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: Using Mandatory Form Fields.

Using Mandatory Form Fields

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 26, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Julia asked if there is a way, when designing forms in Word, to make a particular form field mandatory. In other words, making sure that the user must fill something in the field.

There is no setting that you can use to mark a field as mandatory, as you can in Access. But there are several ways to provide the same functionality. Perhaps the easiest method is to simply make sure that you set the appropriate "on exit" setting for the form field to run a macro. (Display the Developer tab of the ribbon, click the Design Mode tool in the Controls group, right-click on the field, choose Properties from the resulting Context menu, and use the Exit drop-down list to select a macro to run.) The macro could check to make sure the value provided within the field is within acceptable bounds. If not, then the macro could move the insertion point back to the field to request input or could prompt the user for the necessary information. The following is an example of a simple macro to do just this:

Sub MustFillIn()
    If ActiveDocument.FormFields("Text1").Result = "" Then
        Do
            sInFld = InputBox("This field must be filled in, fill in below.")
        Loop While sInFld = ""
        ActiveDocument.FormFields("Text1").Result = sInFld
    End If
End Sub

In this macro you would need to change the name of the field specified (Text1) to the name of the field you are using the macro with. This particular example checks to make sure that the user enters something—anything—in the field. Your macro, of course, could get much more specific in the checking it does.

For a more comprehensive approach, you could have the on-exit macros (if there is more than one mandatory field) set a system variable. When the user tries to save or close the form, the AutoExit macro could check the value of the variable, and if it shows there are mandatory fields not filled in, then a dialog box explaining the problem could be displayed.

All of these approaches, of course, will require extensive testing before implementing. You will need to decide the best course of action based on your needs, the data involved, and the type of users you have.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8337) 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: Using Mandatory Form Fields.

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

Splitting a Table

Table getting too long? Need to move part of a table to somewhere else in your document? You can easily split an existing ...

Discover More

Appearance of Excel on the Taskbar

Do you want Excel to use a task button, on the Windows Taskbar, for each of your open worksheets? Then just make this ...

Discover More

Finding the Nth Occurrence of a Character

The FIND and SEARCH functions are great for finding the initial occurrence of a character in a text string, but what if ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

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

Saving and Using a Form

After you have created your custom form, you will need to save it so that you can use it as often as needed. Word makes ...

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
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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 five more than 6?

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.

Videos
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.