Formatting form tables
Video: Formatting form tablesWe've added tables to provide structure to our form, and now what we want to do is use the Table Design tools to make our form look better and make it easier for the user. When we were entering information in our table, there were places where there was a carriage return or a paragraph mark that was added, and you might wonder how you find out where those are. Well let's do that first, because if you turn on the Show/Hide Paragraph Marks it's pretty easy to pick out the single symbol that's keeping a line from moving down.
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In this course, author Gini Courter introduces the form creation tools found in Word 2007 and shows how to produce electronic forms that are visually pleasing and easy to navigate. The course covers designing a form; capturing data effectively with dropdown lists, date pickers, and text boxes; and adding controls for repeating data using the Word Content Control Toolkit. The course also includes tutorials on testing, protecting, and distributing forms.
Prerequisite Course: Word 2007 Essential Training
- Customizing pre-built Microsoft.com templates
- Inserting content controls
- Saving a form as a template
- Troubleshooting form issues
- Understanding Building Blocks
- Creating a schema using the Content Control Toolkit
Formatting form tables
We've added tables to provide structure to our form, and now what we want to do is use the Table Design tools to make our form look better and make it easier for the user. When we were entering information in our table, there were places where there was a carriage return or a paragraph mark that was added, and you might wonder how you find out where those are. Well let's do that first, because if you turn on the Show/Hide Paragraph Marks it's pretty easy to pick out the single symbol that's keeping a line from moving down.
Here's another one, after Expiration Date, and yet another one, after Billing Zip Code. So rather than go from line to line and delete those, you can simply find them pretty easily as part of your formatting. Now if we take a look at the Table Design tools, we have Borders and Shading tools here. We will also find those on the Home tab. Here's the Shading tool, here's the Border tool here in the Paragraph group. But let's go ahead and work with them here in Design, so we have access to some other choices as well. So if I would like to have my users enter data on lines here, I want to get rid of the ones that are boxes.
I can multipurpose this form by being really attentive to the borders that I use. I can make it so that if we have to go out and have some people fill these out in the field without a computer, we can actually print this form, and it would work well for us. I'm going to start by selecting the entire table, and then I'm going to choose No Border. Now I'd like to put lines in some of these places and I'm having trouble seeing where the lines are. So while you have the table selected, or not, just go to Layout > View Gridlines and you'll be able to see your lines again, so you can work more easily in the table.
If I want to adjust the table width, this is a great time. I can see that I have this much room in the form because my other tables go that far down, and then I can make whatever adjustments I want to make here to give more room for these really large entries here on my left, like a person's title, first name, and last name that will have to fit here in this cell. So don't be afraid to make any final adjustments you want as part of formatting because our job when we're done with this is to have a really beautiful table. Let's go back to Design and turn on specific borders that we want to see. So, for example, we'd like a border for Name, and we can go ahead and we can drop a border in right there.
Now, that's if we had somebody enter the name in one continuous field, which they might do in print. But in fact, what we're going to do in our form is collect three different things: a title, Dr., Ms., Mr., a first name, and a last name. So let's go ahead and undo that, and let's split this cell up first, so it's exactly what we want. Three items of data means five columns. So let's go to the Layout tab and say that we'd like to split this. Notice by default, it comes up Number of columns 2; we're just going to say make this 5, and we'll get five small columns.
One of which we'll use for a title, the second of which we'll use for a first name, and then we'll have space for a last name. Now we can go in and go back to the Design tab and put a border on here. Now normally when you do borders, you'll actually work from the bottom of your form up, because when I go here and insert a border, notice that I'm inserting simply a bottom border, and Word will take advantage of that magic moment to take the top border off. So I have a couple of choices. One is I can go in and say well, actually I would like to be more specific, and I'm fine with having a top border here and a bottom border.
But the easiest thing to do is simply to start at the bottom. So we're going to put a border on here, a bottom border on here, and then click in each of these cells for our three borders here. Same thing here; work your way from the bottom to the top, and it's pretty fast. You can also use the Repeat key, hold Ctrl and hit the letter Y, and throw those borders in very, very quickly. Now if I take a look at this and we turn off the Gridlines, you'll see that it actually makes perfect sense how somebody would enter information in here.
Nobody is going to get lost trying to enter information in your form, particularly when we have a dropdown here that actually has titles in it. Let's go back to the Design tab and take a look at some other choices that we might want to make. So, for example, at the bottom of our form, we have an area For Office Use Only. It's pretty traditional and folks understand that when you have an area that says For Office Use Only, if it's gray- shaded as well, they don't need to write in it. So we can go to Shading and we can choose. Now, when we choose colors in Word 2007, if you choose Theme Colors, these colors will change as the theme of the document changes.
If I go to Page Layout and switch from one theme to the next, my colors will change. If I want this to stay gray all the time then, a particular color of gray, when I choose my color, I won't choose it from the Theme Colors I'll actually choose it from the Standard Colors. And because I don't have a gray, I'll choose More Colors, and choose a gray that I would like, and say OK. So that will be gray no matter what happens to the other colors here in the form as I change my theme. Finally, I have some other items here; Use the following name in all acknowledgments, Use this picture in the donor directory: I probably don't want to have gridlines around those, and so I'll go ahead and turn once again, turn my Borders off, and simply allow a line here, a bottom border, for the name that wants to go into the acknowledgments.
You might also have data that you want to format using these tools here, our Table Styles. Don't be afraid to use these, because they're grand. If I say, for example, that I'd like to have alternating rows that people can read easily, that looks good in a form, the colors come from your theme. Now if I want to say that I have or don't have a Header Row, I can turn that off here. My Banded Rows come to me from this control, and the fact that the first column has been bolded, and that the Header Row has been bolded is because these two items are turned on.
When I turn them off, the bolding goes away. So, simply Banded Rows that I might want to have here. Choose a color that goes along with everything else, and this kind of a green bar or a light blue bar is really easy for folks to read. So if you have rows and rows of things for people to fill -in, simply adding a Table Style is a really good idea. We've now used Table Styles, Borders and Shading to be able to do some formatting. The last thing I want to make sure you know how to do is how to merge and split cells. For example, in this table, we have two items of different length here at the start, and what I'd really like is I'd like this to say that I pledge a total to be paid at a particular time, and I'd like to have some real crispness about this.
So I can either move these items so that this column follows very closely on this one, or I can split these up differently. In order to merge or split cells, I choose the cells that I want to merge. Now the easiest way to choose a cell if you're not familiar is to point to it so that your arrow actually leans in, and select these both. So if I do that and I go to Layout, I can merge these two cells and they'll be right next to each other. I can also merge these two cells so that they're right next to each other.
If I want to split cells, you saw how we did this up here for Name. So merge and split cells are two things that you'll want to do to be able to make sure you can lay out this table neatly. This is looking pretty good. We're going to leave it for now. We've inserted our tables, we've formatted our tables, we're in good shape, and ready to move on to inserting Content Controls in the next movie.
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