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How to Create Fillable Forms in Microsoft Word

by Gaurav Bidasaria
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Microsoft has a dedicated app to create forms, however, many users want to create a form right inside Word for a few reasons. One is that they don’t want their users, employees, clients, or intended audience to leave Word. So Microsoft included a way to create a fillable form right inside Word that can either be sent as is or you can turn it into a PDF file and print it. Let’s begin.

Step 1 – Enable Developer Mode

The first step is to enable the developer mode option which will unlock some advanced features in the Word app.

1. When you open Word for the first time, you will see this screen. Click on Options in the left sidebar here.

open microsoft word options

2. Select Customize Ribbon in the left sidebar and then enable Developer option on the right side under Customize the Ribbon menu. Click on OK to save settings.

enable developer mode in word

Step 2 – Create a Template of the Form

We will now proceed with the next step where we will create a template for a form that we can reuse over and over again.

1. Open the Word document and place the cursor on the line where you want to insert or create a form. We will be creating a new document for this. To do that, click on Black document.

blank document in word

You can also create a new document from an existing document that you have open. Simply click on the File menu and you will reach the above screen.

creating new word document from an existing document

2. Under the Developer tab, click on the Design Mode. You will now see the Controls that we have highlighted in a box in the screenshot below. These controls will help you create an interactive form in Word that others can fill.

enable design mode controls in microsoft word

Note: We will take a simple example but forms can be complex as long as your logic is correct. I want all employees to fill out a form where they enter their name, choose their gender from available options, enter their age, and select past experience from a drop-down menu.

3. I will write out the question first which would be ‘Name’ and then I will select the Text Control which is marked with Aa button.

Note: There are two Aa buttons. One is for rich text and the other is for plain text. Choose accordingly. If unsure, choose rich text which is the first one.

use text control in word to create form for asking name

4. To create a drop-down menu, select the Drop-Down Control. This is how it looks.

5. Now in the Choose an item area, you need to enter the options. Select the Control and then click on Properties.

edit properties of a control in word

6. In the following pop-up, you can add options that the user can select from a drop-down menu. In our case, those are the genders. Now you can add, remove, and edit options easily. Click on OK to save changes.

create options for drop down menu in word

7. Similarly, you can use other controls to create your form. There is plain/rich text, drop-down menu, checkbox, etc. Here, in the experience column, I use two controls. One text and one checkbox for each experience level.

8. When you are happy with the created form, click on Restrict Editing option.

restrict editing option in microsoft word

9. Select the checkbox next to Limit formatting to a selection of style and then select the checkbox next to Allow only this type of editing in the document. Then select Filling in forms from the drop-down menu. Finally, click on Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.

Note: If the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button is greyed out, simply deselect Design Mode which we enabled in step 2 above. It will work then.

create fillable form in microsoft word and enforce security

10. You may see a pop-up to set a password. It is not required though. If you don’t want to set one, click on Cancel instead.

setting password in microsoft for editing restrictions

We closed the Word app and reopened it. This is how the form we created inside Word looks. You will notice the drop-down menu for choosing gender.

a short fillable form inside microsoft word

Similarly, you can use other controls and then format the text font, color, size, and other elements as you please while creating your form inside Microsoft Word.

Once the form is ready, if it is running into pages, you can easily add page numbers to the Word form to give the users an idea of how long the form is.

Step 3 – Export Word Form in PDF or Print

You can export the Word form once it is ready in PDF format or print it to fill it by hand. To do that:

1. Click on the File button in the top left corner.

click on file tab in word

2. Select the Export menu in the left sidebar and then click on Create PDF/XPS Document option. Follow the on-screen instructions after that to give a name to your PDF file and save it.

export microsoft word form in pdf format

3. If you want to print the Word form, click on Print in the sidebar, and then set the properties or options for the print as you see fit. When ready, click on the Print button. Make sure the PC is connected to a printer.

print a form created in microsoft word

Fill Out a Form, First!

Microsoft Word makes it easy to create a fillable form that your users can interact with, however, it cannot compete with the ease of use that comes with using Google Forms or Microsoft Forms. This is good for people who are locked into the Microsoft ecosystem at their workplace and have to use Word for one reason or another. Blame it on the company policy!

Once it is filled, you may want to sign the Word form, We have a guide on that too.

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