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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Saving and Printing a Form

After filling out the form, you will probably want to either save the form input in a file or send the completed form to the printer. The following sections explain both of those operations.

Saving Only the Form Data

In Word 2003, you could set a save option in the Save As dialog box to save only the form data in a plain text file. You can’t do that from the Save As dialog box anymore, but there’s an alternative method you can use.

To save only the form data in a text file, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File, Options. The Word Options dialog box opens.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down to the Preserve Fidelity When Sharing This Document section, and make sure the correct document is selected on the list.
  4. Mark the Save Form Data as Delimited Text File check box and click OK.
  5. Choose File, Save As. The Save As dialog box opens with Plain Text set as the file type.
  6. Type a name for the file and click Save to save the text file.

In the resulting text file, the data is comma-delimited with quotation marks around text entries. For example, an address block might look like this:

“Sheri Harris”,“10783 Westwood Place”,“Anderson”,“IN”,“46282”

Printing Only the Form Data

Printing form data is similar to saving form data, in that it works only with legacy form fields, not content controls. When you choose to print only the form data, none of the other text from the form prints. However, if the form was constructed within a table, and that table had visible borders or shading, the table will print along with the data. (If you don’t want the table to print, set its borders to None before printing.)

To print only the form data, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File, Options. The Word Options dialog box opens.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down to the When Printing This Document section and ensure that you have selected the correct document on the list.
  4. Mark the Print Only the Data from a Form check box.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Print the document as you normally would. None of the text prints except the text in the form fields.

Tips for Creating Printed Forms

Some forms end up being used for both onscreen and on-paper data entry. That’s fine, but what constitutes an effective online form might not always be the same as what constitutes an effective printed form.

You want to think about a few things when moving between printed and electronic formats:

  • In an onscreen field, users can enter a lot of data in a small field because the text scrolls within the field (at least it does on a legacy form field). When that field is printed, however, there will be a limited amount of space for it. Will your users be able to adequately record their entries in the space provided?
  • Drop-down fields do not work on a printed form, so you must replace them with check boxes or option buttons. (See the sidebar “Using Option Buttons on a Form” earlier in this chapter for details.)
  • Check boxes might need to be larger on printed forms than on electronic ones. To change the size of a check box, right-click it and choose Properties and make the change in its Options dialog box.
  • Calculated fields and fields that insert the current date/time do not work on printed forms, so remove them or change them to user-editable fields.
  • Instead of using a legacy check box field, you might prefer to use a bullet character that looks like a check box. If the form will not be submitted electronically, it doesn’t matter that it’s not a real field. Also, more formatting options are available with a bullet character.
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