Word 2007: Setting up protected form fields

July 22, 2010

Lucille, a work colleague, couldn’t figure out how to set up protected form fields in Word 2007. I haven’t dealt with these a lot (and not at all in Word 2007), but I was able to figure it out for her.

You’ll be working on the Developer tab, so make sure it’s visible before you start:

Now you can start setting up your form fields:

  1. Enter the text for the form field labels into your document.
  2. Position the cursor where you want the response to go (typically after the label).
  3. Go to the Developer tab > Controls group.
  4. Click the icon for the type of form field you want to insert (e.g. text , date ). You can also click the Legacy Tools icon to insert the controls you were familiar with in Word 2003 and earlier.
  5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 for all other form fields you want to insert.
  6. Save your document.

Finally, protect the form fields:

  1. Go to the Developer tab > Protect group and click the large Protect Document icon.
  2. Select Restrict Formatting and Editing from the drop-down list.
  3. On the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane, select the Allow only this type of editing in the document check box, select Filling in forms from the drop-down list, then click the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button. (Note: If this button is not active, click the Developer mode button in the Controls group as it may be turned on and you need to turn it off.)
  4. You are asked to set a password for this document. You can either set a password OR leave all these fields blank (i.e. no password), then click OK.
  5. Save your document. Anyone opening the document can now only fill in the form fields — they cannot edit the document.


  1. This is the clearest, most succinct treatment I’ve seen of this topic — and I have read dozens of them just today. Unfortunately, this stops short of answering my question: This procedure seems to create forms that cannot be accessed without the mouse. When I follow it and then try to complete my own forms (new documents generated from the template, not the template itself), I cannot use the tab key to move from the field I just finished completing to the field I want to complete next. This is a huge problem. If moving to the next field requires a click of the mouse, then people who cannot see the form fields and people who cannot operate a mouse won’t be able to complete my forms. And my forms must be accessible, so a mouse action simply cannot be required to complete them.

    Is there no way to make Word 2007 forms behave like the old, protected Word 2003 forms in this respect — that is, to skip to the next field whenever the user presses the tab key?

  2. Hi Cliff

    I just tested this on a Word 2007 form I had created and protected and the Tab key works fine to skip from one form field to the next. However, it doesn’t work when you’re still in design mode. You must protect and save the doc first, then I suggest you close and re-open it to see it as a user would see it on opening.


  3. Hi – I just tried this 3 times and I still cannot tab between the fields. What am I doing wrong? When I hit tab, it just makes the field a little larger.
    Also, can you insert a “text box” as a field? For example, I am making a Fax Template, where I am entering the Fax to, Fax #, Fax From, Date, etc., then I want to have a larger field for NOTES. Can anyone tell me how to do this? thanks very much. BTW, the instructions are excellent.

  4. You can tab between fields of all types except for the text field. If you’re in a text field, it just inserts a tab character.

    I also had trouble with making the text field larger. The way I got around it is to insert a 1 column, 1 row table and specify column width as the width of the page and the row height to the maximum height I think I need for comments/notes. Then I inserted the text field in the table and it increase as the user types more but it doesn’t alter the allotted space on the page because it is constrained by the table parameter. I am still investigating to find a better way so hopefully this is just a temporary work-around.

    If anyone can find a better solution, or a solution for skipping to the next text box, I would love to hear it.

  5. I entered the fields as a Legacy Text Field instead of as a Rich Text field and it seemed to work. It created the simple gray box and let me tab between the fields without messing up the document. My other issue is that I can’t get it to keep people from saving the document with the filled in fields under the template’s original name. I thought a template would force them to change the name when they save to avoid modifying the original template.

  6. Yes, very helpful to insert the fields, but the Yes, Start enforcing box is grayed out, so I’m not able to lock it.

    Please advise.


  7. Never mind; I figured it out. I knew that I needed to save the document in order to lock it, but didn’t realize I needed to save it, close it, then re-open it. Worked like a charm.

  8. I must have search for and hour before I found you. THANK YOU VERY VERY much!!!!!!

  9. Thanks this was very helpful.

  10. The discussion here is exactly what I was trying to figure out. Ifound that if I saved the template then turned on protection then saved again, the Tab key worked to navigate between the fields (I’m using 2010).

