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How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

While there are lots of options for creating fillable forms, many people have access to #MSWord and with the tutorials on my Creating Fillable Forms playlist on YouTube, you can learn how easy it is to create fillable electronic forms using Word.

In the first video of this series, we look at how to create forms using Legacy Tools including plain text form fields, check boxes and drop-down lists. The first thing users need to do is enable the Developer Tab in Word so they can easily access these form fields.

Here are links to two quick tutorials from my channel that will show you step-by-step how to enable your Developer Tab in Word or Word for Mac:

Enable the Developer Tab in Word:
Enable the Developer Tab in Word for Mac:

In the second video of the Creating Fillable Forms playlist, we look at how to create forms using Content Control form fields. The series goes on to show you how to repeat form fields in your document, insert form submit command buttons, and even create multiple levels of dependent drop-downs. Here is a link to the playlist:

To get started, be sure and watch this video:

Then watch Part 2 of Creating Fillable Forms to see how to use Content Control form fields:

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KEYWORDS: #MSWord, microsoft word tutorial, create fillable forms, fillable forms in word, microsoft word legacy tools, microsoft word legacy form fields, stop protection in word, legacy tools, legacy tools form fields, text form field, checkbox form field, drop-down form field, Sharon Smith HR, @SharonSmithHR

To create a form in Word that others can fill out, start with a template or document and add content controls.
Start with a form template

  1. Go to File > New.
  2. Enter Forms or the desired form type in the search box for online templates and hit Enter.
  3. Select Create or Download after selecting a form template.

How do I turn a Word document into a fillable form?

Creating Fillable Forms Using Microsoft Word

  1. Enable Developer Tab. Open Microsoft Word, then go to the File Tab > Options > Customize Ribbon > check the Developer Tab in the right column > Click OK.
  2. Add a control.
  3. Change Filler Text.
  4. Press the Design Mode button once more to leave it.
  5. Create your own content controls.

How do I restrict editing in Microsoft forms?

Lock/Unlock a form

  1. Step 1: Right-click on any of the ribbon commands, such as Home, and then select Customize the Ribbon to display the Developer tab and launch the Customize the Ribbon dialog.
  2. Where is the Restrict Editing command on the Developer tab? Step 2: Lock or unlock the form.

How do I make a PDF editable?
How to edit PDF files with Acrobat.

  1. Launch Acrobat Pro and open your PDF file.
  2. In the right-hand panel, select the Edit PDF tool.
  3. Using options from the Format drop-down list, use editing tools to change fonts, edit text, or add new text.
  4. Utilizing the tools in the Objects list, images can be moved, added, replaced, or resized.

Create a fillable PDF in Word with these steps.

  1. Within the Word program, select File > New Document.
  2. Create the form and type in all the required information.
  3. Save as PDF. Once you’re happy with your Word document, you’ll need to save it as a PDF.
  4. Launch Acrobat Reader to view a PDF.
  5. Get the form ready.
  6. Publish your form.

How do I make a Word document read only?
Make an opening Word document read only by Save as Tools

  1. Click File > Save As > Browse.
  2. In the Save As dialog box, please click Tools > General Options.
  3. Please select the Read-only recommended option in the upcoming General Options dialog box before clicking the OK button.

Fillable fields are sections in a document containing blank spaces that must be filled. A good example of a fillable document is a form. Adobe and PDF documents are known for their ability to hold fillable fields. However, MS word has proved to be a powerful tool for creating fillable fields. In this article, we shall discuss common ways of creating fillable fields in Ms. Word.

Steps to add Fillable Fields

Table of Contents

1 . To get started, locate the Word application on your Pc. Double-click on it to open the application. To create a new document, click the File button on the toolbar. Then, locate the New button.

You can also use the keyboard shortcuts to open a new document. That is, CTRL + N.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

2. Enable the Developer tab.

Click on the File tab.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

Click on the Options button at the far bottom side of the screen.

Choose the Customize Ribbon button from the Word Options dialogue box to open the customized ribbon pane.

Locate the Developer button in the main Main tab-pane. Check the checkbox in the developer section.

Finally, hit the Ok button.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

3. Insert a control.

Click on the document where you want to add the fillable fields.

Then, locate the Developer tab on the toolbar. Navigate to the Controls section.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

Choose one control you want to use in your document. For example, check in the snap below.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

4. Editing the Fillable fields added

To edit the fields added, locate the Developer tab on the toolbar. Navigate to the Controls section.

Click on the Design Mode, and then edit the selected fields.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

5. Customizing the controls

Here are the steps to do so:

Locate the Developer tab on the toolbar. Navigate to the Controls section.

Click on the Properties button to open the Content Control properties dialogue box.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

Use the tools in this box to customize your fillable form.

Restricting Editing of the form

Here are the steps to follow to restrict the Editing of the controls:

1. Locate the Developer tab on the toolbar. Then, Navigate to the Protect section (Found on the right side of the toolbar).

2. Click the Protect Editing button to open the Protect editing pane on the screen’s right-hand side.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

3. To restrict formatting, check the checkbox next to the “Limit formatting to a selection of styles” section.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

4. To choose the type of Editing, check the checkbox in the editing restriction section, and then choose the mode of Editing from the drop-down menu.

