Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Understanding Forms.

Understanding Forms

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 19, 2019)

Word provides a way that you can create standardized documents rather easily, allowing users to enter only the information that changes from one document to the next. These are called forms and they consist of a protected document template that has special fields inserted within the template. These fields indicate where the user of the form inserts their information.

Forms are typically used for documents in which there are only a few items that change in each iteration of the document. For instance, if you have a standard service contract, the only items that may change from one contract to another are the name of the person entering into the contract, the type of services provided, and the amount being charged for those services. Documents such as this are prime candidates for being defined as a form.

To create a form, you basically follow these steps:

  1. Create a document containing the text of the form.
  2. Insert form fields where you want users to enter data in the form.
  3. Format the fields to reflect the type of data you deem allowable in the form.
  4. Protect the form.
  5. Save the document as a template.

Later, when the form is being used, someone creates a new document using your template. They can then only enter information in the fields you have defined. The new document can then be saved under any name desired and later recalled.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8302) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Forms.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Selecting a Paper Source

When you print a worksheet, you may want to specify that the printout be done on a particular paper tray in a particular ...

Discover More

Centering Your Worksheet

Got just a small amount of worksheet data to print out? It might look better on the printed page if you center it. Excel ...

Discover More

Setting Your Default Document Directory

Word allows you to specify where it should start looking for your documents. This setting can come in handy if you store ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Creating Traditional Forms

Do you use Word to create printed forms? If so, here's some ideas and techniques you can use to make those forms look as ...

Discover More

Working with Form Fields

You know you want to use form fields in your document (they are essential in creating forms, after all) but you need to ...

Discover More

Saving Form Data for a Database

Use Word to create a form, and you can easily collect standardized data from a large number of users. When it comes time ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one less than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.