Microsoft Word’s form capabilities

by bledsoe on March 13, 2008

I recently saw this post about how to create simple forms in Microsoft Word, and use them to collect data. I was glad to learn about this feature of Word (and surprised that I didn't already know about it), but I played around with it a little and did not find it intuitive at all. I created a form template (in Word 2003) as described in the article, then used it to add the form to a Word doc which I emailed to myself. The dropdown element I created in my form didn't drop down, and it wasn't clear to me exactly what I did wrong in creating that element.

Also, for my purposes, it's a little awkward to use a Word doc as a data collection tool. Assuming I was able to create the form correctly, I would attach it to an email that I would then send to some number of recipients. Each one of them would have to save the doc to their hard drive, open it and enter their responses, save the doc, then attach it to an email and send it back to me. Then I would have to manually save each individual's responses separately to a .csv file.

I find the Forms feature of Google Docs to be much better for this type of thing, though I have some complaints about their implementation as well, which I discuss in a previous post.

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