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Ever had to fill in a form electronically to apply something?

Here is the scenario:

  • You open must apply electronically for something
  • You download a microsoft word document
  • You open it and see that the document containst 'grey-out field' that you can only replace, write before or after, or double click and change their default value

I was in that sutuation a couple of times over the past few years and couldn't find how to write in those fields, and ended up either giving up and printing the document and filling it manually, or replacing the grey fields with normal text.

Googling and using Microsoft Word help wasn't any helpful as the only search/help result consisted in tutorials explaining how to create the fill-in forms.

Any idea how to persuade word to le me fill-in these fields?

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Did you open the file with macros enabled? If they're not enabled you can't write in those fields. – alex Oct 23 '09 at 13:53
up vote 18 down vote accepted

Just cracked the mistery!!!

In word 2007:

  1. Click on the office logo (top left hand corder of the word window)
  2. Click on word options
  3. In the popular section, check Show developer tab in the ribbon (or in the customize ribbon section, tick the 'developer' tab under 'main tabs')
  4. Now on the ribbon, select the Developer tab
  5. Click on the Protect document icon/button, a new inspector/sidebar should appear on the right side of the screen
  6. In the inspector/sidebar, in the 2. section, check Allow only this type of editing in the document, then chose Filling in forms in the drop down list immediately bellow.
  7. Press the Yes, start enforcing protection button and provide a password when asked.

This is probably one of the greatest (and well hidden!) great feature of word. Once you set your password, only somebody that knows your password can chage what you entered in the grey-out field!

I really wonder why the microsoft office team took so much effort in hidding that great feature!

Hope this helps!

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For those who are using Office:Mac 2011 - you can find this option by going to the "Review" tab and clicking the "Document" button under the "Protection" category and then selecting "Forms" as the protection level. – idolize Jul 2 '13 at 1:46

For Office 2010:

  1. Select File > Protect Document > Restrict Editing

enter image description here

  1. Click "Yes, Start Enforcing Protection" after ensuring "Filling in Forms" is selected as the Editing Restructions. No password is required (it should have been set by the author - it is required to get back in to edit mode).

enter image description here

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