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

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

Step 3: Add content to the form

Step 4: Set or change properties for content controls

Step 5: Add instructional text to the form

Step 6: Add protection to a form

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

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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 document and save as either a document or template to re-use in the future.

Start with a form template

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click New.

  3. Search for Forms in the Templates search box.

  4. Click the form that matches the type you want to create.

  5. Click Download if you're using Word 2010 or Create if you're using Word 2013.

  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 document

If you want to create your own template, start with a new document and save the new document as a template

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Save As.

  3. Under Save as type, select Word template from the menu.

  4. In the Save As dialog box, type a file name for the new template, and then click Save.

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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.

Office 2010 ribbon

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 Ribbon image.

  2. Select the content control, and then on the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Properties.

    Office 2010 ribbon

  3. To create a list of choices, click Add under Drop-Down List Properties.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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Use the legacy form controls

  1. Click where you want to insert a legacy control.

  2. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click the Legacy Forms drop-down.

  3. Select the Legacy Form control or Active X Control that you want to include.

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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.

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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.

    Office 2010 ribbon

  2. Click the content control where you want to revise the placeholder instructional text.

  3. Edit the placeholder text and format it any way you want.

  4. 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.

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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.

    Office 14 Ribbon

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

    Office 2010 ribbon

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Create forms that users complete or print in Word 2007

Applies To: Word 2010, Word 2013



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