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Creating forms with Microsoft Word is easy, but the challenge comes in when you decide to create fillable forms with options that you can send to people and have them fill out digitally. Whether you need a form for gathering information about people or if you are trying to take a survey to test out user response to software or a new product, Word has the solution for you.

Update, 6/30/22: The screenshots in this tutorial are from Word 2010 but this should work the same in Word 2019.

To Template, or Not to Template?

There are two main options to get started with your form creation. Option one is easy to use if you can find a template that suits your needs. To find templates, click on the File menu and select “New.” You will see many premade templates available for download. Simply click on “Forms” and look through the selection of templates to find one that suits your needs.

Forms templates in Word

For other versions of Word, select the File tab and click “More Templates” in the Home section. Enter “Forms” into the Search box and you’ll see a collection of forms you can use.

Form templates in Word

When you have found your template, just download it and edit the form as needed.

Create a Form From Scratch

Since that is the easy way and you may not be able to find a template that fits your needs, we will discuss the best way to create forms from scratch. Begin by creating a blank document.

Enable the Developer Tab

In order to create fillable forms, you will need to start by enabling the developer tab by clicking on the File drop-down menu and then choose “Options.” Open the Customize Ribbon tab and select the “Main Tabs” option under Customize the Ribbon.

Customize Ribbon, Main Tabs

Now you will need to select the Developer box and press “OK.”

Developer tab added

Once you have done this, you will notice that an additional menu has been added to the top of the screen with several new developer options.

Developer tab in Word

Populate the Form

Now that you have a blank document, you are ready to start adding information to the form. The form we will create in this example is a simple form to collect information about people who fill them out. First, you will need to enter the basic questions. For this tutorial, we will try to get the following information:

  1. Name (Plain Text Response)
  2. Age (Drop-Down List)
  3. D.O.B. (Date Response)
  4. Sex (Check Box)
  5. Zip Code (Plain Text Response)
  6. Phone Number (Plain Text Response)
  7. Favorite Primary Color and why: (Combo Box)
  8. Best Pizza Toppings (Check Box and Plain Text Response)
  9. What is your dream job and why? Limit your answer to 200 words (Rich Text Response)
  10. What type of vehicle do you drive? (Plain Text Response)

Click on the Developer tab which you added earlier and under the Controls section, choose “Design Mode” to begin creating different control options. If you want to see what it looks like in action, remember to deselect the Design Mode option.

Text Sections

For any answers that require a text-based answer, you can add text sections. You will do this by selecting the Rich Text Content Control (allows users to edit formatting) or the Plain Text Content Control (only allows plain text without formatting) option.

Let’s enable a rich text response for question 9, and then a plain text response for question 1, 5, 6, and 10.

Text sections in a Word form

Remember that you can edit the text in the content control boxes to match the questions by clicking in them and typing as seen in the image above.

Add a Date Selection Option

If you need to add dates, you can add the Date Picker Content Control.  Let’s use this and add it to question 3.

Date form control in Word

Insert a Drop-Down List with Options

For questions that only allow one answer such as numbers (question 2), a drop-down list is handy. We will add simple list and populate it with age ranges. You will need to add the content control box, right-click on it, and select the “Properties” option. Next, click on “Add” to add age ranges.

Drop-down list settings in Word

When you are done, it should look something like this (Design Mode Disabled).

Drop-down list of ages in Word

Alternatively, you can add the Combo Box Content Control, which will allow you to add any options you want, as well as allow users to enter additional text if needed. Let’s add a combo box to question 7. Since it is a combo box, users will be able to select an option and type why they like the color.

Combo box for colors in Word

Add Check Boxes

For the fourth question, we will add check box options. You will first enter your options (male and female). Now you can add the Check Box Content Control after each option.

Check box controls in a Word form

Repeat the process for any other questions that require one or more options. We will add check boxes to question 8 as well. We will also add a plain text response box for any toppings not listed.

Check boxes in a Word form

Wrapping Up

The completed blank form should look like the images below depending on whether you have design mode enabled or disabled.

Word form with Design Mode enabled
Design Mode Enabled
Word form with Design Mode disabled
Design Mode Disabled

Congratulations, you have just learned the basics of creating interactive forms. Feel free to download our completed sample form if needed. You can send the DOTX file to people and when they open it, it will automatically open up a normal Word document that they can fill out and send to you.

Profile Photo for Martin HendrikxMartin Hendrikx
Martin Hendrikx has been writing about technology for years. His freelance career includes everything from blog posts and news articles to eBooks and academic papers.
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Profile Photo for Sandy WrittenhouseSandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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