How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

5. Choose who can edit the document in the Exceptions section.

6. Click on the Start enforcement section to add the password.

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Ever wanted to create fillable forms but don’t want to shell out money for an expensive PDF editor, like Adobe? Already own Microsoft Word? Then you are in the right place because this guide will teach you how to create fillable forms using Microsoft Word. Read on to learn more.


I have created this tutorial using Microsoft Office Word 2010 in Windows XP Professional 32 bit. This tutorial should work in a similar way for MS Word 2003/2007/2013 on Windows Vista, 7, and 8; I have never tried it though.


To create fillable forms, do the following:

  • Click the Developer tab in the far right side of the Word ribbon. If it is not displayed, click the File tab, click Options, and go to Customize Ribbon in the new window that comes up. In the right column list, make sure the Developer option is checked, and click OK.
  • It is good to bring together form elements using tables. Go to Insert tab, choose Table >Insert Table… (alternatively, rollover the dimension of your table size); in this example, I will be using 2 columns and 4 rows. You can click-n-drag any of the table lines to resize the table, rows, or columns.
  • In the left column, we can type in the data fields we would like to collect, viz., “Name”, “Date”, “I already have a smartphone”, “Favorite manufacturer”.
  • Before adding any form elements, you need to click Design Mode in the Controls group in the Developer tab to activate it.
  • With the cursor in the right column next to “Name”, we will add a text control. For most forms, we want to click the Plain Text Content Control (looks like a black-n-white “Aa”). By default, the text control includes a “Click here to enter text” message intended for those filling out your form. For now, let’s leave that text alone. You can edit/remove it as long as you are in the Design Mode.
  • Although not critical, a good idea is to identify the purpose of each of the form elements. To accomplish this, you need to fully select your form element. To make sure the entire element is selected, click the blue tab at the left end of the element. Now, click the Properties button in the Controls group. In the dialog box that appears give this form a “Title” field like “Name”, and click OK. The title will be displayed next to the control to provide a visual clue of what the control is about.
  • With the cursor in the right column next to “Date”, we will add a date control. Now, click the Date Picker Content Control (looks like a calendar icon). With the control visible and still selected (you now know how to select the entire element), click Properties, enter “Date” in the “Title” field, and click OK.
  • With the cursor in the right column next to “I already have a smartphone”, we will add 2 check boxes for a Yes/No option. Now, click the Check Box Content Control (looks like that only). Just as before, select each form element, click Properties, and provide a title for each box. Next to each form element we will also add a corresponding “Yes” or “No” for each check box.
  • With the cursor in the right column next to “Favorite manufacturer”, we will add a dropdown box. Now, click the Drop-Down List Content Control (looks like that only). With the control selected, click Properties. Provide a “Title” for this control like “Manufacturer”. In the bottom right, click Add. In the “Add Choice” dialog box, provide a “Display Name” like “Samsung”. A “Value” of “Samsung” is automatically entered. When creating these dropdown items sometimes the display name is long for the user to understand while the value is brief for information to be later saved to a database. (e.g., Display Name: California; Value: CA). Consider providing an abbreviated value as appropriate. Continue to add manufacturer options as you require. You can also Move Up or Move Down the items. Click OK.
  • With all of the form fields created, turn off the Design Mode by clicking the button. You will now notice the blue brackets around the form elements disappear.

Design Mode ON

Design Mode OFF

  • The final step is to make this document secure so that the users can only edit the form fields. Click the Restrict Editing in the Protect group of the Developer tab. In this case, we want to select the 2 nd option “Editing restrictions”, so check the box to “Allow only this type of editing in the document”. Once checked, in the dropdown list, select “Filling in forms”. Finally, click at the bottom “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” (if this button is greyed out it means you are still in Design Mode, you must turn it off by clicking). You are then prompted to supply a password to protect this document. It is recommended that you save a separate version of the document “without any protection” before you protect the document with a password. Else, without the password you will not be able to make changes to your document again! Once secure, save the document.
  • Done!


Your document must be distributed as a Word document to retain it as a fillable form. Ideally, these forms will be filled in, saved and emailed back to you. Saving the form as a PDF will negate any interactive form functionality. If a user would like to print out the form, and fill it in by hand, then your form items may be a problem. For instance, dropdown options will not display when printed out, or “Click here to enter text” will be included in the printout (you can remove this text as you need it, but to do that you must enter the Design Mode).

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Sometimes we need to make a questionnaire to collect information. In order to protect the format and contents of the questionnaires, we can use Form Field .

1. Open your word document and click the position where you want to insert a form field. Then click the Insert tab → the Forms drop down button.

2. There are three types of form fields for choice: Text Form Field , Check Box Form Field and Drop-Down Form Field .

3. Here we take Text Form Field as an example.

Select Text Form Field . Then double click it to pop up an options dialog, where we can set the text Type , Default text and Maximum length , etc.

When we have finished, click OK .

4. Then we select Protect Form , and the text outside the form field will be not editable.

Three types of Form Fields are used in different ways:

Text Form Field : To input text in the form field, including words, numbers, symbols and so on. For example, name, major and school, etc.

Check Box Form Field : To check or uncheck to indicate Yes or No. For example, participate or not.

Drop-Down Form Field : To select from the drop-down menu only. For example, female, grade and age, etc.

We can select any of them according to actual needs.

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How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word
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How To Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

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