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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.

Tips, Tricks, and Answers

The following articles are available for the 'Forms' topic. Click the article's title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.

Allowing Only Form Field Changes
Word allows you to create forms that other people can use to enter information. One of the last steps normally taken with forms is to protect them so that data can only be entered where you specified.

Auto-incrementing Form Fields
Templates are a great way to create new documents because they act as intricate patterns to what those new documents should contain. What if you want the new documents to include some sort of automatically incrementing number? This tip looks at ways you can accomplish the task.

AutoFormat within Form Fields
When entering information into protected form fields, Word doesn't apply the formatting inherent in the AutoFormat As You Type feature. This tip explains how why this is so and discusses one possible workaround.

Calculating Form Fields
Form fields allow you to create (you guessed it) forms. Here is a description of how you can force Word to calculate the contents of a form field while the form is being used.

Converting Forms to Regular Documents
Word allows you to protect documents that are intended to be used as forms. If you want to convert the form responses back to regular text, you need to follow a couple of steps that will stop the data from being changed, as described in this tip.

Copying Form Field Contents
Are you developing a form with Word? In some instances it is advantageous to copy whatever is entered in a form field to another location in your document. This tip explores two ways you can reuse information entered into your document's fields.

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 good as possible.

Entering a Name in the Header of a Locked Form
When you lock a document as a form, then Word limits what you can do with that document. That includes not being able to change whatever is in the header and footer. This tip explains how you can bypass the need for putting a form field in an area of the document you can't change once the form is protected.

Entering Calculations in a Form Field
One of the many uses for Word is to create forms that can be easily filled in by other people. This is made possible by the use of special form fields. Word even lets you perform simple calculations on the values entered into form fields, as described in this tip.

Entering Many Items In a Drop-Down Form Field
One of the controls you can add to a Word form is a drop-down form field. This field is similar to drop-down lists used in various dialog boxes. If you have many, many items you want in the drop-down list, then you may need to consider different options, described in this tip, for getting the type of form you want.

Field Calculations in Locked Forms
When adding form fields to a document, you may want some of the fields to be automatically calculated from other fields. If you don't understand how Word handles the fields, it is easy to get the wrong result. Here is a quick overview and resolution for one common trap.

Protecting Parts of a Document
Word doesn't require you to protect entire documents. Instead, you can protect different sections within a document, as described in this tip.

Read-Only Documents
Using both Word and Windows, there are a variety of ways you can mark a file as read-only so that it cannot be changed. This tip discusses the different techniques you can use.

Safely Relocking Forms
In order to use a form in Word, it must be protected. This means that you cannot make any changes to the form, even if you need to. If you unlock the form to make changes, then when you relock it, the data in the form is wiped out. This tip provides a solution you can use to safely relock your forms without losing data.

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 this easy and here's how.

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 to get that data into a different program (such as a database program), then you'll need the info in this tip.

Spell Checking Forms
Word may be used to create protected forms that limit where the user may input data. Normally spell checking is disabled in protected documents. This tip shows how to enable spell checking in protected forms.

Stopping Enter from being Pressed In a Form
If you create a form using Word, chances are good that you don't want a user to mess up the layout of the form by pressing Enter where they shouldn't. Here's a tip that explains what is happening and how you can best protect against users distorting the form.

Understanding Forms
If you have ever created several documents that contain the same basic information with only a few minor differences, then you need to know how to use the forms feature in Word. It's easy to enter only the information that changes on standard documents. Here's how to set that up.

Undesired Font in Form Fields
If you get unwanted formatting in your form fields, it could be because of the way you are formatting the line on which the form field appears. This tip discusses the way that form field formatting occurs and provides examples of how you can format the fields.

Valid Numbers in Form Fields
When you create a form you need to use special form fields. If you want to limit what users can enter in a form field, you'll need to understand the ideas presented in this tip.

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 specify what can be entered in the fields. This tip explains how to customize your form fields.


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