  11. Amen & Amen!!! The clearest directions I came across by far! Thank you for taking the time to post this info!

  12. Pam, your problem with people saving over your template has to do with how they are opening the file. You need them to open a new file from the template, not open the template itself. (You can tell when you’ve opened a new file from the template because the filename at the top of the document window will be Document1, or whatever number your unnamed new document happens to be on at the time. If you’ve opened the template, you’ll see its filename at the top of the document window.)

    Here’s the best way to get them to fill out forms from the template. To set this up, you first have to set up a single location for all the templates your folks will share (more about the advantages of this later).

    For that location, choose a folder on a server shared by everyone who will use this form. Put your templates in that folder. Then, if you have a LAN manager (IT support), show them these steps so they can add that setting to the default installation of Word at your place of business. Otherwise:

    1. On your computer, open Word.
    2. Click the Office button.
    3. Near the lower right corner of the window that pops open, find and click “Word Options.”
    4. Click “Advanced.”
    5. Scroll down to the bottom of the list of settings. Just above “Compatibility options for,” you’ll see a button that says “File locations.” Click it.
    6. Under the list of File types, find and select “Workgroup templates.”
    7. Click the “Modify” button.
    8. Navigate to the folder you chose in step 1.
    9. Click “OK” (in the “File locations” window).
    10. Click “OK” again (this time, in the “Word Options” window).
    11. Repeat these steps on the computer of each person who should share these templates (or have them do it).

    You should have to do all of this only once on each computer (or, if you’re lucky, have your LAN manager make the change only once).

    And here’s the neat part: To use these templates under this setup, people don’t need to be able to write to the directory where the templates are stored. So you can designate a few trusted folks as “template managers” and let only those people have read/write access to that folder.

    Here’s what people should do when they need to use the form:

    1. Click the Office button.
    2. Click “New.” This will open the “New Documents” window.
    3. In the “New Documents” window, look under “Templates” for “My templates” and click it. This will open the “New” window. (Dumb, but true.)
    4. Find and double-click the form template. (See below for more about this step.) Word will open a new form using the template.
    5. Start filling the form out. When you’re done, Word will prompt you to save the completed form as a new file. (You won’t be saving it in the same directory where the template is. And that’s no problem.)

    Now, here’s the added information I promised, in two parts. First, you can put any templates your group needs to share in this folder, and everyone with that folder designated as the source of their workgroup templates will be able to find and use them.

    Second, if you create folders within that folder, each of those folders will appear as a tab next to “My Templates” in the “New” window. So if you want to segregate templates according to type (forms, letters, reports, etc.) or organizational unit (Accounting, Receiving, Shipping, Sales, etc.), you can do so by creating folders with the corresponding name.

    We use multiple folders under My Templates where I work. And we’ve decided not to put any templates in the top-level folder — the one identified as the location of workgroup templates — because the templates displayed under “My Templates” in the “New” window include not only those but also any templates stored in the user’s personal templates folder (the path to this folder depends on your version of Windows). We would like to encourage folks to actually create their own templates if they need them.
    We feel that if we make sure that templates they can’t control don’t appear in the same list as templates they can control, their options — and the limitations on their powers — will be clearer to them.

  13. Thanks for taking the time to share that comprehensive reply, Cliff. There are some great tips in there.


  14. Thank you, everyone! I, like “Thankful” above, searched for a long time before finding this blog. All the information has been hugely helpful.

  15. I created a form using Rich Text fields. When the protected form opens, it opens to the first field, which is what I want it to do. If someone wants to click into a field where they want to enter information (rather than tabbing through fields to get there), how do I get the entire field to get focus when I click on it? Right now, if they click inside a field (which has default text instructing the user what to place in the field), it will put the cursor in the middle of the default text rather than highlighting the field as if they’d tabbed to it (and replacing the default text). That means that if they want to enter information, they have to delete the default text. What I’m looking for is a way to code each field so that the entire field highlights when it’s clicked.

    Any help would be appreciated!

  16. All this information is great! What I need help with is how to keep the “Click here to enter text” from printing in the places where no information has been entered. Thxs!

