Text Form Fields in Word 2007

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 30, 2013)

Ted has a document that contains text form fields. He can specify a default value for these form fields. In previous versions of Word, when the text field was clicked on by a user, the default value would disappear. In Word 2007 the default value does not disappear. Ted wonders how he can make text form fields in Word 2007 behave as they did in previous versions of Word.

We did some testing and found that something else has to be at work in Ted's description of the behavior of his text form fields. If you tab into a form field, the entire content (such as the default value specified for the field) is selected and typing anything will replace the selection. However, if you click in a text form field then this behavior does happen; Word simply puts the insertion point at the place you clicked and you can edit the text in the field.

The description of this behavior is not unique to Word 2007; the fields behave the same way in previous versions of Word, as well. If the documents containing the forms were created in a version of Word prior to Word 2007, then behavior of those forms should be the exact same in Word 2007 as it was previously. Of course, it is possible that the behavior of the forms could be affected by some macros contained in Normal.dot on the older system, and those macros aren't in the Normal.dotm on the new Word 2007 system—but such a situation would take a good deal of sleuthing to figure out.

If the document containing the forms was created in Word 2007, then it is possible that the forms aren't using text fields at all. Instead, they could be using some of the new content controls introduced in Word 2007. These can behave differently than the traditional fields used in Word forms, especially if the controls are linked to document properties.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3868) applies to Microsoft Word 2007.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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