How to Make a Fillable Form With Microsoft Word

By Aaron Parson

With Word 2010 and 2013's developer tools, you can design custom forms for your company, club or organization. When you distribute the form, your recipients can fill out the form in their own copies of Word, but won't be able to modify the page's basic layout or static text. In addition to plain text fields, you can also provide interactive elements such as check boxes, a drop-down menu for selecting a choice of items and a date picker.

Step 1

Right-click anywhere on the ribbon and choose "Customize the Ribbon." Check the "Developer" box and press "OK" to add the tab to the ribbon. You need to perform this step only once, the first time you make a form.

Step 2

Lay out and type the static elements of the form, such as the title. For a more professional look, you might want to insert a table -- click "Table" on the Insert tab and select a size. Switch to the "Layout" tab and use the "Merge Cells" button in the Merge section to combine cells to create fields of variable size.

Step 3

Open the "Developer" tab and turn on "Design Mode" in the Controls group.

Step 4

Place the cursor where you want to insert a fillable text box and click the right "Aa" icon in the Controls group. If you want to allow users to modify the formatting of the text as well as the content, click the left "Aa" icon instead. Type the default contents of the form in the text box. Repeat to insert as many fields as necessary.

Step 5

Click the check mark icon to insert check boxes.

Step 6

Insert a drop-down list or date picker from the Controls group to give your users a choice of items or dates. After creating a drop-down list, select it and press "Properties."

Step 7

Click "Add" to add an item to the drop-down list. Enter the item's name in the Display Name field, and Word automatically enters the same name in the Value field. Leave the two fields set to the same name and press "OK." Repeat to add additional items. After entering list items, rearrange them with the "Move Up" and "Move Down" buttons, and then press "OK" to finish the list.

Step 8

Turn off "Design Mode" when you finish designing your form, and then click "Restrict Editing." Set the editing restriction to "Filling in Forms" and press "Yes, Start Enforcing Protection" to prevent users from editing the static parts of your form. Optionally, enter a password when prompted to stop users from turning off the protection.

Tips & Warnings

  • Each type of form control has its own options. Select any and press "Properties" to modify them. For example, with a date picker, you change the date style, such as "1/1/2010" versus "January 1, 2010."
  • Microsoft offers many form templates that you can build from To find one, click "File" and "New," and search for a keyword, such as "form."
  • To make edits to a form, reopen "Restrict Editing" and press "Stop Protection."
  • If "Yes, Start Enforcing Protection" appears grayed out, make sure you turned off "Design Mode."