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I use a form maybe 100 times a day. I can tab between the fields with no problem but most of the time I don't have to fill out the entire form and would like to submit it without having to touch the mouse and press the bottom button. The other alternative is to whack Tab ten or twelve times through all the fields. Is there a keyboard convention for submitting a form? How could I design this to submit a form from the keyboard?

Some of the form fields are <textarea> so it probably would be good to keep the <Enter> key as a newline character.

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Ctrl-Enter is the usual substitute for a new line in these scenario's. – Marjan Venema Aug 24 '11 at 18:51
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Enter is almost always the "submit form now" button whenever you're in a field, if anything the textarea fields are horning in on this functionality and not vice versa; I would nix them and anything that accepts newlines unless it's actually necessary or used by your users. Just look at facebook; almost all the time enter posts immediately, and I like this, facebook is mostly small single paragraphs of text. But in the status post box this doesn't work...the inconsistency is annoying, and rarely if ever is a new line needed.

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Yep, new lines could and usually are added by Ctrl-Enter in these circumstances. – Marjan Venema Aug 24 '11 at 18:50
And +1 for the comment. – eBeth Aug 25 '11 at 12:18
I would be careful about expecting them to use Ctrl-Enter unless you know they're going to be told/read about the keyboard shortcut (even then be careful). Very few people know about these shortcuts and if they don't use it outside of your program they may forget. – Ben Brocka Aug 25 '11 at 13:23
If I'm inside a textarea in your form, and the form submits when I hit "Enter," I will come track you down and gouge out your eyes with a rusty spork. – Graham Aug 26 '11 at 18:14
That's why I suggest removing text areas all together, except in the rare case where they're needed (like here). If it's repetitive form entry to the point where one would need access to an immediate submit form button, a verbose textarea field is a bad idea in the first place. – Ben Brocka Aug 26 '11 at 18:23

I believe that the [Enter]-key is the convention for submitting the form.

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I say keep the enter key, even though it works as a newline in the text areas

Depending on what the form does, ctrl+s or alt+s might be appropriate shortcuts

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