  17. Is there any way to make the legacy text field not be highlighted, i.e. to make it more printer friendly?

  18. I don’t think so, Mark. Have you printed it out and seen it highlighted? Is it all fields, or just the one the cursor is in when you print? Have you tried the various printing options — look in the Print What list when you choose Print from the menu (NOT the toolbar), and also check what’s under the ‘Options’ button on the Print dialog box. There may be something there you can try.


  19. I’m trying to follow along this thread and would like some clarification. My form, as others, is not tabbing between the fields when reopened. I have restricted editing to forms only and followed many of the suggestions above. Here is my question:

    Does changing the text fields from Rich text to Plain text fix the problem? OR Do I have to make this macro and VBA enabled?

  20. I tried the plain text and that seemed to work, except that the field before my check box tabs to the next field after the check boxes. How can I get them to tab in order?

  21. BEST HELP EVER! thanks! :)

  22. I have the same problem as Machelle–my tabbing between fields works fine, with one exception–it always skips the field with checkboxes. Any ideas?

  23. One of my programmers figured it out. He created a text field and placed the checkboxes inside of the text field. Try that and see how it works for you.

  24. Anyone have suggestions on how to tab between text fields and say, a radio button field? And is there a relatively simple way to do this when protecting the form or does it require programming?

  25. How come form fields do not wrap around text when entering a second line in rich text?

  26. I created a form that contains two drop down lists. It tabs fine until it reaches a drop down list, then skips everything in between and tabs directly to the next drop down list. How can I get it to tab all the way through?

  27. For some reason, I create a form with text fields and after I protect it only one character can be entered in the field. If I unprotect it, it works correctly. What do I need to do?

  28. I am trying to e-mail my document to someone and want them to have full rights to change anything they want. I can not seem to make this happen. it is unlocked, I have checked developer/protect doc and everything there is un checked. Any suggestions???

    Thank you

  29. Hi Cynthia

    Try right-clicking on the field, then selecting Properties and see what sort of Maximum Length limit is applied to the type of field that it is.


  30. Good Evening, I don’t know if this is the right place to ask this question but here I go. Using Word 2007 – I created a form, I inserted a table, I inserted ‘text form fields’ (using legacy forms) into each cell of the table. I want to shrink the data that’s entered into the cell to fit the cell. I highlight the section > I use the table properties option > click the cell tab > select ‘fit text’ > I unchecked wrap text > click ok > turn on protection it doesn’t work =( I can type as much data into a field as I want but the text doesn’t shrink. I follow the same procedure but instead of fit text I select wrap text. Then I turn protection back on and the cells wrap, but that’s not what I want, I want the text to shrink to fit the cell, I need my rows to remain static. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for any information you can provide. This thread has a plethora of info.

  31. I created a template in Word 2007, which is full of Rich Text Fields. When I create a document from it (New > My Templates…) and save the document, I cannot enter info into the fields. No matter where I click, the cursor goes near the top of Page 1 and I cannot type anything. If I enter data before I save the document to a new name (different from Document1, Document2, etc.) then everything works fine. Once I save, however, it is locked.

    I need to enter data into the fields, then pass the document to a supervisor for him to make additional changes. Also I have a naming procedure that I must follow. Any thoughts?

  32. RE: Printer friendly legacy text boxes
    If you click on the “Form Field Shading” icon (In the same place as the legacy text box icon) it will remove the shading that is visible in legacy text boxes.

  33. O.K.,
    Now after I have create this type of form, I’d like to update document text with name user type in the form :
    In lower of document I have on manny places that user have to enter name and adress, but user already did that on top of it. How to update those fields ?

  34. Hi Dusan

    You can set the property name of any of these control boxes (select the control, then go to the Developer tab > Controls group and click Properties).

    However, I couldn’t find a way to then link this property to another field later in the document using Insert > Quick Parts > Fields.

    Normally, if I want to repeat some text later (such as a person’s name), I’ll insert a bookmark, then reference that from a field, or use an Ask or Fill-in field. However, I have no idea how to get these to work with a protected form. I suggest you ask your question on the Microsoft Answers forum for Word (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office) — if you get an answer, I’d appreciate it if you could share the link to it here.


  35. Replying to: All this information is great! What I need help with is how to keep the “Click here to enter text” from printing in the places where no information has been entered. Thxs!

    by At last! January 17, 2012 at 1:27 am

    I don’t know if this is the best way, but I changed the “Click here…” to several under score characters (“______”).

