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Word 2010: Forms in Depth
Illustration by Neil Webb

Inserting a DropDownList control


From:

Word 2010: Forms in Depth

with Gini Courter

Video: Inserting a DropDownList control

We have our form and we've already added content controls to capture plain text and rich text. Now we're going to start adding controls that are convenient for users, because it allows them simply to go in and click and choose an item from a list. There are two different types of these controls. The first is called the Drop-Down List control and it's used when you can describe the entire universe of choices that a user would need to select from. An example of this might be a list of credit card types that we accept.

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Word 2010: Forms in Depth
2h 4m Intermediate May 24, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Gini Courter introduces the form creation tools found in Word 2010 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 check 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 2010 Essential Training

Topics include:
  • Setting up a form
  • 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
Subjects:
Business Forms
Software:
Office Word
Author:
Gini Courter

Inserting a DropDownList control

We have our form and we've already added content controls to capture plain text and rich text. Now we're going to start adding controls that are convenient for users, because it allows them simply to go in and click and choose an item from a list. There are two different types of these controls. The first is called the Drop-Down List control and it's used when you can describe the entire universe of choices that a user would need to select from. An example of this might be a list of credit card types that we accept.

We only take Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, therefore, that's the entire universe. A perfect choice for a list control. Combo boxes, which we'd talk about in the next movie, are used when you're not sure you can describe the entire universe. You have most of the choices but you'd still like to allow the user to type in a choice if it's missing. Let's go ahead now and create some drop-down lists for our users using the Drop-Down List content control. The first thing we're going to do is add a list of departments.

There are five departments that we have. Administration, the Greenhouse, the Nursery, Retail, and the Warehouse. In order to add a drop-down list, first we'll click where we wanted to go. Go to the Developer tab, click Design Mode, and here is the Drop-Down List Content Control. So we're going to click and it'll always say Choose an item and we might want to be more specific, for example, Choose a department.

Let's go ahead and click the Properties now and see how this works. First, the title that appears on the top even when I'm not in Design mode, then a tag to accompany this data when I use it somewhere else. I don't want users removing the content control, so we're going to click the locking on it just as we did with our text box controls. You'll really get to turning off the ability to delete controls. Now if I wanted to say Choose an item as my first item, I can. I can also modify that to say Choose a department and then I'm going to start adding items.

I click Add and type the first one, which is Administration, and I press Enter. Notice when I do that the Add button is still enabled because I clicked it last. So I can simply press Enter again and type Greenhouse. Enter again, Nursery. When I click Enter this time, it clicks OK. Enter again, clicks Add, so you can get a real rhythm going if you have a longish list to put in here, as long as you only use the keyboard keys and the Enter button.

Now we have a list of all of our items. I'm going to click OK and let's go out of Design mode and see how this works. Choose a department and the user selects from a list. I'm going to go back to Choose a department. Let's go back now to Design mode and take a look at some other areas where you could put this. A list of titles fits fine right here. Titles like Dr, Mr, or Ms, that sort of thing. We have a list of known locations where employees work, places like Ventura, San Mateo, Studio City.

We could put that list here, alphabetized as well. We also have a list here that's a little interesting because we've turned a list that could have been a combination list into a list with the word Other. That allows the user to choose an option. So now it's the whole universe, the four things we knew about, Now, Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual, plus this Other, which is basically give me a phone call. Or we could decide to turn that into a combo box.

So I think we'll save this one and turn it into a combination box later. And then finally, we have three specific choices here. I will make this contribution in the form of a payroll deduction, payable check, or a credit card. And so we could put a drop-down list box on here that has simply those three choices. There is our entire universe. And finally, here we could add our drop-down list of the credit card types that we accept. Very easy to put in list boxes. Make sure when you're using them you know the entire universe of choices.

When you leave Design mode, make sure you also test them and make sure that they work. This is a great way to make it easy for users to enter very, very consistent data in your Word forms.

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