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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
Skill Level Intermediate
There's no shortage of applications you can use to create electronic forms in Microsoft Office 2010. I even have a friend who created the United States IRS 1040 Form in Microsoft PowerPoint. I don't recommend it, but it's possible. Let's take a look at the tools that are actually designed to create forms. First, Microsoft Access. Access creates forms that users can view or enter data into the tables of an Access database with. So if you have an Access database, you would almost always create your forms within Microsoft Access.
Excel is also a fine form creation tool and I would tend to develop forms in Excel if they were calculation-heavy, because in Excel, every time I change data, then my calculations will change as well. The same is true with Access, but Excel is more broadly used. The newest form tool in Microsoft Office is called InfoPath. It's an amazing form tool. It's the form tool of choice if you're going to create forms and post them on a SharePoint site. InfoPath has a lot of the power of Excel and Access, but it is also very easy to use and can be used to create forms that are viewed in a browser, so they're somewhat platform independent.
Microsoft Outlook also has a set of form creation tools. It's used specifically to create customized versions of a message form or a contact form for example or a customized calendar appointment. Finally then, we have Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word is used for forms more than any of these other applications other than InfoPath and there's a reason for that. There are more Microsoft Word users than there are Access users or 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.
Additionally, it doesn't take any extra skill. When I create a form in Excel, I either have to make it incredibly simple or I have to know that my users have a certain amount of expertise. In Microsoft Word, I can easily bridge the gap so that my advanced users get powerful forms, but my novice users get easy to use forms. For all of these reasons, Microsoft Word is often the tool of choice that users turn to, to create powerful flexible forms in office 2010.