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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 17, 2016)

4

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. (Right-click on the field, choose Properties, 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.

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, and 2013. 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. ...

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Comments

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What is two more than 4?

2016-03-17 09:53:06

Renee Sauerbrey

I am looking for assistance in creating a string of documents which contain variable fields. For example, in WordPerfect I was able to create a string of documents for an informal probate that contained everything needed to file with the Court. Each time I entered a field called Client Name, the Client's name was entered even though it had only been typed once.

It appears in Word the field aren't named, but numbered. I frequently get run time errors etc. and revert to typing each document separately, which is very time consuming!


2015-08-09 18:29:35

Mark

You hit Alt + F11 to pull up the VBA editor. Then you insert that macro.


2014-09-29 13:10:55

Jesse

An excellent post, just wondering if you could expand on the more comprehensive approach you mentioned for checking multiple fields in a document template. I am trying to find a way to do essentially just that. I have a template where various fields are filled out manually or selected from a list and am hoping there is a macro I can have run on exit where it just prompts the user if they missed one or more spots where data should have been entered. Any help is much appreciated!


2014-08-04 19:31:36

Fran Hutchinson

Hi there,

This is exactly the information that I am looking for, but I am using MS Word 2010 which has a different menu structure to 2007. When I right-click on a field and go to Properties I don't get any options about Macros - please help!


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