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13:19 Place Cursor in First Data Entry Field

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 2 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Controls and Widgets


Place (automatically) a blinking cursor at the beginning of the first data entry field when a data entry form is displayed on a page.


Users should not be required to move the mouse pointer to the first data entry field and click on the mouse button to activate the field. Designers should consider, however, that programming this automatic cursor placement might negatively impact the performance of screen reader software.


  • Ahlstrom, V. & Longo, K. (2001). Human factors design guide update (Report number DOT/FAA/CT-96/01): A revision to chapter 8 - computer human interface guidelines. Retrieved November 2005, from http://acb220.tc.faa.gov/technotes/dot_faa_ct-01_08.pdf.
  • Smith, S.L. & Mosier, J.N. (1986, August). Guidelines for designing user interface software. The MITRE Corporation Technical Report (ESD-TR-86-278).

Good Example:

This Web site automatically places the cursor in the first data entry field.


When you visit the Advanced Search page on this Web site, it automatically places the cursor in the first search field.


Related Resources: