Creating forms with Microsoft Word is useful and easy, but the challenge comes in when you decide to create fillable forms with options that you can send to colleagues or clients and have them fill out the form digitally. Whether you need a form for gathering information or if you are trying to create a survey to test out user response to software or a new product, Microsoft Word can assist in this process. It’s a slightly more technical job and requires access to the Developer tab in Microsoft Word, but is more than easily achievable with not too much hassle!
First off, you will require the Developer Tab of Microsoft Word to be enabled.
- For Word 2007 go to File > Word Options > Popular > select ‘Show Developer Tab in Ribbon’.
If you have a later edition of Word 2010 and onwards then go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon. In the right side of the Options dialog box, select Main Tabs and turn on Developer tab.
- The Developer tab should now be visible on your word document and we can get started on this tutorial.
- You will now have to make a decision to either use an existing Microsoft Word form template or to make a new one. Using an existing template is a great time saving option if you can find a template that satisfies your needs. To look through the templates go File>New>Forms, you can then have a browse to see if any might work for you.
- This tutorial will show you how to create a new form from scratch rather than using an existing one. To start this process go to File > New > My Templates.
- Select ‘Template’ in the bottom right hand corner and press ‘OK’.
- Now we have a blank template, we are ready to start adding information to the form. To highlight a range of responses available on forms we will create a simple form with the following responses:
- Name (Plain Text Response)
- Age (Drop-Down List)
- D.O.B. (Date Response)
- Sex (Check Box)
- Click on the “Developer” tab which you added earlier and under the “Controls” section; choose “Design Mode” to begin creating different control options. If you want to see what it looks like in action, remember to deselect the “Design Mode” option.
- For any answers that require a text based answer, you can add text sections. You will do this by selecting the Rich Text Content Control (allows users to edit formatting) or the Plain Text Content Control (only allows plain text without formatting) option. So for question one we will enable a plain text response. Write the question and then at the end of the question select the plain text response in the tool bar.
- It should look something like this:
10: For the ‘Age’ question we will add a drop down list.
For questions that only allow one answer such as numbers (question 2), a drop-down list is handy. We will add simple list and populate it with age ranges. You will need to add the content control box, right-click on it, and select the “Properties” option.
12: Give the drop down list a title e.g. What is your age. Next, click on ‘add’ to add age ranges.
13: When you have finished adding in the age ranges click OK.
14: Finally on this form we are going to add in a check box for the person’s gender. We write our options and then include check boxes after each option.
15: Now that your form is complete you will want to add in some permissions before sending it out so that only certain parts of the form are editable. To do this on the Review tab, in the Protect group, click Restrict Editing.
16: In the Editing restrictions area, select the Allow only this type of editing in the document check box.
17: In the list of editing restrictions, click No changes (Read only). Select the part of the document where you want to allow changes. For example, choose the boxes, tick boxes, and dropdown menu’s that you have created previously in this walkthrough. In the exceptions box choose tick the box everyone so that anyone can fill this form in.
Alternatively, if you have created form fields for everything that needs editing, select Filling in Forms in the editing restrictions section.
Well done! You have now created an editable form and learnt how to lock it so that only certain parts of the form are editable by others. The form that we created is not the most attractive to the eye and it is advised that you either use an existing template, or create a new template that can be used on multiple occasions if you are likely to be creating these regularly.