In a form like the following:

Form mockup

What should be the role of Enter when the email addresses input is focused?

Since the share message is optional, I am not sure if it should share the document straight away (if the email addresses are valid and the Share button is enabled) or if it should move focus to the textarea to allow entering a message.


2 Answers 2


Enter submits the form. Pressing Tab moves focus to the next text field.

It's the default in many browsers and applications. Users are used to it and expect this to happen when they use a keyboard, so do not change it.


For your case, Enter shouldn't be linked to "Share"

The "Submit" action shouldn't be linked to Enter in a form when:

  • It has more than one field
  • When a field allows multiple rows of information (like the "Your Answer" section on SE sites

Because in such cases, the expected action isn't submission. It is moving forward/down/adding lines/etc.

  • 2
    Agree on the second point, but not on the first. Try to edit a question here on SE for example. If you click enter on the title, even though there is more than one field, the edit is submitted. And it feels just natural. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 9:14
  • It isn't actually. On pressing enter, you're taken to the "Edit Summary" section. As this section is mandatory and there is a check, the Enter is linked to submission. Also, the idea here is to make sure no one hastily makes any unnecessary edits without there being a reason behind it. So, in the final step, Enter is linked to submit Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 9:21
  • 1
    @ShreyasTripathy But that's just a validation-on-submit kicking in. I'm assuming from Andrea's description that if you filled in the edit summary, then went to the title and edited it, pressing Enter would submit the form. (I'm not saying it should do this ... sometimes I want Enter to submit [unless in a multi-line field] and sometimes I don't [as your answer describes]).
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 11:43
  • @TripeHound - Yes, filled "Summary" would lead to submission of press of the Enter key while on the Title field. I guess we're now entering the territory of should we/shouldn't we, which, as you know very well, can get messy :P Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 12:12

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