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How to create a fillable form in Word

In Microsoft Word 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019, you can create a fillable form with lines. You can make the form look professional and use it digitally or print it out. This article will guide you on how to make a fillable form in Microsoft Word using text fields, checkboxes, date pickers, and drop-down lists. In the end, we will also show you how to restrict the form in Word so that nobody can edit the questions or the form’s layout.

Add the developer tab in the ribbon

Before we start, we need to add a new tab in the ribbon. It is easy to do in a few steps.

  • Right-click on the ribbon
  • Select > Customize the Ribbon
customize the ribbon

It opens up the Word Options dialog box.

  1. In the left pane > Customize Ribbon
  2. On the right side, go to > Customize the Ribbon > Select Main Tabs from the drop-down list
    • Under here, you can see the entire list of all the tabs, where almost all tabs are selected.
  3. Click in the check box in front of Developer > it changes to blue with a check mark
  4. Click OK

You will see a new tab Developer appear in your ribbon in Word, which you will use to make a fillable form.

add the developer tab to create a fillable form in Word

Create a fillable form in Word with text boxes

First, we recommend having content in your Word document, which you can change into a form. You can still follow the steps even if you don’t have a text written. It is easier to insert a table in your Word document, to make the form look structured. You can create a fillable form in Microsoft Word 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 with lines.

There are two different text boxes you can insert into your fillable form in Word. The plain and rich text content controls are similar, but there is a slight difference. You can customize more in the rich text content control. In plain text, you can only add one style attribute, which must be the same for the entire text.

Insert plain text content control

In a plain text field, you can type in standard text. However, there are not many options to change the text. So if you want to insert a simple text field, then you should choose this option.

Follow the steps to insert the plain text field in Word:

  1. Place your cursor where you want to see the text field to appear
  2. Click on the Developer tab in the ribbon
  3. Go to the group Controls > Click on the icon Plain Text Content Control

Look at the picture below to understand which buttons to use.

how to create a fillable form in Word

You will automatically see a text field in your Word document; Click or tap here to enter text.

Now you can leave it as the default version. Or you can change the design or color by going into Properties.

  • First, you need to click on the plain text field
  • Go to the Control group in the ribbon > Click on the icon Properties
Plain text to create a fillable form in Word

The Content Control Properties dialog box opens. As optional, you can make changes to make it look different. Modify the title, style, and color, and click OK. You can leave it as the default and click Cancel if you decide not to make modifications.

Insert rich text content control

There is a slight difference between plain and rich text content control. When you enter your text, you have more customization regarding the color or font. You can color each letter differently, whereas, in plain text, you can only use one color for the entire text. In the rich text content control, you can highlight each letter in a different color, whereas plain text only allows you to highlight the entire text in the same color.

Follow the steps to insert a rich text field in Word:

  1. Place your cursor where you want the field to appear
  2. Click on the Developer tab in the ribbon
  3. Go to the group Controls > Click on the icon Rich Text Content Control
Insert rich text field to make a fillable form with lines in Microsoft Word

It will automatically insert the rich text field into your fillable form in Word; Click or tap here to enter text. It is more likely that you will make changes to the rich text content control field. However, you can also leave it as the default.

Steps to modify the rich text content control:

  • Click on the rich text field
  • Go to the Control group in the ribbon > Click on the icon Properties
  • Now the Content Control Properties dialog box opens

In the Content Control Properties dialog box, you can type in a title/tag, choose a different color or change the style of the box. Of course, you can always return to properties and modify them if they do not suit the form. Therefore you should create a fillable form in Word 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 with lines by inserting a table.

Content Control Properties

How to insert a checkbox to create a fillable form in Word

A checkbox is one of the most common tools in a fillable form because it is easy to use for the recipient. Also, you are in charge of the different answers. Therefore, adding a checkbox to your fillable form is very easy.

Steps to insert a checkbox content control in a Word document:

  1. Place your cursor in front of your text
  2. Then go to the Developer tab
  3. In the Controls group > Click on the icon Check Box

As in the picture below, it will immediately insert a checkbox in front of your option. Now insert a checkbox for the rest of your options by going to the same three steps.

How to insert a check box in a fillable form in Microsoft Word

If you don’t like the style of your checkbox, then you can change it in properties. You can also change the properties of the checkboxes inserted into the form.

How to change the check marks symbol:

  1. First, click on the check box you inserted
  2. Click on the Developer tab
  3. Go to the Control group in the ribbon > Click on the icon Properties
  4. The Content Control Properties dialog box opens
  5. Below you can see > Check Box Properties

Here you can change the style of your checkbox or check marks. Once you have made your symbol changes, you can click OK.

check box or check marks in fillable form

Fillable form in Word with drop-down lists

There are two different options you can make in your fillable form in Microsoft Word. You can insert a combo box or a drop-down list content control. There is a slight difference because the Combo Box allows typing another option than the ones made in the selection.

How to insert a combo box content control

The combo box content control will not limit your answers, allowing people to type in their options. So people can select one of your selections or type another text.

