From filling out a customer satisfaction survey at a grocery store checkout to signing up for an online newsletter or downloading a free resource from a website, forms are everywhere.
Many businesses use forms to collect all types of data. From gathering leads to completing surveys to seeking customer feedback, using forms is a no-brainer.
As a small business owner or service provider, you may need to create fillable forms in Word for your clients. By letting automated forms do the work, teams get more work done.
If you're wondering how to create a fillable form in Word, you're in the right place! In this article, we will share the step-by-step process and useful tips for creating a fillable form in Word.
What is a fillable form?
A fillable form is an online interactive file used to collect all kinds of data.
Companies use a fillable form in Word to gather important data from different stakeholders — employees, customers, vendors, and prospects. Automated forms are a great way to work faster, deliver a user-friendly experience, boost communication, and increase process efficiency.
Use a fillable form in Word to:
- Get new customer registrations
- Boost online sign-ups
- Obtain customer feedback
- Gain insights from customer satisfaction surveys
- Complete hotel bookings
- Request customer service information
- Order products online
- Schedule business appointments
- Automate purchase orders
- Collect medical history from patients
- Arrange doctor or other service provider appointments
- Increase conference or event registrations
- Register for professional or academic courses or programs
- Sign up for newsletters
Creating fillable forms in Word
You can create forms in Word based on the information, scale, and purpose of the specific client requirements and your technical proficiency. There are two different options for creating fillable forms in Word.
In the field-based forms method, text boxes are used to collect text-only information with customized fields. Though this is a decent option for filling out forms quickly, users may require training to clearly understand the fields and information that needs to go in them.
For example, agency client intake forms can be created using this method, which may have customized fields for a project or client.
The other option is to use the Developer tab controls in Microsoft Word.
Developer tab controls in Microsoft Word
Using developer tools is a handy way to create customized forms with drop-down checkboxes.
It’s a great fit if you send individual forms to every user and prefer not to provide instructions on how to fill them in. An example is using forms to organize clients' legal information for a lawyer's office appointments, where checkboxes and drop-down menus may be essential.
How to format a checkbox in Word
Once the Developer tab is on the ribbon, click on the “Checkbox content control” button. Then, place the cursor where you need to insert a check box.
To make the checkbox interactive, click on it to mark it with an “X.” Now the form can be moved around, and its format can be changed as desired.
Open Word and add the Developer tab
To enable the Word Developer tab, go to the “File” drop-down menu and click on “Options.” Next, go to the customize ribbon tab and choose the “Main tabs” option. Finally, tick the "Developer" check box and then "OK."
Organize and segment your content
Organize the form content using the “Design Mode” functionality. First, choose the "Developer" tab, then click "Design Mode." Next, add the controls you want to segment and streamline the content in the form.
Additionally, you can add controls for text, a combo or a checkbox, a date picker, or a drop-down list.
When determining the form structure, you can also add tables. Laying out information in a table makes it more organized and aligned. Each cell in the table will be a field in the form.
Set content controls
Add appropriate content controls based on client requirements from the project. The Developer tab contains buttons for creating a check box, text box, and combo box.
- Content controls for text boxes: Text boxes are perfect for a wide range of responses, such as capturing names, addresses, or emails. Need to add a date? Use the date picker content control and tailor it to your requirements.
- Content controls for checkboxes: If the form has questions requiring yes/no answers or multiple choice, use the checkboxes content controls. For example, the checkbox can be ticked before sending if required, and the formatting can also be changed.
- Content controls for combo boxes: With combo boxes, form users can choose only one from all the available options.
Drop-down menu items can be added, and individual items can be modified. Feel free to add items, reorder them or delete the redundant ones.
Here's how you can add a drop-down menu — go to the Developer tab and click on the “Combo box.” Choose the “Options” button to open the “Drop down form field” menu. Type the option you want and click on “+.” Keep adding the ones you want, and click “OK” once you're all done.
Adjust formatting as needed
If you wish to change or standardize the formatting, click on ”Properties” then “Content control properties.” Make any form modifications you need, such as changing fonts, design, colors, or page borders.
Want to modify the line height? Highlight the table and choose the “Layout” option. Click on the up arrow to increase it and the down arrow to decrease it. The “Layout” area also provides commands for aligning text within the form — left, center, right, or justified.
Protect your form and save it as a template
Protect your form from unauthorized use by choosing the “Restrict editing” option. Open the form and click on “Home.” Choose the “Select all” option, pick “Developer,” and tick “Restrict editing.”
Challenges of creating fillable forms in Word
Creating fillable forms in Word may sound easy and convenient. However, issues begin creeping up once you finalize and share them with the intended users.
Lack of accessibility
No matter how you create fillable forms in Word, they remain inaccessible and unaccommodating for users using assistive technologies.
According to the WHO-UNICEF Global Report on Assistive Technology (AT), over 2.5 billion users worldwide use one or more assistive products. So if you have a client company serving this market, ignoring this functionality isn’t an option.
Level of customization
The built-in form customization abilities in Word can feel limited, while the clunky interface can require a long learning curve.
Wrike’s custom request forms offer a simple and intuitive interface that lets you create the forms you need faster. Customize them by adding various elements such as dropdowns, checkboxes, longer paragraphs, priority levels, dates, and short answers.
Not every client is the same. Their form requirements also differ in scope, complexity, and level of customization.
Creating fillable forms in Word for different clients can mean starting from scratch, which can take additional work hours for your team. Save time on reproducing regular tasks by combining Wrike’s custom request forms with Blueprints.
Blueprints give you templates for common work items that can help standardize deliverables faster and more consistently.
Organizations often use forms as part of their business workflow. For example, when fillable forms are used for gathering new customer leads, the next step can have the sales rep reaching out to the prospective customer.
Setting up automation within Microsoft Word is possible but can take a long time to learn and apply. Teams may also be using project management software already. Setting up workflows within their word processing software may result in teams losing 20% of their overall productivity due to context switching.
What if you could enable workflow automation inside a versatile project management software solution? Wrike lets you do that easily. Teams can create unique prioritization rules, automatically assign forms to the right owner, and notify them once the users fill out the information.
Wrike can make creating forms easier
Simplify your business by utilizing Wrike’s dynamic request forms to drive efficiency, increase team productivity, and boost client success for your professional service business.
Whether you’re automating client leads, designing a customer satisfaction survey, or increasing newsletter sign-ups, Wrike lets you get work done faster with helpful features:
- Add contextually relevant fields with the intuitive form builder to capture the correct information from the get-go
- Share forms with external clients and collaborators
- Automatically assign requests to the correct person or team
- Streamline processes with pre-made templates for change requests and creative briefs
Start a free Wrike trial today to advance communication, accelerate results, and delight your clients consistently.