Using tables to design a form
Video: Using tables to design a formWhen you start creating a form in Microsoft Word 2010 you might start with one of several different sources. As we saw in an earlier movie you could use a template that someone else had created. But it may be that you have a paper form that's used in your office or a form that doesn't exist anywhere else that you need to create from scratch. Whether you are re-creating a manual form electronically or creating a form from scratch, you'll use Word tables to lay out your form and to help keep all of the different parts and sections of it together to structure the form itself.
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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
- 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
Using tables to design a form
When you start creating a form in Microsoft Word 2010 you might start with one of several different sources. As we saw in an earlier movie you could use a template that someone else had created. But it may be that you have a paper form that's used in your office or a form that doesn't exist anywhere else that you need to create from scratch. Whether you are re-creating a manual form electronically or creating a form from scratch, you'll use Word tables to lay out your form and to help keep all of the different parts and sections of it together to structure the form itself.
If you don't have a form that you're starting with already then you'll begin by making a list of the data that needs to be included in the form and organizing it in a way that makes sense to you. We're taking look at our list of information that we're going to use to create a pledge form for the Two Trees Olive Oil Foundation. This is a form that will be used internally by employees who give money to the group that strengthening the communities where we work and live. That's their motto. So there's a list of information here. Beginning first with Today's Date we would like to know what day the employee filled out a form and then some information about how to find them internally.
We then allowed the employee to make some choices about what kinds of initiatives they'd like to support, to make a pledge and to save how they would like it to be paid, then to determine their contribution method. Should we take it out of their paycheck? Do they want a pay it with a credit card or do they want to provide a personal check from time to time? If they are allowing us to take it from a credit card then we'll need to have some specific credit card information including their billing zip code.
Then we would like to know how they would like to be acknowledged. Do they want to use their full name perhaps? Do they want to use their nickname? So, how would you like your name to be shown when we list our donors? And we have a directory that includes pictures or perhaps employee might want to have their gift given anonymously. There is some information here at the bottom. Here's how you would make a check payable if you were to use a check. Then finally there's a section that would be used only in the office, recording this donation that had been made by the employee.
So now that we know what data we want to include we can start to think about how we would use tables to lay out this form. We use tables for a couple of reasons. One is that it provides nice lines on a form. So if a user does want to print out a form, they can. But the other thing is that tables structure the data. They allow us to put it in different areas. So we could create one long table here for all of these parts and pieces or a series of smaller table that would allow us to capture this information.
Let's go ahead and create a table for the section that's called Donor Information so that we can see how this works. I'm simply going to go to the end of Donor Information and press Enter and then we're going to insert a table. Now often when you are creating a table for a form that's in portrait mode you'll find yourself creating tables that either have five or seven columns in them. The reason that you'll have an odd number of columns is that with a five column table you will actually have places to enter three pieces of data here, here, and here and then have space between the columns.
If I undo that and we put in a seven column table, you'll see that you can enter four pieces of information in a seven column table, 1, 2, 3, 4, and still leave room in-between for spacing. If we expect that we're going to want to cram a lot of information into the height of a form, then we're better off trying to move quickly to a seven column table. But it's more compact, not quite as inviting for users. So we're going to try to create a five column table here and see how we feel about it when we're done.
I'm going to choose Insert > Table and just lay out a five column table and a couple of rows, two or three rows. So here is our donor information section and we'd like somebody's name, but we actually would like to be able to separate their first name and their last name and their title, because that works nicely. We will go ahead and make a space for that. I'm going to select the entire form by choosing Ctrl+A or triple-clicking anywhere in the form and then change the base font for the entire form by choosing Calibri.
Now I want to provide space for the information that someone would enter above their name. So we're going to put name and then I'm going to assume that they'll put their first name here and an initial and a last name. Then that would leave us room actually to put today's date out here on the right, but we can wait on that if we wish. There's a place for department name and here's a space for a location. I'm going to make this column much narrower here, because we're really using it for spacing between the department and the location, between the name and whatever we enter next.
Then we would like to have their extension and their email address. Now notice that you can adjust these columns however you wish to leave lots of room or very little room. Lots of room is usually better and we will probably want more space for things like the name and email address than we'll need for, for example, a telephone extension. So how you line these things up, we might want to put email address over here and extension over here on the right to give us more space.
There's no reason one of those things has to be before the other. So we actually get to create than more space here on the left. Then finally let's go ahead and take this today's date. Now I could have all this time simply been copying and pasting, moving things around as I wish, as you can tell. That gives us some other issues, because there's formatting that's been included with all of these items as they're listed, but that's a valid way to do this as well to keep dragging your labels in until you run out. But there are those six items that we had, the five pieces of Donor Information and Today's Date all arranged into a table.
Let's go ahead and delete those and you see how we begin to use tables to create our form. I'm going to go ahead and use a table in the second section as well and the reason I'm going to use a table is I want to have a series of checkboxes out here where these bullets are. In order to left align the items in my list and have my checkboxes spaced out evenly as well I'm going to create a simple two-column table. One for the check box, one for the text that's going to follow it.
Let's insert a table that's a two column table and that has space for six items on it, because that's how many we have here. We're going to adjust the left column of this table well over and then we'll simply begin, first by turning off the bullets on all of these items and then it's a simple matter to drag them up into our table and simply say I would like the text only. So I have a nice-looking table here. I would like a little bit more space underneath this paragraph.
For a little more space prior to my table. I'll continue to create tables in this form to be able to space items out in the same way, regardless of whether I have a five column table or a two column table. Each section fills the entire page and looks good. Now when I look at the form though, the tables don't actually look all that beautiful. The tables look little kludgey in the form and that's because they have all these borders around them. One of the things that I can do is I can adjust the borders to remove them. We will do that in the next movie as we go along.
For now, simply get comfortable using one or more layout tables to deal with different sections of text in your document, to be able to structure it in such a way that it's easy to look at and that like kinds of information are kept together in a single table.
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