Using forms saves time and energy while ensuring that needed information is provided in an easy to read format. Creating forms can be a major headache. Fortunately Word 2007 provides some easy to use tools to help create customized interactive forms. Most users choose not to take advantage of these powerful tools because they seem overwhelming. This guide will explain just how simple it is to create forms in Microsoft Word 2007.
A form is a document with pre-defined fields for a user to complete. To start creating one, decide what type of form you’d like to create. For this example, we will be creating an Employee Leave form.
Open Microsoft Office 2007 and click the Office Button and choose “New”
Under the Templates heading, choose “My templates…”
In the new window, select “Blank Document,” click the “Template” radio button, and click “OK”
Congratulations, you’ve just created a blank template! We are now going to add content to your form.
Click the Office button and select “Word Options”
Click “Popular,” check the box next to “Show Developer tab in the Ribbon,” and click OK. This adds a new tab to the ribbon at the top of the Office 2007 screen. The Developer tab contains all the controls you need to create simple or complex forms.
On the Developer tab, the section labeled “Controls” contains a number of icons, each of which create a different form item.
is the Rich Text button, which creates a Rich Text fill-in field.
is the Text button, which creates a basic Text fill-in field.
The difference between these two buttons is that Rich Text allows you to group form fields. For our purposes, we will only use the Text button.
is the Drop Down Box button, which creates a drop down box form item, which you can fill with items to select between.
is the Combo Box button. This allows you to either select from a list of choices (like a Drop Down Box) or insert your own text (like a Text or Rich Text button).
is the Date Picker button. This allows you to quickly pick a specific date from an on-screen calendar and formats the date any way you’d like.
is the Picture Content Control button. It allows you to insert a picture from a file into a predetermined area on your document.
is the Legacy Tools button. This allows you to add a number of basic form fields including radio buttons and check boxes.
Now that we know a bit about the different controls we can use, let’s create that Employee Leave form.
First, let’s create the basic layout of the form. In the end it should look something like this:
As you can see above, there are a number of areas that need to be filled in. Let’s start by adding a few Date Picker buttons. This will clean up the overall appearance of the form and give the employee a nice visual interface when they are filling it out.
Click next to where it says “Date:” in the top right corner of the document.
In the Developer tab, click the “Date Picker” button
This gives you a basic calendar to pick a day from. We are now going to customize it. Click the “Properties button” in the Controls section of the Developer tab.
Under properties, you can give the button a Title and Tag, which will label the button. You can also choose to lock the button so that it can’t be deleted or have it’s properties edited. Check the first box (Content control cannot be deleted) but not the second (Contents cannot be edited). If you check the second box, users will not be able to change the date. Choose the appropriate date format and click OK.
You now have a Date form that still says “Click here to enter a date.” In order to change the text to something more instructive, click the “Design Mode” button in the Controls section of the Developer tab. You’ll notice that brackets appear around the form.
Click inside the brackets and replace the text with something more descriptive. Once you’ve done that, unclick the Design Mode button. The final result will look like this:
You now have added a Date Picker control to the form. I am going to add two more Date Picker controls in place of the “Requested Leave Start date” and “Requested Leave End date” fields. The form will then look like this:
Next let’s add a Drop Down Box so employees can choose their name from a list.
Click next to “Employee Name” and select Drop Down list from the Controls area of the Developer tab.
Click Properties from the Controls area of the Developer tab and add employee names by clicking the “Add” button and inserting their names. You can also change and delete names from the list in this window.
Once you’ve added all the employee names, select the first item “Choose an item” from the list of names and click Remove. Check the “Content Control cannot be deleted” box and click OK.
Change the title of the” Employee Name” drop down box by clicking on the Design Mode button and changing the text inside the brackets from “Choose an item” to something more descriptive. I chose “Your Name”
Since not all information can be added to a drop down box , let’s add a text box for “Total Time requested” and “Special notes”
Click next to “Total Time requested” and choose the Text content control . Click the Properties button in the Controls area of the Developer tab and check the “Content Control cannot be deleted” box and click OK.
Click the Design Mode button in the Controls area of the Developer tab and change “Click here to enter text” to something more applicable for the form. I chose “Please enter time in days and hours.” Once you are finished, uncheck Design Mode.
To create a multi-paragraph text box, you only need to change one setting. Let’s create one by clicking next to “Special notes” and adding another Text content control.
Click Click the Properties button in the Controls area of the Developer tab and check the “Content Control cannot be deleted” box as well as the “Allow carriage returns (multiple paragraphs)” and click OK. Now you can type multiple paragraphs in one text control box.
Click the Design Mode button in the Controls area of the Developer tab and change “Click here to enter text” to “Add any additional information here.” Don’t forget to uncheck Design Mode.
Almost all of our fields are now filled out. We could use a drop down box for the “Leave type” field, but this would also make a great occasion to learn how to create radio buttons. Radio buttons allow you to pick one option out of a group (whereas check boxes allow you to pick multiple options.
To start, click next to “Leave type” and click the Legacy tools button from the Controls area of the Developer tab.
This will create an item called “OptionButton1.” Click the Properties button on the Controls area of the Developer tab. Find the item called “Caption” and change it to “Annual Leave”
You can add as many additional Radio buttons as you’d like. I’ve added two more buttons.
As one last touch, I’m going to add a check box next to the statement that begins “I have given…” This is very simple, all you need to do is lace the cursor in front of the statement “I have given…” and select the check box from Legacy tools.
It will automatically add the check box and the form will end up looking like this:
Now all you need to do is save the form in the correct way so that people can only edit the form data and not the forms themselves.
Click the Protect Document icon on the Developer Tab and chose “Restrict Formatting and Editing
On the left side of the screen, check the box labeled “Allow only this type of editing in the document:” and select “Filling in forms” from the drop down box.
Click “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” and enter a password to protect the document. Click OK and your document is now protected.
Click the Office button and choose “Save as à Word Template”
Select “Word Macro-Enabled Template” from the “Save as type” drop down box and your document is now ready to be used.