How to insert Text Fields, Check Boxes, Drop-Down Lists, Combobox, etc. in a Word document to create a Form


Word has this nice feature which enables insertion of text fields, check boxes, drop-down lists, etc. You can use these elements to create a form in Word.

These elements are available under the  tab menu Developer in the Word Ribbon. If you are unable to find this tab in the Ribbon, most likely you need to enable this using the Word Options dialog box.

To enable the Developer tab (Word 2007)

1.   Click the Office button Picture1. A drop-down list appears.

2.   Click the Word Options button from the bottom of the list. Word Options dialog box appears.

3.   On the dialog box, under the category Popular (see on the left hand side), select the option Developer tab in the Ribbon. Now, you can view the Developer tab in the Ribbon. See below  image.




To insert a legacy check box
1. Click the Developer tab.

2.  Under the group Controls, click the Legacy Tools button. A drop-down list of icons appears. See below image.

3.  Under the section Legacy Form, click the check box icon as shown in the below image. Word creates a check box at the cursor position. By       default, the checkbox is in design mode (you can see the Design Mode icon being enabled within the Controls group)


Note:  If you wish, you can remove the shading of the check box by clicking the Form Field Shading icon under Legacy Form.

4.  By the way, you cannot use the checkbox in design mode. To disable design mode, click the Design Mode icon within the Controls group.


Also, you should enforce protection to the document (or form) before you share it with others to capture information.

This step is applicable to all other controls as well.


To enforce protection
1.  Under the Developer tab, within the group Protect, click icon Protect Document. A drop-down list appears.

2.  From the drop-down menu, click Restrict Formatting and Editing. Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane appears on the right         hand side.

3.  From this dialog box, select option Allow only this type of editing in the document option. A drop-down is enabled. Select Filling in       forms option from the drop-down list. See below image.

4.  Click button Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box appears, which prompts you to enter a                 password.

5.  Enter a password and retype password. Your document is protected and the check box is now clickable.

Untitled 1

Important: Remember that you cannot edit a protected document. If you wish to make changes in the document, you have to remove protection by entering the valid password.


To stop protection

1.   Under the Developer tab, within the group Protect, click Protect Document. The Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane appears.

2.   From the bottom of the dialog box, click the button Stop Protection. Enter valid password to remove protection.


To insert a drop-down list
1.    Under the Developer tab, within the group Controls, click the Drop-Down List icon. A drop-down list appears in the document. See below image.


2.   You can see the Properties button being enabled within the Controls group. Click Properties. The Content Control Properties dialog box appears.

3.   In the dialog box, under section General, enter a Title of the drop-down list.

4.   Under section Drop-Down List Properties , click button Add to enter the display name and value for the first list item in the Add Choice dialog box and then click OK. Item is added to the list.

In the similar way, you can keep adding items to the list.

5.   Click the Modify/Remove button to edit/delete list items.

6.   Finally, click OK to close the Content Control Properties dialog box. You can view the drop-down list displays all the list items. See below image.


7.  Enforce protection to the document, so that list values cannot be modified.


To insert an ActiveX Control check box

1.   Click the Developer tab.
2.   Under the group Controls, click the Legacy Tools button.
3.   From category ActiveX Controls, click the check box icon. A check box is created at the insertion point. See below image.

You can notice that the Design Mode icon being enabled within the Controls group. This is important to edit the check box properties.

4.   Right-click the check box. From the right-click menu, click CheckBox Object and then click Edit. The check is in edit mode. You can enter        a name of the checkbox.
5.   From the right-click menu, click Properties to control properties of the check box.

6.  Click Design Mode to disable. The check box is now clickable.



Note: The difference between a legacy and ActiveX control check box is that, ActiveX checkbox provides advanced or extended features, i.e. you can write program for it in visual basic to make the check box behave in different ways.


Insert text fields

1.   Click the Developer tab.

2.   Under the group Controls,  click the icon Rich Text or Text. A text field is created in the document. See below image.

3.   You can change the default text appearing in the text box by enabling the Design Mode button in the Control Group.



Insert a Combobox

  1. Under the Developer tab, within the group Controls, click the Combobox icon Untitled. A combobox is created at the cursor position.
  2. Select the combobox and then click Properties (available within the group Controls. The Content Control Properties dialog box appears.
  3. In the dialog box, under the section General, enter a Title of the combobox.
  4. In the dialog box, under the section Drop-down List Properties, click the Add button. Add Choice dialog box appears.
  5. Enter a display name and value for the first list item. Click OK.
  6. Click Add again to enter a second list item. Click OK. You can keep adding as many item as you need.
  7. Finally, click OK.

The combobox list is populated with the list items. Remember, the combobox should not be in Design Mode to view the list of items. You can find the Design Mode icon within the group Controls . See below image.




Also See:






How to control formatting while copying content from a source to a Word Document

When you copy content from a source file (like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, webpage, etc.) to a Word document, Word displays the Paste Options icon immediately at the end of the pasted content. See below.


If you click the Paste Options icon, a small drop-down list appears with the following three formatting options:

1)   Keep Source Formatting
Select “Keep Source Formatting”, if you want to retain formatting of the content source.

2)   Match Destination Formatting
Select “Match Destination Formatting”, if you want the copied text to be formatted to match formatting of the destination Word document.

