How to Save a Word Document As a Usable Form

by Terri H. Weisser
legal form image by max blain from

You have used the Forms toolbar in Microsoft Word to create a great looking form. But, now you need to figure out how to make it really work to gather data. The process of creating an interactive form that allows users to enter text only in the form fields you have created without being able to change any of the document content or layout isn't too difficult, once you take a few important steps.

Create Locked and Password Protected Forms

Step 1

Open the Microsoft Word form with your completed layout and all form fields inserted.

Step 2

Verify that the "Forms" toolbar is displayed. If it is not, select the "View" drop down menu then click "Toolbars" and "Forms."

Step 3

Click the "Protect Form" button on the "Forms" toolbar. (It is shaped like a lock.) This will restrict cursor movement to form fields only.

Step 4

Select the "Tools" drop down menu and click "Protect Document." The "Protect Document" task pane will display.

Step 5

Select the "Allow only this type of editing in the document" check box and then choose the "Filling in forms" option in the list of editing restrictions.

Step 6

Click the "Yes, Start Enforcing Protection" button on the "Protect Document" task pane. The "Start Enforcing Password" dialog box is displayed.

Step 7

Enter and re-enter a password for the document. (This prevents form users from changing the document or layout.) Click the "OK" button.

Save the locked and password protected document.


  • Be certain to select a password that will be easy for all form administrators to remember as the password cannot be reset or retrieved.
  • Microsoft Word is useful for basic forms and data gathering. If you need more detailed data capturing techniques or data analysis, consider using a different application--such as Microsoft Access.


  • Email the locked and password protected form to your users. Then, the completed form can be emailed back as an attachment--allowing you to capture that specific set of data. Simply save the document with a unique name for each individual who completes the form.
  • Also, when creating the initial form, consider the use of tables to keep the format clean and lined up.


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About the Author

Terri Weisser has been writing training and educational content since 1996. She has prepared materials for companies such as Walmart, Tribute Software, MetalSite, Relizon and Warehouse Specialists. Weisser holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Akron.

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