  36. I have tried all of the suggestions above but I still need to know how to create a form in MS Word 2010 without the lines moving. Thanks!

  37. This is by far the best thread I’ve found on this subject; however, the question still remains on how to keep the table cells (form fields) from growing, causing the form to flow to additional pages. If the text entered into the field could shrink to fit within the size of the field that’s displayed when the form is opened, it would be great! Your help is greatly appreciated!

  38. Hi Irise2

    If you insert one of the Legacy Tools controls (e.g. for text), you can right-click on it and select Properties, then set things like the maximum length (in number of characters) for that field. That may be a workaround for your issue.

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t see a similar setting for the now standard controls — the Properties for those are far more limited (and you have to click the ‘Control Properties’ icon in the Controls group to access them — you can’t get to them via a right-click). However, with the new controls in Word 2007 and later, you can set the text field to use a particular style in the Properties, so another option would be to use a style specifically for these table cells that has a smaller font size than usual. Or set the table row height to be ‘exactly’ a height (that won’t stop someone from typing in more text — it just won’t show the extra at all).

    Let me and others know if any of these work for you.


  39. I’m having 2 issues with Word 2007 when in a “Click here to enter text” field:

    1. If I try to tab to the next text field or radio box, the cursor remains in the current text field and extends the the underline – at this point I use the cursor keypad to advance to the next field.

    2. When clicking directly on a text field, although the field is highlighted, it does not allow me to enter (type) any information.

    I did not experience these issues when I created form documents in Word 2003. Thanks.

  40. Hi Dawn

    My knowledge of form fields is limited at best, and my knowledge of the controls used in Word 2007/2010 is even less.

    Are you using the controls provided in Word 2007, or the legacy controls? You may find that the legacy controls give you the same functionality you were used to in Word 2003.


  41. Does anyone know if it’s possible to somehow tab through your form, get to a drop down field, and be able to scroll through and choose options WITHOUT having to click with the mouse? User ease is what I’m going for, and tabbing through without having to stop and click at every turn would be WONDERFUL. Please help! :) Thanks


  42. Hi Abbie

    I haven’t tried it on a Word form, but with all other drop-down lists, you should be able to type the first one or more letters of the option you want and get the list displayed from that point.

    Also, have you tried the down arrow key once you get to the list?


  43. Haven’t tested it, but the standard behavior is for the approaches Rhonda mentioned to get you to the item you want and, once there, to enter that value when you hit the spacebar. So it *should* wprk that way; sorry that I don’t have time to find a form to test right now to confirm this.

  44. To stop “click here …” printing when field is empty, change the format of the text in the field to “Hidden”. Therefore it should not print when no text is added (UNLESS the user has its print settings defaulted to print hidden text – but this is unlikely and easily resolveable if it is the case)

  45. Am still struggling with tabbing to the next field – am I right in thinking that I have to remove all the rich text fields and replace them with legacy fields for this to work…. hate to have to undo all my work.

  46. I did substitute all of my 2010 rich text fields with legacy tool text fields and the tabbing between fields worked perfectly.

  47. Setting the placeholder text to hidden works beautifully for users who have hidden text set to display; however it doesn’t work for other users as the text won’t display on screen. Any other suggestions for having the “click here” or other instructional text appear on the onscreen form but not print if that field wasn’t completed? For example, a form may have a field for a home number and another for a mobile.

  48. Above discussion most helpful. I have a different problem I’m trying to solve. I can get my text form fields inserted and working just how I want them. However, I would like to “isolate” the form to the top of “page 1” of a Word document, then allow full text editing below just like a regular Word doc with no form restrictions. Tried some different options, like inserting section break, with no success. Thanks much in advance.

  49. Larry, I’ve run into this, too. I frankly don’t think there’s a way to do what you’re trying to do–at least there isn’t in a single document. But I’ve got an idea that you might want to try: Use a master document.

    To start, create the form as one Word document and the next page as another. Then create a master document, which is another Word file that links those two documents. (Now they’re called subdocuments of the master document.)

    With this approach, you should have the freedom to set up “form fields only” in one subdocument and allow full text editing in the next. And the master document *should* create a smooth transition from one subdocument to the next and back.