Steps to insert a combo box content control:

  • Place your cursor at the place you want it to appear
  • Then go to the Developer tab
  • In the Controls group > Click on the icon Combo Box
combo box fillable form in microsoft word

You will automatically see the field on your form; Choose an item. However, if you click on the arrow, there is nothing to select. Now, you need to make changes and type in your options.

Combo box fillable form in Microsoft Word

Like we did before, you want to go to Developer > Properties in the ribbon to make changes.

Then go to the bottom of the Content Control Properties dialog box. Here you can define what you want to insert in the drop-down list. So type in the item by clicking on Add on the right.

  1. Click Add
  2. Add Choice dialog box opens up > Type in your Display Name
    • It will automatically type the same text in Value
  3. Click OK

Do this for the rest of the items in your selection by repeating the above three steps.

drop down list properties fillable form in MS word

You can also remove an item. On the right side, under Add, you can remove, modify or move the item.

  1. Click on the item > it turns blue
  2. Click on one of the options on the right side
  3. Once you have made changes > Click OK
drop down list properties fillable form in MS word

Now you can see all the options appear in the drop-down list item. Now the people can choose one of the options in the selection or type in another text. This opportunity gives people more choice, and you can benefit from the different answers.

combo drop down list selection in fillable form in Word

Insert a drop-down list content control

The drop-down list is more limited as you can only choose from the options given in the selection. It is ideal if you don’t want to get answers other than the choices you presented, something like a yes or no question.

Follow the step to insert a drop-down list:

  • Place your cursor at the place you want it to appear
  • Then go to the Developer tab
  • In the Controls group > Click on the icon Drop-Down List

It automatically inserts a field; Choose an item.

Insert drop down list in fillable form in Word

Once again, we need to go to Developer > Properties in the ribbon to define which options you want to include.

When the Content Control Properties dialog box opens, you must go to the bottom. Here you can define what you want to insert in the drop-down list.

In the drop-down list of properties:

  • Click Add
  • Type in your Display Name
    • The same text in Display Name and Value
  • Once you have made changes > Click OK

Repeat these steps for the rest of your items.

insert a new choice in your drop down list

In the drop-down list properties, you can also remove an item. On the right side, under Add, you can Modify, Remove or Move the item.

  • Click on the item > it turns blue
  • Click on one of the options on the right side
  • Once you have made changes > Click OK
remove modify or move a drop down list item properties

You can click on the arrow to see all the items you added. Unlike the combo box content control, people cannot type something else. So here you are, locked to these answers.

drop down list fillable form in Word

Insert a date picker in Word to make a fillable form

This option makes it easier for people to enter a specific date. Follow the steps to insert a date picker in Microsoft Word 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 to create a fillable form.

  1. Place your cursor at the place you want the item
  2. Then go to the Developer tab
  3. In the Controls group > Click on the icon Date Picker
Insert date picker to your fillable form in Word

It inserts a date picker field; Click or tap to enter a date. Then, when you click on the drop-down arrow, you see a calendar appear. You can leave it as the default, but if you wish to make changes, you must go to Properties.

Steps to change the display of the date picker:

  1. First, click on the date picker
  2. Click on the Developer tab
  3. Go to the Control group in the ribbon > Click on the icon Properties

The Content Control Properties dialog box opens up.

date picker fillable form

Down below in Date Picker Properties, you can define the display of the date, calendar type, and more. Click OK once you have made your changes.

change date picker properties fillable form

Design mode

You can change the design of your complete fillable form in two steps.

  1. Click on any field you inserted in your form
  2. Go to the Developer tab > In the Controls group ribbon > Click on Design Mode

It changes the style of the complete fillable form, as shown in the picture below. It looks as if you can create a fillable form in Microsoft Word with lines.

change design mode fillable form in Word

Restrict editing

The last step is to lock all the changes you have made. This way, no one can change the title, questions, or layout of the fillable form. Please remember to restrict the editing of your fillable form. This option limits how much others can edit and format the fillable Word document. You can prevent formatting changes, force all changes to be tracked or allow only commenting.

Follow these steps to restrict editing in Word:

  1. Go to the Developer tab in your ribbon
  2. In the group Protect > Click on Restrict Editing
    • It opens up a pane on the right side.
    • Go to number 2. Editing restrictions
  3. Check mark this box > Allows only this type of editing in the document
  4. Then click on the drop-down arrow > Select Filling in Forms

This option means that people can only fill in the form, and they won’t be able to edit anything else.

Once people fill out the form, they can save it and send it back or print it out.

Restrict editing in MS Word

Conclusion

It is possible to create or make a fillable form in Microsoft Word 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019. You have learned the steps to create a fillable form in Word with lines. First, you need to add the Developer tab to the ribbon. Then you can easily insert a check box, drop-down list, date picker, or text box to make a fillable form in Word. Lastly, you should remember to restrict editing of the form so no one can change your questions or layout.

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