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: Stopping Enter from being Pressed In a Form.

Stopping Enter from being Pressed In a Form

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 7, 2017)

Amy created an electronic form, based on a table format so the entries are aligned. She included form fields in both text and number format, adding a maximum field length for each field. This prevents the person filling out the form from entering text beyond the maximum. However, the person can still press Enter and add blank lines to the form and cause it to be "distorted." Amy wonders how shc can prevent users from pressing Enter and messing up the layout of her forms.

It is possible to disable the Enter key, but doing so disables it for the entire document, not just for the form. Also, the key would need to be disabled by using a macro. If the user disables macros by default (due to security settings or by explicitly disabling them when opening the document), then the Enter key would not be disabled. Because of these drawbacks, disabling the Enter key may not be the best way to approach this problem.

A better approach would be to modify how you set up your table; the one that contains your form fields. Follow these general steps:

  1. Unprotect your form.
  2. Select the table that contains your form fields.
  3. Right-click the selected table and choose Properties from the Context menu. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box.
  4. Display the Table tab. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Table tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Automatically Resize to Fit Contents check box is cleared.
  7. Display the Row tab. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Row tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  9. Make sure the Specify Height check box is selected and specify an exact height for your rows.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Protect your form.

These steps won't stop someone from pressing Enter, but it will stop it from messing up your table format if they do press Enter. And, since the user won't be able to see what they type after pressing Enter, they'll quickly get the idea that they should not press the key.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9441) 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: Stopping Enter from being Pressed In 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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