    For more information about master documents in Word 2010 (they are pretty much, and maybe completely, the same in Word 2007 and 2003), see http://www.howtogeek.com/73960/create-a-master-document-in-word-2010-from-multiple-documents/

  50. I have used the Quick Parts > Document Property > Company to try to get an inputted company to populate throughout a legal document because { REF Text } won’t do so when I use the bookmarks. I have tried saving from a doc opened from my template but no matter what I do, the inputted data instantly vanishes and reverts back to the Company field. Can someone tell me how to get the inputted info to save and or a way to get fields to self populate when inputted once throughout a doc without using the Bookmark reference? Thanks.

  51. Hi
    Does anyone know how to create a reference form field? What I mean is, if I have a specific form field and put in a name at the top of a document, then I want the same name to appear at the bottom, where the specific person for example is signing an employee contract. I know you can make this, (I have seen a tutorial) but can’t find it again. Thanks

  52. Hi AM_es

    You should be able to use a bookmark to do what you want. See this blog post of mine for instructions: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/word-repeating-text-within-a-document/


  53. Can someone tell me how to remove the blue from the legacy text box field in a form that I created? It is a simple form, created in Word 2010. I added legacy text box fields and the blue box shows. When I type in the field before protecting the document to filling in forms only, the blue disappears. After I protect the document to filling forms only, the blue remains. Is there a way to overcome this?

  54. In Word 2007, if you insert plain text content control (instead of a rich text content control), tabbing between fields works once the document has been protected. However, it skips the Legacy form fields check boxes.

  55. I am working on a protected word 2007 form. How can different people track changes in the unprotected text form fields? The text appears in black and changing the track changes option doesn’t change the color of the text. I am hoping that different users can select a text color and edit text in each of the form fields.

  56. Can you protect a cell that includes a Formula? I have a travel report that sums a column of cells at the last row and can’t figure out how to insert a protected formula. I do not see that option under the Legacy Tools or other options in the Controls section. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

  57. I am thrilled to find this thread! But, I don’t think my issue has been asked. I can’t get my Legacy Forms Text Form Field box to use the font I have used in the balance of my form. I’ve selected the field, confirmed the font size, protected and saved the form, but when I enter text in the fields it is smaller than what I set (or thought I set?) Help?

  58. I found my answer! I had checked the box to Limit Formatting…when I unchecked the box, my text enters into the form in the font size I want.
    Darn tick boxes!

  59. I would like to know if anyone knows how to unlock a form that I’ve forgotten the password to!


  60. Hi Shelley

    I haven’t tried it, but does ‘Save As’ under a different file name work? Alternatively, ask your question at the Microsoft Word community: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/word


  61. Word 2007 – Frustrated Beyond Belief
    1. Had a form that previously worked perfectly for tabbing fields sequentially.
    2. After other people edited, it skipped one field, you can’t mouse into it either.
    3. After I tried to fix, now it skips 3 fields when tabbing.
    4. I created the form in the first place and didn’t have this trouble.
    5. Save, protect, save again did not fix, nor has anything else I found on the net.
    6. Someone said use legacy over rich text, where is that?

  62. Hi Mike

    On the Developer tab, go to the Controls group. There’s an icon to the immediate right of the check box icon that’s for Legacy controls.


  63. Thanks, Rhonda, that helps a lot. Now I got my form figured out, and it sort of comes back from before, not very intuitive the way MS has it designed. Mike

  64. Do you know of any way to format the date to be spelled out rather than numerals?


  65. Help! I have created the form fields and can protect enough to tab between the fields I’ve created. However, if I send it to the recipient in an e-mail to open and use and they press enter, it throws off the entire form and ends up on two pages instead of one! I thought protect document would protect everything and allow only the “fill-in” area to be edited….what can I do to protect all the wording and images on the document so they don’t budge?

  66. I would like to know how to get the font size to auto-shrink when an unusually long name/word is entered into a locked cell so the text doesn’t wrap but just adjusts and fits nicely :)

  67. Hi Kim

    I can’t see any setting for font size or resize in the Properties for a text field, or in the protection options for the form. The only way I could get the font size to change was to change it for the entire field as you would normally change the font size for any selected text in Word; if you did this you have to do it before you protect the document.


