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Friday, February 1, 2008

bug 132 - slow checking checkboxes required in IE

Issue: #132
Affects: IE6, IE7, IE8, IE9 PP4
Status: Microsoft has confirmed this will NOT be fixed in IE8 RTM

Checkboxes are the perfect form control to select multiple items. In fact they are so good, that the original element designed for this (<select multiple="multiple">) is hardly used because it is so user unfriendly.

They get used everywhere, especially in a long list of items (it could be emails, tasks in a TODO list, or picking your any number of options).

However there is a bug in IE, that forces you to make sure you pick options slowly. The bug is that if you press the Tab key, and the Space bar at the same time, the checkbox control gets "locked" in a strange state, renders "disabled", and stops any other interaction with the rest of the form, the page, the toolbars, the menu or even the window itself!

So, lets analyze this. First off, why would a user press Tab + Space on a checkbox in the first place? Well, if you want to check/uncheck a series of checkboxes quickly, you can Tab through them, and press the Space bar to toggle their status. Once you've mastered this trick, you'll find yourself using it all over the Web.


Then Tab to the checkboxes, press Space to toggle them, then press Tab and Space at the same time on one.

Known Workarounds: None. There's no workaround for this issue from a programming perspective, but you can as an end user, press Escape to clear the lock.

Related Issues: None.

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