
Need to start over? Just mark the option to Use default tab order at the top of the window or click the Reset button at the bottom of the window. Here’s the difference between the two:
- Use default tab order: This option resets your tab order and remembers your custom order in case you want to switch back.
- Reset: This option resets your tab order but doesn’t remember your custom order.
Both options reset only the objects currently in the list. They don’t restore objects that you previously removed. See Restoring Objects to the Tab Order.
To add alternate text for screen readers, simply enter text in the Alternate Text column on the right side of the tab order window. (Another option is to use the Size and Position window. See this tutorial for details.)
If an object doesn’t have alternate text, screen readers will read the name of that object as it appears in the timeline.
Screen readers won’t read objects that you’ve removed from the tab order.
Tip: Although slide master objects appear in the custom tab order window, you'll need to switch to Slide Master View (press F4) to set their alternate text. Right-click each object on the slide master, choose Size and Position, and select the Alt Text tab.