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: Lines that Don't Change When You Type.

Lines that Don't Change When You Type

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 15, 2020)

Susan, like many people, needs to create a form in a Word document. The form needs to contain lines in it, with each line showing where someone should type something. Susan is wondering how to create the lines so that they remain looking the same after someone actually types something where the lines are located.

There are a couple of things you can do. The first is to try using tabs to indicate where you want people to enter information. For instance, let's say you want a line to begin 1.5 inches from the left margin and then have that line extend for 3 inches from that point. You can do this by setting two tab stops: one at 1.5 inches and the other at 4.5 inches. The first tab stop should be left aligned and the second should be right aligned.

Then, select the second tab stop and apply the underline attribute. You now have a line exactly 3 inches wide. If someone positions the insertion point at the beginning of the line and starts typing, their typing is also underlined, so it looks natural. As long as what is being typed does not extend beyond the 3 inches, you are fine.

Another approach is to draw underlines where you want information to be entered. Since the underlines are graphical, they are not affected by what you type and will remain visible on the document. (Their visibility, of course, can be affected by how they are placed in relation to other drawing objects or to the text itself, so you may need to do a bit of experimentation to get lines exactly as you want.)

The way that most people approach the problem of underlines in forms, however, is to use tables. Just set up a table that is as simple or complex as necessary to accommodate what you need. The cells in the table can be selected and borders applied, as necessary, to create the lines you need. When someone needs to enter information, all they need to do is click in the table cell and start typing. The line (which is really the cell border) is not affected by what is typed.

For a good discussion about how to set up lines in forms, see this page at the Word MVP site:

http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/TblsFldsFms/LinesInForms.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3376) 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: Lines that Don't Change When You Type.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding a File Path and Filename

If you need to stuff the current workbook's filename and path into a cell or a header or footer, you'll appreciate the ...

Discover More

Creating Hyperlinks from E-mail Addresses

Got a document that has a whole raft of e-mail address in it? You can easily convert all of them to clickable hyperlinks ...

Discover More

Replacing Multiple Spaces with Tabs

If you get a document or some text that has multiple consecutive spaces used to align information, you'll undoubtedly be ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Formatting E-mail using AutoFormat

If you copy the text of an e-mail message to a Word document, you may notice that the formatting of the text leaves a lot ...

Discover More

Turning Off Smart Quotes for Specific Styles

Smart quotes can be helpful in making a great-looking document, but at times they can be a real pain. Wouldn't it be ...

Discover More

Breaking Lines in E-mail

If you are creating an e-mail in Word or are creating text that you will paste into an e-mail document, you may want to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.