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Your syntax is wrong. Refer to 2.7 Understanding Substitution Strings
"&P_10_PAGE." will substitute the session state of the item (without the quotes, of course). You didn't add the trailing dot.
the value in the page field under action when button clicked is &P_10_PAGE. (complete with dot.) - without the dot, I had the string placed in the URL, thanks for the pointer.
BUT, now I always get /f?p=101:1:...etc, ie it only passes the value 1, not the value from the LOV. 1 is not the default, nor the first value in the LOV
Are you actually submitting the page (thus, are you using a branch?) or is it a "redirect" / "go to page"action on the button? If you are not submitting then you are dealing with the difference in session state vs the value of an item on the page, which as it happens also came up in this other thread: https://forums.oracle.com/message/11110579#11110579
Thanks, Tom. perfect. I changed the button to a "submit" and added a page process to branch. After 25 years with Oracle, there's always something new to learn. Thanks again!