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Microsoft Word: Creating Forms

written by: •edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/6/2011

Microsoft Word provides users with the ability to create structured forms within a document. Users can create fields such as text boxes, drop-down menus, and check boxes. Only the designated form fields can be edited. Forms are particularly useful when gathering information from customers or clients

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    Open the Form Toolbar

    In order to create a form, you must first open the form toolbar. This is simply done by clicking on the view menu, hovering down to toolbars, and then selecting forms. The forms toolbar will open at he top left of your screen.

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    Create a Text Field

    A text field will provide a box for users to type in text. Information in these fields could include items such as name, address, phone number, etc. Begin by typing the information that you will need from your customer (example: if you are creating a field for their name, type the word “Name"). Now you will use the form toolbar to create the text box. Simply click on the button that shows the symbol ab|. A gray box will appear after the text you just typed.

    You can customize this box by right clicking your mouse on it and selecting properties. A box will appear that will allow you to select options such as the type of text (numbers, text, date, etc), the length of the box (selecting unlimited will ensure that your customer will not run out of space while filling in the form), and text format (lowercase, uppercase, title case, etc.).

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    Create a Check Box

    A check box will provide a space for your customers to select multiple choices for your specific field. You will need to provide a variety of answers to your question here, each with it’s own check box. For example, if you were looking for information about the customer’s favorite colors you might type “Favorite Colors" and then create checkboxes for the colors red, blue, and green. Begin by typing “Favorite Colors.

    Next, locate the symbol of the check box on the form tool bar (next to the text field symbol) and click on it. This will create a gray box with a black border on your page. Enter a color choice beside the check box. Create a space or move to the next line and repeat for your next check box. Continue this process until you have created a box for all of your responses. Again, you can customize the way the boxes look by right clicking/properties.

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    Create a Drop-Down Menu

    A drop-down menu allows you to provide your customer the ability of selecting one response from a variety of choices. An example for this field might be “how did you find us" with responses such as “search engine", “word of mouth", and “web site".

    Begin by creating the text “How Did You Find Us?" Locate the symbol in the form tool bar that shows a drop-down menu (located next to the check box symbol). Right click on the gray box and select properties. This is where you will input responses.

    In properties, locate the field titled “drop-down item". Type your first response here and then click add. Continue this until you have added all of your responses and then click ok to return to your document. At this point your first response will appear in a gray box. This will be a drop-down menu later on.

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    Other Tools in the Forms Toolbar

    You will notice that the forms toolbar has other buttons as well. These include buttons for creating tables, borders, and more. These can be used for customizing your form, but are not necessary. Feel free to play around with these buttons to get a feel for the different things you can do to personalize your form.

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    Finishing Up

    In order to make your form fields active, you will need to click the button in your form toolbar that shows a symbol of a lock. Once this button has been activated, you can no longer edit any part of your document except for the form fields. Use the tab button on your keyboard to move from field to field. To further edit your document, simply press the lock symbol again.

    It is wise to password protect your document so that customers cannot edit your fields (other than filling in the designated form areas). To do this, be sure that you haven’t already clicked the lock button on your form toolbar. Go to the tools menu and the protect document. Type a password into the designated box and click ok. If you want to edit the document later on, simply go to the tools menu, select unprotect document, and type in your password.