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Word 2010: Forms in Depth
Illustration by Neil Webb

Inserting content controls


From:

Word 2010: Forms in Depth

with Gini Courter

Video: Inserting content controls

We created our form using tables to provide structure and used borders and shading and other table features to make the tables in the form easier to look at and easier to use. Now we're ready to insert form controls to capture data in our form. We'll place a control every place we would like a user to provide information. And the types of controls that we use depend on the kinds of data that we want to collect. In this movie, we're going to focus on two specific types of controls used to capture text.

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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 content controls

We created our form using tables to provide structure and used borders and shading and other table features to make the tables in the form easier to look at and easier to use. Now we're ready to insert form controls to capture data in our form. We'll place a control every place we would like a user to provide information. And the types of controls that we use depend on the kinds of data that we want to collect. In this movie, we're going to focus on two specific types of controls used to capture text.

I'm going to click on the Developer tab and remember that the controls are found over here in the Controls group. The first type of control that we're looking at is called the Rich Text content control and it's used for text that we might want someone to format. For example, if we'd like to ask someone for comments and give them the ability to provide information in bold or to change a font color or to italicize or provide a bulleted list, then, we might use a Rich Text content control. Plain Text controls are traditionally, used for shorter pieces of text.

The control by default only allows you to enter text to the point where you press Enter or you begin to create a new paragraph. But in Word 2010, you can even change that. Most of the text that we want to collect here is plain text. There's no reason for someone to spend a lot of time formatting, for example, their first name or today's date or any of this other information. So let's go ahead and add a text control. The way we'll do that is we're going to click where the first name field will go. This is the title field, and the title field will actually have a drop-down list of titles for the user to choose from.

So this is our very first text field. We're going to enter into Design mode by clicking the Design Mode button on the Developer toolbar in the Controls group, and we're going to click once on the Plain Text Content Control to add a plain textbox here. Notice that it has some placeholder text prefabricated in it that says Click here to enter text. Using the arrow keys or using the mouse, I can select that text and put other information, if I would like to in the same space. For example, I can put a placeholder that says First Name.

Don't worry that this wraps on two lines. In Design mode, we actually get to see the tags that are being provided for that control and they take up some space. You'll notice when I switch out of Design mode, the placeholder fits nicely in the space that's available here. Let me click Design Mode again to go back into Design mode and now let's click the Properties and take a look at the settings that are possible for this particular content control. This is XML data so it has a title, a friendly name we might give it.

It would also have a tag and this tag is data about the data you collect in the form, or metadata. Because XML and HTML and other markup languages should be human understandable, it doesn't hurt for the title and the tag to be quite similar here. We could simply put FName for first name if we wish. We could apply a particular style to format the contents. We won't do that with this particular text box, but we will with another. And we can say when the user is working on this form, they're not allowed to delete the first name content control.

We actually want them either to leave it blank or to enter information in it. The contents can be edited, so we will leave this turned off. We don't want to allow multiple paragraphs, so we will leave that as well and click OK. Now you'll notice that the tags actually change to FName, the tag we provided, and here's the title on top. If I turn Design mode back off, you can actually see the title. You don't see the tags anymore once you leave Design mode. I'm going to return to Design mode and insert another Plain Text content control for the last name just so we can see this happen again. Select the text.

That's what I'd like my user to see. I'd like to enter a last name and then I can drop into the Properties and either put Last Name or LName. If you're doing a fair amount of development, you'll get used to having short names like LName, FName, MName for Middle Name, and so on. And I'm going to say OK, and we're going to switch back out of Design mode, and you'll notice that when the user is looking at the form not in Design mode, these placeholders are an invitation for them to click and then to type. Let's return to Design mode and create a Plain Text control for Email.

And again, we can format that in the same way. If we wanted to, you could say Type your email address. If we want the work email address, we could say so. And change the Properties. There is the title and a tag. So notice the title again on the top, the tag only visible when you're in Design mode. And the tag is also used for some other purposes we'll talk about later. It is the data about the data.

The title simply allows you while you're working on the form to see what's going on here. We can add other fields as well for extension. Here we have a field that we would describe as an inline field. We have a dollar sign, we need to collect some information, and so we're going to put a plain text box here, and it's really pretty big. In Design mode, we're going to go in and change the text here, so that it simply says the word amount, and we'll leave that as it is.

Change the Properties and say this is for an amount of my pledge. And say OK. And you'll notice that this doesn't fit exceptionally well in Design mode, but when we turn it back off, it's pretty good. We could now go in and delete some of the spaces around this so that we had a tighter fit. We have a dollar sign no space, a space after the word amount. That's exactly how we would like that kind of an inline control to be placed.

Now if we wanted to provide a place for someone to enter text that was rich text, it would work exactly the same way. We'd simply click the Rich Text control, and you'll find when you check its Properties that they are absolutely, the same, except with a Rich Text control, you never have to specify that you're allowed to type multiple paragraphs. That's built into the Rich Text control. But again, there's no reason to assume that anyone would want to format this text. So we'll be using Plain Text controls for the remainder of the items in this form that require them.

I would encourage you to practice a bit with your form, but then before you fill all of these fields in with text controls, wait and see where we use drop-down lists and combo boxes and items that we'll see in the next few movies.

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