Word.Tips.Net WordTips (Menu Interface)

Switching between a Dialog Box and the Document

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Switching between a Dialog Box and the Document.

Albert creates envelopes often, which means changing information in a dialog box. He wonders if there is a simple way to switch back to the document then back to the dialog box. He knows he can use the mouse to click from the dialog box to the document, but he prefers to use the keyboard. What Albert wants to do is toggle between them to make it easy to copy and paste from the document to the dialog box.

Actually, we checked and you can't switch between the Envelopes dialog box and the document; Word won't let you—even if you click with the mouse. The reason takes a bit of explaining.

From a programming perspective, there are two states that a dialog box can use—modal and modeless. The difference between the two states is how Windows treats the focus of the dialog box within the application of which the dialog box is part. If the dialog box is modal, then it always has focus and you cannot change focus to something else, such as the document in Word. If the dialog box is modeless, then the user can change focus from the dialog box, switching between it and other elements of the application, like the document.

Unfortunately, the Envelopes dialog box is modal; it always retains focus until you close it in some manner. Other dialog boxes in Word may be similarly modal or they may be modeless; the choice is up to the programmers entirely and mere users cannot change whether the dialog box is modal or modeless. If the dialog box happens to be modeless then you can use the Alt+Tab and Shift+Alt+Tab shortcuts to switch focus away from the dialog box.

That being said, you can fill in quite a bit of the information in the Envelopes dialog box by simply selecting an address before displaying the dialog box. When you do so, Word assumes that the selected address should be placed in the Delivery Address portion of the dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10326) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Switching between a Dialog Box and the Document.

Related Tips:

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!


Leave your own comment:

  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*What is 5+3 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
           Commenting Terms

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us


Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites


Beauty and Style




DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2016)



Home Improvement

Money and Finances


Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2016)

Our Products

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives


Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.