Create forms that users complete or print in Word

You can create a form in Microsoft Word by starting with a template and adding content controls, including check boxes, text boxes, date pickers, and drop-down lists. Other people can use Word to fill out the form on their computer. In an advanced scenario, any content controls that you add to a form can also be linked to data.

You can also create a form by starting with a template. Many form templates are available on the Office.com Web site.

 Note   You can print a form that was created by using content controls, but the boxes around the content controls will not be printed.

In this article


Step 1: Show the Developer tab

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Customize Ribbon.
  4. Under Customize the Ribbon, click Main Tabs.
  5. In the list, select the Developer check box, and then click OK.

Developer check box

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 2: Open a template or a document on which to base the form

To save time, you can start with a form template. Or you can start with a blank template and create your own form from scratch.

Start with a form template

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click New.
  3. Under Office.com Templates, click Forms.
  4. Click the folder that matches the type of form that you want to create.
  5. Click the form template that you want to use, and then click Download.
  6. Click the File tab again, and then click Save As.
  7. In the Save As dialog box, type a name for the new template or document, and then click Save.

Start with a blank template

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click New.
  3. Under Available Templates, click My templates.
  4. Under Create New, click Template, and then click OK.
  5. Click the File tab again, and then click Save As.
  6. In the Save As dialog box, type a file name for the new template, and then click Save.

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 3: Add content to the form

On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Design Mode, and then insert the controls that you want.

Controls group

Insert a text control where users can enter text

In a rich text content control, users can format text as bold or italic, and they can type multiple paragraphs. If you want to limit what users add, insert the plain text content control.

  1. Click where you want to insert the control.
  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Rich Text Content Control Ribbon image or the Plain Text Content Control Ribbon image.

To set specific properties on the control, see Step 4: Set or change properties for content controls.

Insert a picture control

A picture control is often used for templates, but you can also add a picture control to a form.

  1. Click where you want to insert the control.
  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Picture Content Control.

Picture content control

To set specific properties on the control, see Step 4: Set or change properties for content controls.

Insert a building block control

You can use building block controls when you want people to choose a specific block of text. For example, building block controls are helpful if you’re setting up a contract template, and you need to add different boilerplate text depending on the contract’s specific requirements. You can create rich text content controls for each version of the boilerplate text, and then you can use a building block control as the container for the rich text content controls.

You can also use a building block control in a form.

  1. Click where you want to insert the control.
  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Building Block Content Control.

Building block content control

To set specific properties on the control, see Step 4: Set or change properties for content controls.

Insert a combo box or a drop-down list

In a combo box, users can select from a list of choices that you provide or they can type in their own information. In a drop-down list, users can only select from the list of choices.

  1. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click the Combo Box Content Control Button image or Drop-Down List Content Control Button image.
  2. Select the content control, and then on the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Properties.

Controls group

  1. To create a list of choices, click Add under Drop-Down List Properties.
  2. Type a choice in the Display Name box, such as Yes, No, or Maybe.

Repeat this step until all of the choices are in the drop-down list.

  1. Fill in any other properties that you want.

 Note    If you select the Contents cannot be edited check box, users won’t be able to click a choice.

Insert a date picker

  1. Click where you want to insert the date picker control.
  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click the Date Picker Content Control.

Date picker content control

To set specific properties on the control, see Step 4: Set or change properties for content controls.

Insert a check box

  1. Click where you want to insert the check box control.
  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click the Check Box Content Control.

Check box content control

To set specific properties on the control, see Step 4: Set or change properties for content controls.

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 4: Set or change properties for content controls

Each content control has properties that you can set or change. For example, the Date Picker control offers options for the format you want to use to display the date.

  1. Click the content control that you want to change.
  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Properties, and change the properties that you want.

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 5: Add instructional text to the form

Instructional text can enhance the usability of the form you create and distribute. You can change the default instructional text in content controls.

To customize the default instructional text for your form users, do the following:

  1. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Design Mode.

Controls group

  1. Click the content control where you want to revise the placeholder instructional text.
  2. Edit the placeholder text and format it any way you want.
  3. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Design Mode to turn off the design feature and save the instructional text.

 Note   Do not select the Contents cannot be edited check box if you want form users to replace the instructional text with their own text.

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 6: Add protection to a form

 Tip    If you want, you can test the form prior to distributing it. Open the form, fill it out as the user would, and then save a copy in a location that you want.

  1. Open the form that you want to add protection to.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Select, and then click Select All, or press CTRL+A.

Editing group

  1. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Group, and then click Group again.

Controls group

Top of Page Top of Page

Try Office 2010 today!

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2010