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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Feed a Word form (XP)

    We have a form in Word. The goal is to have a front end that prompts for some of the information in the form...like the person's name, date of hire, etc., and fill it in to the form. The person filling this form out would never see it.

    1. Is this possible?
    2. Should I use Excel or Word?
    3. What type of Office technologies do you recommend I do my research on to do this?

    The front end will feed Word: the user never sees the Word form until they are ready to print, and then it will not let them type in it. The goal is to make sure they can never type directly into the Word form. I'm not sure how I can use ODBC to "talk" to another Word document. I felt like I'd have to use Word to Excel. I am thinking about trying to do this in Excel because I can make buttons and such. Would this be something you could you use a mail merge?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Feed a Word form (XP)

    Are you familiar with Word's form features? The user can be locked out of filling in anything except your data fields. But of course the user would have to be able to see the form.

    While I love Excel for doing calculations, its methods for laying out and wrapping give me headaches. It is not the best tool for creating documents if calculations are not required.

    If you're looking for something fancier, you can have the user start from any "VBA host." That could be a Word document, an Excel workbook, or an Access application. From any of those platforms, you can display a VBA UserForm, which is a sophisticated dialog box in which you can create the usual text input controls, listboxes, drop-downs, buttons, and so on. Your VBA code for the UserForm can validate the data and reject incomplete entries. Once the user has completed the input to your program's satisfaction, you can use VBA to automate the creation and printing of a Word document filled in with the data you collected. Although it is possible to do this as a two-step merge process (save data to a data source, then run a merge), if you are creating this from scratch it probably is easier to insert the data directly into your existing template. Note that Word documents can be automated "invisibly" so that the user will not see the document. However, during development and testing, you should keep everything visible. There's nothing worse than trying to iron out bugs in an invisible application! What I just described might take an experienced VBA programmer several hours to complete. If you do not have an experienced VBA programmer, it could take longer because UserForms can be a bit fiddly.

  3. #3
    4 Star Lounger
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    Re: Feed a Word form (XP)

    I'm with Jefferson that a protected Word document with FormFields is the better solution here. You can control exactly what the user can do and can't do. By pressing the Tab and Shift+Tab key he can 'walk' through the FormFields that you allowed him to fill out.
    The trouble with your approach is that the user doesn't see the completed form and thus cannot check if he didn't make any mistakes. Of course he can check it in the input front end, but in my experience, users seldom do... One of the reasons is that many users have trouble 'visualising' what goes where in the document from the input form, despite descriptive labels on the form.

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Feed a Word form (XP)

    I have read your post again, and I am not entirely sure what you are trying to do.

    Did you create the original word document, containing the form? Or are you trying to manage input to a protected document created by someone else?
    Do you have full control over the original document?

    StuartR

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