Teacher and coach

Microsoft Word’s form capabilities

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.

2 Responses to “Microsoft Word’s form capabilities”

  1. Lance Bledsoe says:

    I get occasional requests for this as well, people who for whatever reason don’t want to use an online form to submit their information online, but instead want to print out the form and fill it out using paper and pencil. (I confess feeling somewhat annoyed by these people; why can’t they just join the 20th century and make my life easier?)

    Still, the times I have tried to create a single doc that can be used both as an online form AND as a print-it-out-and-fill-it-in form have not gone well. I generally end up creating two separate docs, one for the online folks and another for the old school holdouts.

  2. justine says:

    I have to say, I’ve tried to use Word forms in situations where you folks are used having a word doc emailed to them to fill in and email back – it’s an improvement over a regular word file since they can actually tab from field to field when they need to enter data. However, I too have not loved it. For instance, I want a doc to have lines under the fields in case a person chooses to print and fill it in, but it doesn’t allow that easily…
    So perhaps the next question is, does google docs form provide a viable printing option for the old fashioned folks?

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