Word Forms: How to insert custom fillable forms in Office 2019 / 2016?

Last updated: May 2020.

Here’s a question from our reader, Lila:

I usually prefer working with Microsoft Word when creating any important documents. But now I am in need to create a simple form to capture some colleague feedback on an initiative i am leading at work. Can you tell how to create basic fillable forms in Word?

Thanks for your question. Read on for all the details -:)

Word fillable forms

Follow the process below to quickly create a Word form:

  1. Open your Microsoft Word document.
  2. Make sure that your Developer tab is enabled.
  3. In the Developer tab we can find the controls that are needed to create a form.
  4. The Design mode helps us to edit the type of controls properties and to assign a name to the control.

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Note: If you are an Outlook user, you might want to take a close look into our detailed Outlook forms tutorial and our post on Outlook email and meeting templates

Office form Controls

Before we go ahead and customize the form, let’s discuss the types of controls and how to add them to the document so you can quickly build your custom userf orm.

Rich text content control/Plain text content control:

Rich and plain text content control are used for the text formatting like font name, size, bold, italics. Rich text can be used where multiple paragraphs can be typed. If we are in need to limit the texts from users we can use Plain text content control.

  1. Click the place where the control needs to be inserted.
  2. Then click Developer tab and select Rich or Plain text content control.

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Picture content control:

If we want the application to add a picture of the user this picture content control can be used.

  1. Click the place where the control needs to be inserted.
  2. Then click Developer tab and select Picture content control.

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Building block gallery content control:

If we want the user to know that specific set of topics belongs to the same block, they can be assigned to the building block gallery content control. Select all the text items and click on the building block content to work.

  1. Click the place where the control needs to be inserted.
  2. Then  select Building block gallery.

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Check box content control:

  1. It is used for as a check box content.
  2. Click the place where the control needs to be inserted.
  3. Then select Building block gallery.

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Combo boxes:

The combo box or a drop-down list are used when we want user to select the information that are provided in the list of our choice.

  1. Click the place where the control needs to be inserted.
  2. Then select combo box or drop-down list.
  3. Then right click on the box and select Properties.
  4. In the drop-down list properties, click Add and enter the display name.

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Date picker content control:

Use the date picker to let allow the user to select data values.

  1. Click the place where the control needs to be inserted.
  2. Then select Date picker.
  3. If needed select the properties to change the format of the date.

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Word Forms Example

Now let’s put our knowledge to practice.

  1. First off, let’s go ahead and open a new Word document.
  2. Next, Save it to your Hard Drive.
  3. Now let’s start working on the form itself.
  4. Go ahead an type your form fields title and label as shown below:

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  1. Next, add the form controls.
  2. Add a Rich text control for Name and Hobbies.

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  1. Add a Date Picker control for DOB.

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  1. Add a Combo box control for Favorite color, added with some colors.

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  1. Interested works will be added with check boxes.

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  1. Lastly, add a submit button to the bottom of the form so the user will be able to email the form once it’s filled.

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  1. Now, make a Right click, then select Properties and change the name of the button.

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  1. In your button’s Caption field, write Submit.
  2. Double click the Submit button to write a short VBA snippet that will send your filled form by email. Here’s the very simple code:

[code]Options.SendMailAttach = True

  1. At this point your might want to save your form as a template, as shown before.
  2. After hitting Submit your form will be attached to a new Outlook message and ready to be sent to your recipient of choice.

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Voil’a your all set 🙂

Word form templates

If you want to jump start your form development process, you can use a canned template delivered by Microsoft Word (or Excel). This is helpful, as it will save you the work associated with making a form from scratch.
Kindly proceed as following:

Windows Users:

  1. Open Word (or Excel).
  2. Hit New.
  3. In the template search box and type “form”, then hit the magnifying glass icon. Microsoft ships several useful online form templates including:  travel expense, meeting summary, cash donations, membership, job description,  field trip, food sign up reports and more; which you can use in Excel or Word.
  4. Look into the available templates, once found double click your chosen form template
  5. Customize your template according to your needs and save it on your computer or OneDrive.

macOS Users:

1.    Open Word (or Excel) for mac.
2.    Hit File and then New File from template.
3.    Search for the available template using the right hand side search box.
4.    Double click the template.
5.    Customize the layout and Save.

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