Forms allow us to collect information from users, such as personal data, surveys, etc. We must create simple forms, requesting the essential data to avoid comprehension problems.
If we need to create forms with many fields, it is advisable to divide them into sections with a corresponding title for each group of elements, for example: Personal data, academic data, bank details, etc.
If the data to be entered are complex or require a specific format, it is advisable to include instructions and examples to complete them.
It is a bad practice to simulate form fields with several periods or blank spaces to obtain the desired appearance, for example: "Name ............." since when filling in the data the document will lose its shape and also, users who use screen readers, such as blind people, will not understand what data is requested and/or where they have to write them
Let's see an example of inaccessible form created by simulated form control
Although, currently, there are more efficient ways to create forms, such as through a web page, if we want to make forms in Word, we must take into account a number of aspects to ensure its accessibility.
Enable the Developer tab
To be able to create forms in Word, we must first enable the Developer tab, hidden by default. To do so, we follow these steps:
- Click on the File menu and select Options .
- In the new window that appears Word Options, select Customize ribbon.
- In the list of Main tabs, activate the Developer checkbox.
- We finish by clicking on OK .
Once the tab is enabled, if we access the Developer tab, in the Controls section of the toolbar we have different types of form fields to unclose in our document, such as text fields, drop-down options, check boxes, etc.
To insert a form field in Word, we follow these steps:
- Select the Developer tab.
- We place the cursor at the point where we want to include the form field
- In the Controls section of the toolbar we select, for example, a text field.
- Text fields are the first two buttons in the section and they differ in that the first one will only allow the user to enter text on one line while the second one will be able to enter all the text that is desired.
Tagging form fields
Once inserted our form field, we must use a text as a tag to indicate what data should be entered.
Let's see an example, we want to request the name of the person with a text field, then, before the text field we would introduce the word Name :
Now we must indicate that the word Name refers to the desired form field. For this, we will follow these steps:
- We select the Developer view.
- We select the form control that we want to tag.
- In the toolbar within the Controls section, click on Properties .
- In the new window that appears in Content Control Properties, we fill in the following sections:
Title. Enter a description of the requested data, in our example: enter your name.
Tag: We introduce the text that we have created previously as a tag, in our case: Name
Optionally we have a series of configuration options for the form controls, how to use a style, prevent its elimination or allow several lines of text
We finish by clicking on OK
As we can see in the following image, when you move the cursor over the text field the inserted title will appear. A screen reader used by a blind person will also read the title in addition to the tag, and the user will know what data he has to enter that field. For this reason, it is essential not to leave untagged form fields.
In the case of documents that must be signed, it is interesting to put as a tag "Signature" and as a title "Do not forget to sign the document", especially useful for blind people.
Once the content and labeling of all the fields of the form has been done, the document is ready for users to complete it. However, sometimes it is advisable to restrict the editing of documents so that users cannot modify the content and focus exclusively on filling in the requested data.
To restrict the editing of forms in Word, we follow these steps:
- Select the Developer tab.
- In the toolbar, click on Restrict edition .
- A Restrict edition menu will appear in the side panel, then select Editing Restrictions.
- In the options that are displayed select Filling in forms.
- Click on Yes, Start Enforcing Protection .
- In the new window that appears, enter the password you want and end with OK .
And our document is ready. Users can complete the fields in our form but will not be able to edit them.
If later we want to modify the document, we must go to the Restrict Editing section as we did in the previous steps and click on Stop protection and enter the password.