Using Fill-In Fields in MS Word 2010

There are many uses for fields in MS Word. You can, for example, use SEQ codes to create automatic numbering which can be extremely helpful in the business world and in academia.

  1. Then there are the Fill-In fields, which you can use in a template. You know, say a form that you use in your business all the time wherein the user enters variables throughout the document. Some folks might compare this feature to the keyboard merges in WordPerfect.

Most often, folks insert fields in their documents using the Fields dialog. The easiest method to do this in version 2010 is to use the keyboard combination shortcut of Alt + I + F.

In earlier versions of MS Word, you used to access the Fields command by clicking on your Insert menu. Now though, you have choices!

The Field command can now be accessed in a couple of places:

  • The Insert tab;
  • The Text Group;
  • In Qick Parts;
  • On the Mailings tab; and
  • On the Write & Insert Fields Group.

In order for your Fill-In fields to work for you, you must do the following:

  1. Embed them in a template;
  2. Put the template in the default template location in Word; and
  3. Open a new document based on the template.
  4. To open a new document based on the template, click on File tab | New.

Let’s have a go at it shall we?

  1. Simply start with a blank document or, if you prefer, with a form you have already created.
  2. Position your cursor where your first variable information should be inserted.
  3. Open the Fields dialog by clicking Alt + I + F.
  4. Find the Fill-In fields command.
  5. You can now add a specific pompt as a guide to users.
  6. You can also set up a default response if you like, which will be inserted automatically into the document if the user should leave that field blank.
  7. Simply click OK or tap your enter key.
  8. A prompt box will appear, but since you are still creating your template, do not key in anything in the box.
  9. Click OK and the code will be inserted at your cursor position.
  10. Unless you specifically elect to display your codes while creating your template, you will not be able to see them so it would be a good idea to have them displayed so you can see what you are doing. To display your codes, click Alt + F9.
    Continue inserting your Fill-In fields where appropriate and when you are finished, save your document as a template.
  11. To save your document as a template:
  12. Click the File tab on your Ribbon or use the shortcut Alt + F (not simultaneously),then click Save As or the letter A.
  13. It is very important that you save your Word 2010 document as a template (*.dotx) or as a Word 97-2003 template (*.dot).
  14. After you have saved your template, users will be able to create a new document based on it by clicking on File | New | My Templates.
  15. Once you see your template, double-click it or click OK.
  16. When your document opens, the first prompt will appear. Key in the variable information and click OK.
  17. Continue through your document doing the same for each prompt.

Once you have keyed in all the variables in your document, you will be returned to your doucment where you can make any changes you deem necessary.

I can think of many, many instances where you have a document with boiler-plate language and only a few variables, such as contracts, Last Will and Testament, Powers of Attorny, etc..  Just think of the time and effort you could save using these fields!


About the Author

Carol Bratt

Carol holds A+, MCP, and MOS computer certifications and is the resident DCT Office expert. She trains the staffs of small law firms in the use of Microsoft Office applications and has authored many books covering Microsoft Office as well as written articles for Infopackets, TechnoLawyer, and Digital Harbor. For more Microsoft Office tips visit Carol's Corner Office or follow Carol on FaceBook and Twitter.

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