So, to start, the first thing you need to do is make the Developer tab visible on your main ribbon; to do that, click on the File option, then move down and select Options
Then click Customize Ribbon:
Then check the box that says Developer:
This should cause the Developer tab to appear on your main ribbon.
This should cause this to appear in your document:
That, in essence is your first fillable data field.
Next, click on Restrict Editing:
…and a side bar should appear:
Check the box that says Allow only this type of editing in the document, then click the dropdown beneath it and select Filling in forms. And then finally, click where it says Yes, start enforcing protection. You should get a popup asking if you’d like to password protect the document, for this test case, we don’t want to do that, so simply click the Ok button without entering any passwords.
At this point, you now have the simplest type of fillable form, to see it in action, click the “x” to get rid of the Restrict Editing box, then put your cursor on your field and click once, where the words Click here to enter text appear. Type something, it should appear in your data field. Then, move your cursor somewhere else and try to type anything; it shouldn’t let you; Word is restricting you to editing text in the document only in the field you created.
And that is the basis of creating fillable forms; everything else is pretty much stuff to make it prettier.
Do note however that there are controls for other types of data fields:
Picture Content Control – Allows user to insert an image
Building Block Gallery Content Control – Allows user to insert Quickparts
Combo Box Content Control – Allows user to insert a combination of text and building blocks
Drop-Down List Content Control – Allows user to choose from a drop-down list
Date Picker Control – Restricts user to inputting a valid date
Check Box Content Control – Allows user to choose from a check box.
Legacy Tools – Allow for the use of tools from previous versions of Active X.
To make your filled fields more useful, it’s best to use a Table, and some formatting to create something like this:
Fillable forms are useful when you want to use a single document to collect a bunch of data from a group of people. All you have to do is create the document with the fillable forms in it, send a copy to each person, then, then after they fill it in they can just save it and send it back to you. This way you don’t have to worry about other’s messing up formatting and not knowing where they are supposed to put their data.