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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
Skill Level Intermediate
Every once in a while we get a new version of Microsoft Office, and we go through and we're amazed by how good it looks, how easy it is to work with. I don't know any Office 2007 user that wants to head back to office 2003, and then we'll get to some feature that's missing and say, hmm, what did they think they were doing there? For example, I love the Ribbon but I hate the fact that I can only customize this tiny area of it. When you get to Word 2010, you can customize the Ribbon again.
We have a similar thing going on here in Forms Development. If we look at our Legacy tools for Word 2003 and earlier versions, it really only has three controls; a Combo Box, a Text Form, and a Check Box. But lo and behold in Word 2007, there's no check box. Now, I want to encourage you against choosing the check box here, because this form field has never been a pretty form field. Let's go see how it works. I'm going to just drop down to the bottom of my form and I'm going to insert a check box.
And now if I'm not in Design mode when a user double-clicks on it, they get this wonderful dialog that opens and lets them change the default value to checked. This isn't how a check box should behave, it's not how a form should behave. So it wasn't that great of a control, but hmm, we'd still like to be able to enter what are called Boolean values where a user has a Yes or No choice to make. That's the kind of value that a check box is used for. We will have a Checkbox Control in Word 2010 and you may indeed have someone send you a form created in Word 2010 that has a check box on it, and you'll double-click and it won't do anything because it's not recognized in Word 2007.
You can always print it off and make a check or something. But let's look at some alternatives to check marks here. I'm simply going to open a new document, so we can take a look and say how would we represent a check mark? Well, one of the traditional ways to represent a check mark when you don't have a Checkbox Control is to actually include a dropdown list that has two values on it. Those two values would be the values Yes or No. So we're going to say that this is for whether someone wants to have a tax receipt sent to them, a reasonable thing in a Pledge form.
We're going to say that this is do they want a Receipt? And we can't use question marks in tags. But if you're creating a field like this, what's called a Boolean field, a Yes/No, True/False, 0/1 value, then you can put Y, N on the end and it will give you a good clue. We're going to say it can't be deleted, we're going to remove the value that's there now, and then we're going to add two values; Yes and No. You want to choose which is the default? So if we think everyone wants a receipt, then we'll put Yes first and if we think they don't, we'll put No first.
Then we'll have this control that we then want to change in Design mode. We put Yes first. So we'll simply put Yes... That would be what would happen if a user actually didn't want to do anything to the control. So they can choose Yes, or they can choose No, and we can tell they didn't choose anything if the prompt is still there, the dot, dot, dot, so it has some utility for us to actually make that look like any other prompt does.
Back in Design mode, let's get rid of our text, arrow down or arrow out of this control, and notice that the Yes... comes back. If we prefer, you could have Choose. That forces a choice as well, and doesn't leave Yes as this default position. So let's go back and take a look and see how that would look. We would simply re-add in the value that says Choose. We'll move it up to the top of the list; the only reason to have it, is that it belongs at the top.
If you wish here, you actually don't have to have it store a value because it's only a Placeholder. So what we could do is we could just say Choose, and leave it like that. In that case, when we go into Design mode, we'll want to change the text here to correspond to the Placeholder that's in our list, just like that. Switch out of Design mode and we have Choose and our two choices are Yes and No. These choices can just as easily be True or False, but notice there's not a third choice on the list.
If you want Yes/No/Maybe, you could do that. There's actually a check box that can represent that, that is shaded in when it's Maybe, is checked when it's Yes, and is empty when it's No. So that's another valid set of choices. So if you take a look at something that has a check box, I would like to opt out of this. You could have a would you like to opt out, Yes/No, or a dropdown that says opt-out/opt-in that the user chooses from. The other possible Control that one can use to represent what would have been a dropdown list is sometimes you will see people find a way to use a textbox.
For example, to opt out of future mailings, type your initials here and then follow that with a Textbox Control. We will have the user enter their initials. If they opt out, they have to put some initials in. If not, they're just fine. There's a third way that we can represent a True/False if it's something that changes once, and only once in time. Let's return to our form to look at an example of why we might use a Date Picker to replace the Checkbox Control that we don't have in this version of Word.
Down at the bottom we might have a check box that would say the date in which someone actually recorded this person's pledge in the payroll department. Remembering that one way to pledge is to say I'd actually like to contribute by payroll deduction, or if it's a credit card or personal check, that will go as a receivable, and then finally, it will be recorded in the books of the foundation itself. Now, we could have somebody just check a box, but it provides far more information for us to say why don't we actually put a Date Picker in here and then when it's recorded in the payroll department, someone will actually change the date? We won't just know what was recorded, we'll know when it was recorded.
So in these three cases, we could actually use a Date Picker and it would be better than a textbox, better than a Yes/No dropdown, and actually superior to a check box. Just a reminder of where you grab that Control from; in Design mode you'll find your Date Picker right here in the Control group and you simply choose the date that the payroll is recorded, give it a good name, and when it's recorded in the payroll department, that person will choose a date here. So three alternatives to the Checkbox Control that we don't have in Word 2007; we can use a Yes/No dropdown or a True/ False dropdown if it's two and only two values; we can also force someone to type some text as a way of saying either Yes or No; or finally for something that occurs at a distinct point and we want to know when it happens, we can say simply choose the date on which this happened and use the Date Picker control to record that event, and have far more information than we would have had, had we simply used a check box.