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I want to send someone a form in a document, have them fill it in and send it back to me. What is the best document format that can handle this?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would use PDF forms. You can make them with OpenOffice / LibreOffice Writer. Create PDF Forms with LibreOffice.

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Simplest way

The simplest way You can use simply MS Word / LibreOffice Writer or MS Excel / LibreOffice Calc.

In Word / Writer, you can create a table to separate fields.

In Excel / Calc, you can use the cell divisions to use as the fields. You can protect worksheet locking some cells used for the field labels.

Cloud way

Use http://docs.google.com , so you can do the 3-in-1 work (create forms, distribute forms and collect data).

The only problem is about to distribute and collect data, because if you share the form with only Google users, non-Google users cannot access it, and if you share with everyone with the link, anyone can enter data twice or as another person.

But you can do that:

  • Create a password for each one and give it to each respective.
  • Share the form with everyone with link
  • Delete duplicated data (use the "smaller date") and data with wrong password (you can store password in another worsheet and use it after collecting data to identify wrong entries)

You can use another online services, but you will have the same problem that the users must create account on them or you have to create an unique identifier like a password for them...

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I prefer google doc's form. Sending file back and forth is no fun. But if it has to be a file, usually people use PDF.

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Microsoft Word has a Restrict editing option which can be used for your purpose. You can create a form, go to Review and click on Restrict Editing.

Once under Restrict Editing you will have several option on how to restrict the document.

** To create forms in Word you have to enable the Developer tab

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