How to Create a Fillable Form in a Word Document

Electronic forms are a common and efficient method of data collection. Word 2007 and 2010 both offer a wide variety of form controls such as text boxes, check boxes, combo and drop-down lists, and date-picker and picture-content controls. Legacy controls are still available, including option buttons, spin buttons, toggle buttons, scroll bars, and calendars. Word forms can be posted on an internal business server or a SharePoint server allowing users to easily access and fill them out. They can be saved or emailed for processing. Items such as employee time-off requests, requisitions, etc. can be processed quickly and without paper.

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Create your form in Word once, and get rid of all that paper.

Preparation

Step

Design your form on paper first, or use a preexisting form as a guide. Laying the form out in a table or group of tables will help with alignment problems when creating the form in Word.

Step

Open Word and check if the “Developer” tab is visible on the Ribbon. If it is not, click the “Microsoft Office” button, click “Popular” and select the “Show Developer tab in the Ribbon” check box.

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Create the template for your form in Word. Type any heading information you may want at the top of a blank document and then insert the table or tables using your paper form as a guide.

Create Form

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Type a label for your form control and enter a space. Alternatively, you can place the label after the form control. Controls such as text boxes, drop-down lists and combo boxes allow you to place instructional text in the first line, eliminating the need for a label.

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Insert the form control. Click the spot in the document where you want the form control to appear. Click the “Developer” tab. Click “Design Mode” in the “Controls” group. Click on the desired form control in the “Controls” group. The form control will appear.

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Configure the properties of the form control. Click “Properties” in the “Controls” group. The “Control Content Properties” dialog box will appear. Each type of form control has its own set of properties. Select or enter the desired properties and click “OK.”

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Add underlines to text boxes. If you want the content of text boxes to be underlined, select the text box by clicking on it, click the “Home” tab and click the underline button in the “Font” group. Return to the design mode by clicking the “Developer” tab.

Prepare for Distribution

Step

Protect individual form elements from deletion by users. To select multiple items, hold down the shift key and click each form element to be protected. Click “Group” in the “Controls” group and click “Group.” Click “Properties.” Under “Locking,” select “Content Control cannot be deleted.” Not all form controls have this option; for example, check boxes do not.

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Protect entire document. Click “Protect Document” in the “Protect” group. The Protect Document Task Pane will appear on the right side of the document. Under “Editing Restrictions,” select the “Allow only this type of editing” check box. In the drop-down list, select “Filling in forms.” Under “Start Enforcement,” select “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.” Enter and confirm a password. If you do not enter a password, anyone will be able to change the restrictions.

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Save the form as a template. Filled-out forms should be saved as documents.