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: Saving and Using a Form.

Saving and Using a Form

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 21, 2015)

Once you have defined all the text and fields that make up your form, you are ready to save it and use it. As the final step before saving, you should make sure you click on the Protect Form button on the Forms toolbar (this is the button with a padlock on it). This protects the form from inadvertent changes, and it means that only the contents of the various fields can be changed by the user.

Now you need to save your form as a document template. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Save As from the File menu. Word displays the Save As dialog box.
  2. In the Save As Type box, select Document Templates (*.dot).
  3. If necessary change to the directory where the template is to be stored. (You should store the template in the same directory as your other document templates.)
  4. In the File Name field, enter the name under which you want this template saved.
  5. Click on Save.

The template is now saved and you can close the document on your screen. When you later want to use the form, the following steps will create a blank form based on the template you just saved. Follow these steps if you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003:

  1. Choose the New option from the File menu. Word displays the New Document pane at the right side of the program window.
  2. In the Templates area of the pane, click the On My Computer link. This action informs Word that you want to create a new document based on a template that resides on your computer. Word displays the Templates dialog box.
  3. On the General tab, scroll through the available templates and choose the template in which your form is saved.
  4. Make sure the Document radio button is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

If you are using Word 97 or Word 2000, the process for using the template is a bit different. Follow these steps instead:

  1. Choose the New option from the File menu. This displays the New dialog box, and all your document templates are listed.
  2. Scroll through the available templates and choose the template in which your form is saved.
  3. Make sure the Document radio button is selected.
  4. Click on OK.

At this point Word creates a new document based on the template you selected. You can now proceed to use the form in the following manner:

  1. Use the Tab key to move between fields in your document, entering information as you go.
  2. When you are done entering information, print your form, if desired.
  3. Choose Save As from the File menu. Word displays the Save As dialog box.
  4. In the Save As Type box, select Word Document (*.doc).
  5. If necessary change to the directory where the form should be stored.
  6. In the File Name field, enter the name under which you want this document saved.
  7. Click on Save.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1012) 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: Saving and Using a Form.

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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