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Microsoft Word 2003/2004

Word Forms: An Overview

A Microsoft Word form is a document created in Word containing form fields, which are used to collect information from users. Form fields enable users to enter information by typing text in fields, selecting checkboxes and radio buttons, or selecting an option from a menu of choices.

When you need to create a form that will be used repeatedly, Microsoft Word forms are a good option—especially for forms used by a group. Using a Word form eliminates the need for printing or making multiple copies, or copies of a copy, which may be obsolete by the time they are used. Word forms can be completed using Word or printed as needed and completed by hand.

Using Word to complete forms is convenient and ensures that input information is legible and aligns with the question/prompt. You also eliminate the problem of trying to accommodate the text of an answer within the space given and the remaining underlining that forms the "blank" in a Word document, as shown here.

Word Document Word Form
Name blank in a Word document Name blank in a Word form

Word forms are useful for documents such as employee performance reviews, purchasing requisitions for a school or business, or checklists. This document offers basic advice about designing and planning forms to be completed electronically. Once you are ready to create your own Word form, refer to Word Forms: Creating a Word Form.

return to topDesigning Forms

Before you begin creating your form with Word, you should take some time to plan and design it. The following guidelines can help you as you plan your form.

return to topPlanning Forms

Here are some questions to consider when planning a form.

Do the users have Microsoft Word? If so, how comfortable are they with it?

Forms are saved as a special type of Word document (a template), so it is important that users are experienced with Word and use a compatible version of Word.

Will the users be working with Windows or Macintosh?

If you are creating a form for Word for Windows and your audience will be using Word for Macintosh, you should test the compatibility of the form and make sure the file can be transferred between both operating systems. If you need assistance, contact the Help Desk (836-5711, or visit Old Library 1142.

Will the form be used repeatedly or only once?

If the form is going to be used repeatedly, a Word form is a good choice. However, if the form is to be used only once, consider the complexity of the form and the method of analyzing the results. If a Word form is not suitable, other options include an appropriately formatted Word document or a web (online) form.

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