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Chapter 22. Creating Dynamic Documents w... > Creating a Data-Entry Form

Creating a Data-Entry Form

Word contains extensive tools for building forms that you can use in a number of ways:

  • You can create a form that's designed to be printed and subsequently filled out with a pen or a typewriter. Typically, you'll create and maintain such a form as a standard Word document.

  • You can make a form that's designed to be filled out online (by using either Word or a Web browser). The user fills in the missing information—say, customer name and line items for an invoice, or payment instructions for a statement—and then prints the form. These kinds of forms are almost invariably set up as templates, with portions of the form (say, the return address) “locked” so the user can't alter them. When the form is filled out (as in Figure 22.6), it can be printed, saved, or handled like any other document.

    Figure 22.6. A custom invoice form created and saved as a template can be filled out and mailed to a customer.


    Although Word can certainly perform most of the functions required of these online forms, if the people filling out the forms will be using Word, you should consider using custom dialog boxes in VBA/Word for this type of work. VBA/Word has a great deal of power not available directly in Word forms, and has the added benefit of a full development and testing environment, which Word forms can't begin to match.

  • You might post a more sophisticated online form on your company's Web site, so a potential customer could fill in her name and address, and request a catalog. The information would be sent by e-mail to someone inside your company. These forms exist as Word HTML documents, and must include a Submit or Image Submit button, so the form results can be transmitted by e-mail.

  • At the highest end of the chain, you can create Word forms that interact directly with a database so, for example, a customer participating in your company's extranet can enter orders directly, and have your internal order database updated without any further human intervention.



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