Microsoft Word - Add Descriptive Help Text To Form Fields (Word 97/2000/2001/2002)


When you create an electronic form using Word's form fields, it's important to make sure people understand how they're supposed to fill it out. One way to help people successfully complete electronic forms is to add descriptive help text to each form field. The help text you add can appear in the status bar, in a message box, or both. To add help text to a form field:


  • If the form is protected, choose Tools | Unprotect Document to unprotect it. As an alternative, toggle the Protect Form button on the Forms toolbar.
  • Double-click on the form field to which you want to add help text. In the resulting dialog box, click on the Add Help Text button.
  • Click on the Status Bar tab to add help text to the status bar, or click on the Help Key (F1) tab to add help text to a message box.
  • Select the type Your Own option button, and then enter the help text you wish to provide. (As an alternative, you can choose the desired help text from the Word's Auto Text list. To do so, select the Auto Text Entry button, then choose the desired Auto Text entry from the corresponding dropdown list.)
  • Click OK to dismiss the Form Field Help text dialog box. Then, click OK again to return to your form.
  • Click the Protect Form button on the Forms toolbar to protect the form. Or, choose Tools | Protect Document, select the Forms option button, and then click OK.

Whenever someone fills out your form, the help text for the current form field is displayed in the status bar. Or, if the help text is set up to work with the Help key, users can view it in a message box by selecting the form field and pressing [F1] ([help] or [command][/] on the Mac).

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