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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.) contains two types of content: form fields (form field: In a form, a location where a particular type of data, such as a name or address, is stored.), such as check boxes, and display content, such as text that labels a check box or instructions for filling out the form. People can use the form fields to fill out the form, but they should not be able to change the display content.
Protecting the form makes the form fields available for others to enter information without changing the display content. You use the Protect Form toolbar button to turn protection on or off while you are designing and testing the form. After you distribute the form, however, a user can use this same toolbar button to unprotect the form and make changes to any text in the form. If you want to keep people from accidentally unprotecting the form and changing the display content, you can use the Protect Document task pane and apply a password.
Protect a form to test how the final version will work
Note If you want to reset form fields before you turn protection on for the form, click Reset Form Fields on the Forms toolbar.
Apply a password to prevent others from accidentally changing the form
Note When you follow these steps, the form fields (form field: In a form, a location where a particular type of data, such as a name or address, is stored.) are reset to their default settings.
- On the Tools menu, click Protect Document.
- In the Protect Document task pane, under Editing restrictions, select the Allow only this type of editing in the document check box, and then click Filling in forms in the list of editing restrictions.
- To protect only parts of a form from accidental changes, click Select sections, and then clear the check boxes for the sections (section: A portion of a document in which you set certain page formatting options. You create a new section when you want to change such properties as line numbering, number of columns, or headers and footers.) you don't want to protect.
Note To protect only parts of a form from accidental changes, those parts must be in separate sections. (On the Insert menu, click Break to create section breaks.)
- Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.
- To assign a password to the form so that others don't accidentally change the form's display content, type a password in the Enter new password (optional) box, and then confirm the password. Users who don't know the password can still enter information in the form fields.