Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 19, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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 Microsoft 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. ...

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