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Creating a Form with Blanks to be Filled In

If you want to create a document where readers can fill in blanks and maybe select options from drop-down lists then you can use Word’s form fields.  These fields are available on the Forms Toolbar which can be displayed by clicking on the View drop-down menu and then choosing Toolbars -> Forms .

Text Form Field
Check Box Form Field
Drop-Down Form Field
Form Field Options
Draw Table
Insert Table
Insert Frame
Form Field Shading
Protect Form

A Text Form Field provides a blank box where the user can enter any text, a Check Box inserts a box that can be ticked or un-ticked and the Drop-Down Form Field can be configured to give various options that can be selected.  When you have inserted a Form Field you can then click on that field and then on the Form Field Options icon to set various options for the Form Field.  The options for each type of field are described below.

Text Form Field

You can use the Type box to set whether the Text Form Field will contain text, a date, a number or other items.  A maximum length can be set if you want to limit the size.  If you want the field to be pre-populated with a standard piece of text you can enter this in the Default text box shown in the figure above, the user can then replace this if they need to.  The text format can also be set so that it is always in a certain style.

Check Box Form Field

For a Check Box Form Field you can change the size and choose whether the box is checked or not checked when the user opens the document.

Drop-Down Form Field

For a Drop-Down Form Field you can enter the items you would like to be available for selection into the list on the options.  When you have added a drop-down field you can click the Properties icon to set up the items for the drop-down list. 

The order of these items can be changed by clicking on an item and using the Move arrows shown in the figure above to move it up or down.

When you have set up the fields in your document, click on the Protect icon to protect it or use the Tools drop-down menu and choose Protect Document .  Now save your document and when it is opened you will be able to press the Tab key to move through the fields and complete them.  If you want to make changes to the document just unprotect it, make the changes and then re-protect it before saving again.

If you protect the document with the icon on the Forms Toolbar you will not be prompted for a password and anyone will be able to unprotect your document and change it.  If you want to use a password to prevent others from changing the structure of the form you should use the Tools menu and Protect Document, ensure that Forms is selected and enter a password in the box provided.  Remember, if you forget your password you will not be able to open the document so only use this if it is absolutely necessary.

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