Fill out a form faster

While the actual process of entering data in a form is straightforward, there are a few features that can help you do it more efficiently.

What do you want to do?


Use AutoComplete to speed up data entry

You can use the AutoComplete feature in Microsoft Office InfoPath to save previous entries that you have typed into fields for any form that you have filled out on your computer. When you type the first few characters into a field on an InfoPath form, AutoComplete lists possible matches from among entries that you have typed before. You can then select the entry that you want, or if none of the suggestions match what you are typing, you can simply continue typing into the field.

In the following illustration, AutoComplete shows the previously entered value of 8:00 as a possible match when 8 is typed.

AutoComplete example

If AutoComplete isn't working in fields on your form, the form's designer may have disabled it, or the AutoComplete setting may be turned off in Windows Internet Explorer.

Turn AutoComplete on

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the General tab.
  3. Under System, click Internet Options.
  4. Click the Content tab.
  5. Under Personal information, click AutoComplete.
  6. Under Use AutoComplete for in the AutoComplete Settings dialog box, select the Forms check box.

 Note   The form's designer may choose to turn off AutoComplete for some or all of the fields on their form. In this scenario, you will not be able to use AutoComplete when filling out those fields, regardless of whether you turn AutoComplete on in Internet Explorer.

You may occasionally want to clear the list of suggested entries retained in AutoComplete. Doing this helps prevent other users of your computer from viewing any private information that you have previously entered.

Clear the list of suggested AutoText entries

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the General tab.
  3. Under System, click Internet Options.
  4. Click the Content tab.
  5. Under Personal information, click AutoComplete.
  6. To delete the list of entries that you have made in fields on a form, click Clear Forms under Clear AutoComplete history, and then click OK when prompted.

 Tip   When filling out a form, you can delete a single item from the list of AutoComplete suggestions. When the list appears, point to the item that you want to delete, and then press DELETE.

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Move between fields more quickly

Although moving the mouse pointer is usually a quick way to access different fields on a form, sometimes it is even faster to move between fields by using the keyboard. To move between fields in the form's tab order (tab order: The order in which the focus moves in a form from one field or object to the next as you press TAB or SHIFT+TAB.), do one of the following:

  • To move forward to the next field, press TAB.
  • To move backward to the previous field, press SHIFT+TAB.
  • To move the insertion point up or down between rows in a table, press the UP ARROW or DOWN ARROW key, respectively.

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Add rows or columns more quickly

When filling out a form, you can add rows to tables that are part of the form template, or add rows and columns to tables that you have inserted into rich text fields. To save time when doing these tasks, do one of the following:

  • To add a row to a table that is part of the form template, press CTRL+ENTER.
  • To add a row or column to a table that is inserted into a rich text field, right-click the table, point to Insert on the shortcut menu, and then click the option that you want.

 Tip   To quickly add a row to a table that is inserted into a rich text field, move the insertion point to the last cell in the table, and then press TAB.

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Review errors faster

As you fill out a form, InfoPath automatically checks the information that you enter for errors. If InfoPath finds any problem with the information that you typed, you will see either a dialog box alert (dialog box alert: A data validation alert that opens a dialog box with a custom error message when invalid data is entered into a control.) or an inline alert (inline alert: A data validation alert that marks controls that contain invalid or missing data with a dashed red border or red asterisk. Users can display custom error messages by right-clicking the control or by clicking a link for more information.). For an inline alert, a dashed red border typically appears around a field in the form. In cases where a field is required, a red asterisk appears inside the control. To learn more about a particular inline alert, either rest the pointer over the field or right-click it. The form's designer can also specify that a dialog box appears with an explanatory message. The following image shows both an inline alert and a dialog box message.

A dialog box alert and an inline alert example

To quickly review data errors and descriptions of those errors, do one of the following:

  • To move to the field that contains the data error, press CTRL+SHIFT+E.
  • To read a description of the problem, select the field that contains the error, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+S.

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