  68. thanks for responding but the form i have seen it in is a pdf so maybe that is how it can be done. as i’m completing the information and it starts to exceed the space, it automatically starts shrinking as necessary to very very small. i love it, but have not been able to figure it out to use in my WORD forms. Here’s the link to the form i complete and it occurs in the Provider Name section…see what you think http://www.wageworks.com/forms/dcpaymeback.pdf

  69. Hi Kim

    That’s quite clever. I noticed that they used InDesign to create the original document (the Properties tell you that). I don’t know whether InDesign can add the form fields or if they were added using Acrobat’s form editing functionality, or something else. They certainly didn’t use Word.


  70. :) that’s what i was afraid of and so wish i could duplicate it. i’m going to investigate this indesign…thanks for looking

  71. I have created a form with fillin text fields, it works great except for one problem that my users are requesting. Is there a way to modify a table once its been inserted in a form field? At this point I am stating that to modify the table they must remove, modify and re-submit in the field. Does anybody know a better way? Its only one field that needs this level of user-accessiblity.

  72. Hi there. I have created a fax letterhead in a form format and locked the document but the problem that I have is that the text keeps on reverting to a grey colour instead of the normal Automatic [black]. Why does it do this and how can I fix it.


  73. Hi Cathy

    Are you talking about the text that people using the form enter, or the instructional text that’s displayed on the form guiding the user what to do? If the latter, then that’s how Word’s Content Controls work and I don’t know if you can change it.

    If the former, then in Control Control properties you can change/modify the style associated with the entered text (Note: this does NOT work the same way for legacy controls). Click on the Content Control in editing mode, then click Properties in the Controls group on the ribbon. There’s a check box there to ‘Use a style to format contents’ and a drop-down list of styles you can choose from.


  74. Loved this blog, found out lots of things I needed to know about templates.

  75. Hi Rhonda!

    You are quite a knowledgeable lady! I hope you can help me because this is driving me bananas! I’ve created a document in Microsoft Word to be sent out to our vendors. It’s a release/waiver.This is a protected document but I have set places for them to be able to type in. I would like to know if there is a way to limit the characters in the spaces that are allotted for our vendors to type in. Thank you!

  76. Hi Stephanie

    If you’re using one of the Legacy Controls, you can set its properties, including the maximum number of characters for certain types of fields, such as text and number fields. To do this, right-click on the field, then select Properties, then set the Maximum length.

    However, if you’re using one of the more recent Content Controls (Word 2007 and later), I can’t find where you can set this information. The Properties option (on the ribbon when the control is selected) doesn’t offer this type of setting, and I couldn’t find it anywhere else. These websites indicate that it no longer exists for Content Controls: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2010-word/text-box-control-character-limit/fa273ecc-ff8e-4a85-a3a4-d1f1bc7b63e0 and http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/df5f5aeb-f0c9-461c-b004-185c516ef453/limit-the-number-of-characters


  77. Thank you for your response, Rhonda. I was afraid this was the case. I’m using MS Word 2010. Thank you very much for your help!

  78. Hi Stephanie

    Even if you’re using Word 2010, you can still use the legacy controls. Just click the icon on the ribbon, and select the control you want. They might not be as pretty as the Content Controls, but you have more options for setting parameters such as maximum characters.


  79. Hi Rhonda

    I see this question was asked back in July of last year, but I don’t see a response. In a nut shell, I have created a protected form. It works fine however, when it is being filled in and “Enter” is press instead of “Tab”, it throws off the entire form by adding lines. I was under the impression protecting the document would only allow the form fields to be filled in. Is there something I can do to to lock down the form, to stop this from happening?

  80. Hi Kevin

    I just tested this. With Content Controls (Word 2007 and later versions), you can’t set any sort of properties that I can see. With Legacy controls, you can right-click on the control and select Properties. For text fields, for example, you then get the option to set a maximum character length for the field. However, setting a maximum length doesn’t stop the user from pressing Enter.

    I don’t think you can restrict this in any way, so perhaps you need to educate your users. Maybe a short message at the beginning of the form telling them to press the Tab key after each field might help.


  81. Easier said than done :) Thanks for checking into this Rhonda.


  82. Rhonda,

    I’ve created a Word fill-in form, formatted the fields with the length of each field and protected it. However, when trying to use it, when you tab to the field and fill in the information, it will move the permanent information to the right of it and push it over. In essence, it messes up the formatting of the form. Do you have to set these up using a table format or something in order to prevent that from happening?


