The Wrong Way to Create Microsoft Word Forms

Sometimes you need to create a form with Microsoft Word that you want someone else to fill out. So you create a beautiful form like Figure 1 below, only to have the it come back looking like Figure 2 or worse like Figure 3. In this blog post we will review how to create a user form that when filled out looks like Figure 4.


Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Don’t use spaces, tabs and underscores!

The wrong way to create a form is to use spaces, tabs and underscores. Although you can use these keys to create something like Figure 1; the fact is, each one will take up unwanted space when the user fills in their name and date, thus giving you results like Figure 2 or Figure 3.

Use tables

The key is to use word’s table feature to create a form with three columns and two rows as shown in Figure 5. Why three columns? One for the name, one for the date, and one to provide space between them.

Figure 5

Step-by-step Instructions

Use these instructions to create your form using Word 2007 and Word 2010.

  1. Start Microsoft Word 2007/2010.
  2. Open or create your document.
  3. Position the cursor where you want the form to go.
  4. Draw the table.
    1. From the ribbon choose Insert, Table.
    2. In the grid click on the 3rd column 2nd row as shown in Figure 6.

      Figure 6

  5. View the gridlines and hide the borders
    1. From the ribbon choose Table Tools, Layout, View Gridlines

      Figure 7

    2. Select the whole table.

      Either click the select table icon as shown in Figure 8 or from the ribbon choose Table Tools, Layout, Select, Select Table as shown in Figure 9.

      Figure 8

      Figure 9

    3. Turn off the border by choosing Table Tools, Design, Borders, No Border.

      Figure 10

      Your table should now be similar to Figure 11.

      Figure 11

  6. Increase the width of the first and third column and shrink the width of the second.

    Either position the cursor on the border line, as shown in Figure 12, and drag to the left (to decrease) or to the right (to increase)

    Figure 12

    or use the Table Column Width setting on the Table Tools, Layout tab as shown in Figure 13.

    Figure 13

  7. Type your labels in the appropriate cells of the second row as shown in Figure 14.

    Figure 14

  8. Add a bottom border to the first and third cell of the top row.
    1. Position the cursor in the first cell.
    2. From the ribbon choose Table Tools, Design, Borders, Bottom Border as shown in Figure 15.
    3. Repeat the process for the third cell.

      Figure 15

      Figure 16

  9. Optional: Turn off the gridlines by choosing Table Tools, Layout, View Gridlines.

    Figure 17

  10. Save your work and send it to your recipients. When they get it, they will be able to click in the cells above your labels and enter their information without messing up your form.


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