Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Introduction to Office 2016 forms, part of Word 2016: Forms in Depth.
- There's no shortage of applications that you can use to create electronic forms in Microsoft Office 2016. Let's look at the office form tools. First, Microsoft Access. Access creates forms that users can view or enter data into the tables of an Access or SQL Server database. If you have an Access database, or if you have a large database that you can create an Access front-end for, you will almost always create your form within Microsoft Access. You can also use Access to create forms to view or enter data from SharePoint lists.
Excel is also a fine form creation tool and I develop many forms in Excel if the forms include a lot of calculations, like an order form. In Excel, every time I change the data, the results of my calculations change as well without my needing to anticipate how I will calculate. The same is true with Access but Excel is more broadly used. InfoPath is the form tool of choice if you're going to create forms and post them on a SharePoint site. We've heard that InfoPath will be replaced with something else but that still hasn't happened.
And the current version of InfoPath will be good until 2013 for on-premises SharePoint installations. So if you haven't dived into InfoPath and have wondered if you should, consider it, particularly for use in SharePoint. This is no 2016 version of InfoPath. You simply use InfoPath 2013 with SharePoint 2016. InfoPath has a lot of power, like Excel and Access, but it's also very easy to use and can be used to create forms that open natively in a browser.
Microsoft Outlook also has a set of form creation tools. Outlook tools are used specifically to create customized versions of the forms that already exist in Outlook. For example, a revised Contact form that includes other fields you'd like to see, a customized version of a Message form. Finally, then, we have Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word is used to create more forms than any of the other Office applications. And there's a reason for that. First, there are more Word users than there are Access users, or even Excel users.
Because there's a broad, established base of Microsoft Word users, it's easy to assume that if I create a form in Microsoft Word, many, many people will be able to use it, even if they're outside of my organization and I can't anticipate what's on their computers. Additionally, it doesn't take any extra skill to use a Word form. When I create a form in Excel, I either have to make it fairly simple, or I have to know that my users have a certain amount of expertise. In Microsoft Word, I can easily bridge that gap so that my advanced users get very powerful forms but my novice users get forms that are easy to use.
For all of these reasons, Microsoft Word is often the tool of choice to create powerful, flexible forms in Microsoft Office.
- Starting with a form template
- Gathering form requirements
- Formatting form tables
- Inserting form controls: lists, date pickers, check boxes, and more
- Protecting the form
- Saving a form as a Word 2016 template
- Sharing Word form templates with your team
- Creating forms with Word building blocks