I was creating a Word document template for my team to use, and I wanted to include a reference number in the header to make it appear on each page. I initially created a field for the user to click and enter the value. The problem with using a simple entry field and sticking it in the header is that it’s grayed-out and easily forgotten.
So, instead of using a textbox field, I decided to prompt the user for the value by using a fill-in field. It’s an easy thing to do, and users of the template will never forget to enter the value. (Of course, they might choose to ignore the prompt, but that’s a different problem!)
To create a fill-in field in Word 2013, do the following:
- Put your cursor in the document where you want the field to appear
- In the INSERT bar in the ribbon, choose Quick Parts > Field…
- In the Field dialog, choose Fill-In as the field name, enter the prompt text, and click OK
- Be sure to save your document as a Word Template
That’s all there is to it. When you create a new document from the template, you’ll be prompted, and the value will be filled in.
One of my pet peeves is when people create and distribute MS Word forms that don’t use controls for the fields. It’s a very easy thing to do, and everybody will be happier to use your form. What makes that form even nicer, though? Changing the default text of your field controls to be friendly and more indicative of what information is being requested.
This is a relatively simple task, accomplished in just 4 very easy steps:
- On the Developer tab in the ribbon, enable Design Mode by clicking the toggle button
- Select all the text between the prompt tags; be sure to select the text while in design mode, otherwise you may change the font/color of your text to something other than the prompt default
- Type the desired prompt text
- Disable Design Mode by clicking the toggle button
Use this tip to instantly improve that quality of any Word document form. Share it with your co-workers; they’ll be impressed!
Credit: this is the post where I picked up this little nugget of information.