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 July 14, 2023)
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. ...

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