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.

Switching between a Dialog Box and the Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 27, 2016)

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.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding Page Numbers

Ever want to add page numbers to your document? Word allows you to control many aspects of page numbering. Here's how to add ...

Discover More

Shifting Margins Evident in Word 2002

When you open a document in one version of Word and compare it to what you see for the same document in a different version ...

Discover More

Using AutoFiltering

Excel's AutoFilter tool is a great way to make a long list of items much more manageable. This tip explains how to set up an ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Word Freezes When Working with Lots of Clip Art

Don't you hate it when Word freezes? Laurie has that problem when she works with clip art in her documents. There are any ...

Discover More

Misbehaving Rulers

When upgrading from Word 2000 to 2002, many people have a problem with the Ruler function. This tip explains how to fix the ...

Discover More

Unwanted Graph Paper Effect

When you open a document or start to use Word, do you see a background that looks like graph paper? It could be because of ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 2?

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


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.