A form is a structured document with spaces reserved for entering information. You design the form, and others can fill it in on paper or in Microsoft Word. You can then compile the information you collected.
Kinds of forms
You can create:
Some advantages to using forms that users complete in Word are that Word can automatically verify user input (such as an employee number), update other fields based on the input in an associated field (such as the city and region associated with a particular postal code), and offer Help messages to make the form easier to fill out.
Designing a form
When designing a form (form: A document that contains fill-in blanks, or form fields, in which you enter information. For example, you can create an online registration form in Microsoft Word that uses drop-down lists from which users can select entries.), you can sketch a layout first, or use an existing form as a guide. Many forms, such as contracts, consist solely of text, with form fields (form field: In a form, a location where a particular type of data, such as a name or address, is stored.) inserted throughout the document so users can provide specific information. Other forms are based on a grid, in which you can combine features such as:
Tables generally work well when you're creating a form with a simple layout. However, if the layout is more complex, you can insert several tables and separate them with blank paragraphs; use the Draw Table tool; or use nested tables (nested table: A table inserted within a table cell. If you use a table to lay out a page, and you want to use another table to arrange the information, you can insert a nested table.).
Advanced options for creating forms
If you want to create more powerful forms, you can use the form controls in the Control Toolbox, which are Microsoft ActiveX controls (ActiveX control: A control, such as a check box or button that offers options to users or runs macros or scripts that automate a task. You can write macros for the control in Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications or scripts in Microsoft Script Editor.).
To use these controls, a knowledge of Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is recommended so that you can customize their behavior.
Note The controls in the Control Toolbox do not function in many browsers (browser: Software that interprets HTML files, formats them into Web pages, and displays them. A Web browser, such as Windows Internet Explorer, can follow hyperlinks, transfer files, and play sound or video files that are embedded in Web pages.), so it is recommended that you use them for forms that will be filled out in Microsoft Word, not for Web forms.