3)   Keep Text Only
Select “Keep Text Only” option if you want to discard any table, pictures, etc. which are part of your copied text and you want to retain only text. This option is very useful while copying content from the web pages.

Sometimes, Paste Options drop-down list displays a fourth option “Use Destination Style” if there is a conflict of style between source and destination Word documents.

From the Paste Options list, if you click Set Default Paste, Word displays the Advanced options for Cut, Copy and Paste. You can select the default formatting options for different scenarios.

If you find the Paste Options icon annoying, you can disable it by un-selecting the Show Paste Options. See below.


Word would follow the formatting options configured under the section Cut, Copy and Paste.

How to insert objects into Word by embedding or linking

While inserting a file (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, image, etc.) as an object into a Word document, you can either create a new or use an existing file.

Create a new file and insert as an object

1.    Place the mouse cursor where you want to create the object.

2.    From the Ribbon, under the tab Insert, within the group Text, click Object. The object dialog box appears.

3.    Select an object to create from the Object Type list.

4.    Select the Display as icon check box.

5.    Word creates an icon of the selected Program at the cursor position and opens the program to create a new file.

For example, if you select  object type as “Microsoft Office Excel Worksheet”, an Excel icon is created at the cursor position and then Word opens the Excel program to create a new Excel document.


Insert an existing file as an object

1.    You can insert an existing file into your document in two different ways: either embed the file or link the file.

2.    Place your mouse cursor where you want to create the object

3.    From the Ribbon, under the tab Insert, within the group Text, click Object. The object dialog box appears.

4.    From the dialog box, click Create from File.

5.    Click the Browse button to locate the file in your system.

6.    Select the Display as icon check box.

7.    The object icon is created at the cursor position. This way you can embed a file into your document.

8.    If you want to link the file, also select the Link to File check box.

Difference between embedding and linking an existing file

If you want to update an embedded file, you have to double-click the object to open the file and then edit. Updating the source file will not update the embedded file.

However, if you are linking an existing file, then changes in the source file will be reflected in the linked file.

How to use the AutoCorrect feature in Word

The AutoCorrect feature in Word saves a lot of time and effort if you use Word as a text editor. If your profession demands you to type a lot on a daily basis, you must have realized power of this feature by now.

In this article, we will discover various usages of AutoCorrect and use them for our advantage.

Locate AutoCorrect and add an AutoCorrect entry

AutoCorrect works relentlessly behind the scene. Try typing “abouta” and then press the spacebar, Word automatically replaces this with “about a”, similarly “hte” with “the”, and there are so many.

This happens because of the default AutoCorrect entries in Word. And, the good news is that you can edit these entries and add your own entries to make your work even faster.

Alternately, you can stop AutoCorrect to work at all (if you really want to do so!).

You can insert an AutoCorrect entry in two different ways (or at least the two ways I know.. 🙂

First Method:

1.     Click the Office button and from the drop-down list, click Word Options. Word Options dialog box appears.

2.    Click the category Proofing from the pane on the left.

3.    From the pane on the right hand side, under the section AutoCorrect options, click the AutoCorrect Options button. The AutoCorrect  dialog box appears.

Tip: Or simply press the key combination Alt+T+A  🙂 This Word 2003 shortcut key still works…I am so used to it.


4.    By default, Word opens the AutoCorrect tab. This tab contains a few check boxes along with the fields Replace and With.

5.    To add an AutoCorrect entry, enter the correctly spelled word in the Replace field and the misspelled word in the With field.

6.    Click OK.

For example, enter “misspeled” in the Replace field and enter “misspelled” in the With field. Click OK.

To test, type “misspeled” and press spacebar, it will be automatically replaced by “misspelled”. So next time onward, don’t worry about a misspelled “misspeled”.

Another example of AutoCorrect usage:

If you are lazy enough (like me zzzz…) to type “AutoCorrect” every time instead of “autocorrect”, then enter “autocorrect” in the Replace field and “AutoCorrect” in the With field. Click OK.

Second Method:

As we know, if we misspelled a word while typing,  Word underlines the word with a wavy red line.

1.   Right-click the misspelled word

2.   From the right-click menu, under the sub-menu AutoCorrect, select the correctly spelled word from the suggestions.

3.    AutoCorrect automatically saves this as an entry. Now if you type the incorrect word, AutoCorrect will replace this with the word chosen from the suggestions.

If you don’t want AutoCorrect to help you

You can stop it by un-selecting all the check boxes in the AutoCorrect dialog box and then click OK.

Yet another usage of AutoCorrect

I use AutoCorrect to insert standard text paragraphs (that I use repetitively) into my documents using simple keystrokes. This saves me from copying text from one document to another, writing the same content over and over, and so on.

For example, following is the standard copyright text paragraph that we use consistently in our documents with minor changes here and there.


1.   Select the paragraph and then click Alt + T + A.

2.   The AutoCorrect dialog box appears with the selected text paragraph being copied into the With field.

3.   Enter the shortcut word (may be “copyright”) in the replace field. Now, if you type “copyright” and press the spacebar,  it would be replaced by the standard copyright text paragraph. You can use this technique in many different ways to insert images, logos, tables, etc.