Exploring Office 2007: Working with Survey Forms in Word 2007

Most of us are very familiar with surveys because we have completed them from time to time. We know how to fill them in and we have experienced both good and bad surveys — some are cumbersome to complete while others are very simple and straightforward.

When it comes time to create your own surveys, your should plan to create a survey that is functional and easy to complete. In this article I’ll show you how to create such a survey in Microsoft Word 2007. This can be completed easily inside Word, and it’s handy to use when you know your survey participants have access to Word.

» Step 1. Plan the survey

Before you begin in Word you should plan your survey. Determine what you want to know about the survey topic and what the person that you’re asking can help you understand about it. List the survey questions and decide how best the user can provide you with the information you need.

Surveys are more likely to be completed if they are easy to complete, so that means you should use lists that the recipient can choose an item from and checkboxes as much as possible rather than requiring the person to write their answers.

Once you have determined the questions and how they will be answered, launch Word 2007 and open a new document. Type the questions that you want to ask. To manage the layout of the form, place these in the first column of a table with its borders turned off so you can wrap long questions around inside the table cell.

To add the controls for completing the form, we’ll use options on the Developer tab. If you don’t see this tab, click the Office button > Word Options > Popular and make sure that Show Developer tab in the Ribbon is enabled.

» Step 2. Add Checkbox Controls

To add a checkbox for the user to check to select an answer, position your cursor where the checkbox should go — in our case, in a table cell opposite the question — and click the Developer tab and then click Design Mode.

Click the Legacy Tools button and, from the Legacy Forms collection, select the Check Box Form Field button. If you use Legacy tools your form can be completed by anyone using Word 2007 and earlier versions of Word.

Type the appropriate answer beside the checkbox and then repeat to add all the checkboxes you need for the choices the user has for that particular survey question.

If you have a series of questions that all use the same answer options — e.g. Very Dissatisfied, Somewhat Dissatisfied, Satisfied, Very Satisfied — then you can place the checkboxes inside a table and add the description for each checkbox into the table header row. This way you can rotate the column headings and you do not have to repeat the information for every question. You would use this where you are repeatedly using the same range of checkboxes.

Once you’ve created the first set of checkboxes you can copy and paste these to create the second set of options and so on.

» Step 3. Add Other Controls

To add an area into which the user can type a piece of text, select the Text Form Field from the Legacy Tools. This creates an area into which the user can then type a text entry.

To format the text control, right click it, choose Properties, and then add some text inside the Default Text area. Here too you can limit the amount of text which can appear in the control, if desired.

To allow the user to choose from a set of choices, select the Drop-Down Form Field control and then right click it and choose Properties. Click Add to add a list of options that the user can select from.

To neaten the form you can remove shading from the checkboxes and drop down lists. To do this, click the Legacy Form > Form Field Shading option. This toggles form field shading on or off for the entire form.

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