How to Create Fillable Forms with Microsoft Word

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Creating forms with Microsoft Word is easy, but the challenge comes in when you decide to create fillable forms with options that you can send to people and have them fill out digitally. Whether you need a form for gathering information about people or if you are trying to take a survey to test out user response to software or a new product, MS Word has the solution for you.

Note: the screenshots in this tutorial are from Word 2010 but this should work the same in Word 2013.

Enable the Developer Tab

In order to create fillable forms, you will need to start by enabling the developer tab by clicking on the “File” drop-down menu and then choose “Options.” Open the “Customize Ribbon” tab and select the “Main Tabs” option under “Customize the Ribbon.”

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Now you will need to select the “Developer” box and press “OK.”

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Once you have done this, you will notice that an additional menu has been added to the top of the screen with several new developer options.

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To Template, or Not to Template?

There are two main options to get started with your form creation. Option one is easy to use if you can find a template that suits your needs. To find templates, Click on the “File” menu, select “New.” You will see many premade templates available for download. Simply click on “Forms” and look through the selection of templates to find one that suits your needs.

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When you have found your template, just download it and edit the form as needed.

Since that is the easy way and you may not be able to find a template that fits your needs, we will discuss the best way to create forms from scratch. Begin by navigating to the template options again, but instead of selecting a pre-made form, select “My Templates.”

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Now you will need to click the “Templates” check-circle and then press “OK” to create a blank template. Lastly, press “Ctrl + S” to save the document. We will call it, “Form Template 1”.

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Populate the Form

Now that you have a blank template, you are ready to start adding information to the form. The form we will create in this example is a simple form to collect information about people who fill them out. First, you will need to enter the basic questions. For this tutorial, we will try to get the following information:

  1. Name (Plain Text Response)
  2. Age (Drop-Down List)
  3. D.O.B. (Date Response)
  4. Sex (Check Box)
  5. Zip Code (Plain Text Response)
  6. Phone Number (Plain Text Response)
  7. Favorite Primary Color and why: (Combo Box)
  8. Best Pizza Toppings (Check Box and Plain Text Response)
  9. What is your dream job and why? Limit your answer to 200 words (Rich Text Response)
  10. What type of vehicle do you drive? (Plain Text Response)

Click on the “Developer” tab which you added earlier and under the “Controls” section, choose “Design Mode” to begin creating different control options. If you want to see what it looks like in action, remember to deselect the “Design Mode” option.

Text Sections

For any answers that require a text based answer, you can add text sections. You will do this by selecting the Rich Text Content Control 1 (allows users to edit formatting) or the Plain Text Content Control 2 (only allows plain text without formatting) option.

Let’s enable a rich text response for question 9, and then a plain text response for question 1, 5, 6, and 10.

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Remember that you can edit the text in the content control boxes to match the questions by clicking in them and typing as seen in the image above.

Add a Date Selection Option

If you need to add dates, you can add the “Date Picker Content Control.” 3 Let’s Use this and add it to question 3.

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Insert a Drop-Down List with Options

For questions that only allow one answer such as numbers (question 2), a drop-down list 4is handy. We will add simple list and populate it with age ranges. You will need to add the content control box, right-click on it, and select the “Properties” option. Next, click on add to add age ranges.

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When you are done, it should look something like this (Design Mode Disabled).

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Alternatively, you can add a “Combo Box,” 5 which will allow you to add any options you want, as well as allow users to enter additional text if needed. Let’s add a combo box to question 7. Since it is a combo box, users will be able to select an option and type why they like the color.

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Add Check Boxes

For the fourth question, we will add check box options. 6 You will first enter your options (male and female). Now you can add the check box content control after each option.

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Repeat the process for any other questions that require one or more options. We will add check boxes to question 8 as well. We will also add a plain text response box for any toppings not listed.

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Wrapping Up

The completed blank form should look like the images below depending on whether you have design mode enabled or disabled.

Design Mode Enabled

Design Mode Enabled

 

Design Mode Disabled

Design Mode Disabled

 

Congratulations, you have just learned the basics of creating interactive forms. Feel free to download our completed sample form if needed.  You can send the DOTX file to people and when they open it, it will automatically open up a normal word document that they can fill out and send to you since the template is automatically applied.

Image Credit: Ben Ward on Flickr

Martin Hendrikx is a technology writer and author with years of experience. He has traveled to 47 countries and counting and is well versed in all things Windows.

  • Published 11/28/14
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