  83. Hi Julie

    You can set the length of a field for the form (but only using the legacy controls as far as I know); however, Word only displays 5 characters for the field. Therefore, if your field length is set to, say, 40 characters, then as the user types in their information, the field will expand to accommodate that data (e.g. up to 40 characters).

    If you want better control of the form, yes, tables are probably the way to go. Use borderless tables if you don’t want your readers to to see all the grid lines.


  84. In Word Developer, I am attempting to set up text boxes that will automatically open and scroll onto the next line rather than staying all in the one box (rather like this box I am currently typing in). In properties, I have Multiline ‘true’ and Maxlength on ‘0’ – what else do I need to do to make this work?


  85. I am trying to reference a legacy text form field (2007) in header but have the header text be smaller size. I seem to be able to make changes that effect the first word of the text but the second word always reverts to the referenced font size. Any ideas?


  86. If I’ve understood this correctly, how I resolved this issue was adding \*charformat\*charformat\*charformat\ sometimes as many as 5 times – this seems to cover potential normal amounts of things such as names, eg, first middle last, and if there is a Jr/Sr/I/II etc. The multiple *charformat carries thru your desired font parameters.
    Good Luck

  87. Is there a way once you have made your form the way you want it to make the Fillable sections to stay the same size as you have made it when data is entered in to the sections? when the data is entered my format moves all around and looks messy.

  88. Off the top of my head, the way I have addressed this in the past is using a table to create designated space for responses. I just leave the grid lines invisible and it holds the rest of the text steady. It isn’t ideal if the responses are lengthy.

  89. Very Good thread for MS Word Contant Control!
    When I put 2007 checkboxes in a protected document and the users Tab thru it it skips every other checkbox… Is there a solution or should I stick with legacy controls?

  90. I have a Word 2007 doc that has drop-down lists, text boxes and check boxes (checkboxes added as ActiveX control type) with Formatting protection enabled . I just discovered that I can edit the text boxes but as soon as I check (or uncheck) a checkbox I cannot edit the text boxes – I have to close the document and reopen it to be able to edit the text boxes again. Any ideas what is causing this and how to resolve? Thanks

  91. Hi Sean

    I just set up a dummy form in Word 2010, using just the standard controls (NOT the legacy ones). I only enabled Editing Restrictions > Filling in Forms (NOT Formatting Restrictions), and everything seems to work OK.

    So try only applying Editing Restrictions (#2 on the Restrict Formatting and Editing pane) and see if that works.


  92. I have a Word 2007 doc that has rich text controls. We would like to use content protection, so that the users are not able to make other changes to the form. Whenever we turn document protection, the formatting features in the rich text control no longer work. Is there any workaround?

  93. Hello Rhonda, this is a very informative blog and thank you for replying to questions, since its creation, back in 2010. I’m looking to solve two issues on my document with legacy form fields in Word 2007. One, I have got one dropdown field with a Yes/No option. The default on the form is No (nothing has been filled in). I would like to force the option to ‘Yes’ if the user has completed one of the text boxes below the section. I believe I should be able to do this with a Macro perhaps (calculate on exit?), but I’m out of my depth on this one. Would you possibly have a solution on this problem?
    The second question would be a “save as” question. Is there a way to ensure a user is unable to “save as” the document, whilst the form is completed? Meaning if a “save as” is done, the document will be blank. or alternatively, stopping a user in general from saving the form full stop?
    Thank you very much for your time.

  94. Hi Michael

    I don’t have the smarts to do what you want either! I suggest you ask you question on the Microsoft Answers forum for Word: http://answers.microsoft.com/ then navigate to the version of of Office and Word you’re using.


  95. All I can say is God Bless you ! You solved a huge problem

  96. For those who come here for the same reason I did: the text field only allowing one character to be entered. My version is Word 2007.

    In PROPERTIES ensure “Remove content control when contents are edited” is NOT checkmarked.

    In response to:
    “For some reason, I create a form with text fields and after I protect it only one character can be entered in the field. If I unprotect it, it works correctly. What do I need to do? — by Cynthia March 9, 2012 at 1:53 am”

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