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Sign-in Sheets

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Sign-in Sheets.

One common task in Word (particularly for those in charge of seminars or other public events) is to create sign-in sheets. You know the type of document I am talking about—one in which the sheet is full of horizontal lines where people write their name, address, and other information. (Exactly why are you at today's lecture, Ms. Jones? Hmmm?)

There are any number of ways you can create the horizontal lines in Word. One way is that you can type three dashes, press Enter a couple of times, type three more dashes, press Enter a couple of times, and keep doing this until you reach the end of the page. You can also use the table feature of Word to create a table for the information people will enter, and then just add a bottom border to the cells people will fill in.

The problem is that these approaches (and ones like them) can get very tedious over time. The quickest (and least tedious) approach I have found is to create a Word style for your sign-in lines. This style should rely on a creatively applied assortment of tabs to design the horizontal lines. For instance, if you want to leave space for a name, address, and phone number, you need three horizontal lines with two blank areas between the three. You can create such a line using tabs. Simply set them as follows:

  • 2 inches, right justified, with underscore leader
  • 2.5 inches, left justified, no leader
  • 4.5 inches, right justified, with underscore leader
  • 5 inches, left justified, no leader
  • 6.5 inches, right justified, with underscore leader

It would also be helpful for the paragraph to have the Space Before attribute (paragraph formatting) set to something like 18 points.

With the style defined, just make sure that your page margins are set to one inch on the left and right, and you are ready to go. Apply the style to a paragraph and all you need to do is press tab five times for each row of underlines (five tabs, then Enter; five tabs, then Enter, etc.). I find this approach quick and easy, with professional-looking results every time.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1363) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Sign-in Sheets.

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Comments for this tip:

carl    08 May 2012, 15:28
Personally, I find the table feature works best. You can make it as short or as long as you want, depending on expected audience; horizontal or vertical; assign the number of columns you want; and size the columns by dragging them to where you would like. Then, click the little box at the top left of the table which selects the whole table, select the layout tab on the ribbon, then properties, and then row height (being sure to uncheck the box for allowing rows to split across pages -- why in the world that is the default, I will never figure out). Works for me.
Phil Rabichow    02 Apr 2012, 11:03
You could add some extra steps the first time to it & make it easier to repeat this. After setting up a sheet in the sign-in style & pressing <enter> plus 5 tabs on each line, select the entire page, press Alt+F3 & create an AutoText entry (e.g. name it signin).

In the future, you could simply type "sign" (no quotes) & press <enter>. Provided no other autotext entry started with sign, this would create an entire page of a sign-in sheet without having to press 5 tabs on each line.

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