Word: Creating Fillable Forms Without Acrobat

For a lot of us, creating a fillable form means going to Acrobat, which boasts a robust fillable forms feature. (By the way, if you are interested in learning about Acrobat Fillable forms, please attend one of my training sessions on the subject!)

Word also has the ability to create forms fields; this is by no means intended to replace Acrobat in the Fillable Forms sphere, but it does offer some unique abilities… and there may be times you even prefer Word to Acrobat for this purpose.

Let’s check it out.

Exercise File

To follow along, download the exercise here: WordFormExercise

This is a sign up sheet for a fictional session. So far, there is just some text for guidelines for form fields. We will be inserting the form fields throughout the document, prompted by the text.

Also, here is a Solution Document. This will give you an idea of where we are going with this exercise.

Developer Tab

To see your form field tools, you will need to activate the Developer tab in the ribbon.

  1. Right click on the ribbon
  2. Select Customize the Ribbon
    Right click, customize ribbon selected
  3. Check the box next to Developer and click ok.

Developer Selected

  1. Now you should have a new tab called the Developer tab, complete with group called Controls, where we are going to experiment.

Controls group, Developer tab

Navigation

Fields

In your new Developer tab, the Controls group contains a series of form fields that can be inserted. Hover your mouse over each one to see their function.

Form fields

Design Mode

There is a button in this group called Design Mode that you can toggle on and off during the creation of the form. Toggle this button on when designing the form, and off when you want to experience the form like your end users.

Design Mode button

Properties

When you are in Design Mode, you will have the option to edit Properties of a form field.

Properties Button

This will allow you to name your different fields, and control other features, like dropdown lists and more (stay tuned for those).

Field Options

Text Fields

Lets insert text fields for Name and Email Address.

Text Fields

  1. Click to the right of Name
  2. Select the Rich Text field (first Aa button)
  3. Click to the right of Email Address
  4. Click on the Plain Text button (second Aa button)

These two fields will behave very similarly. There are, however, more robust abilities for your users to format text with Rich Text. That being said, Plain Text offers the option in Properties to allow users to input carriage returns, which can also be handy. Both are excellent tools for fillable forms.

Picture

The Session Sign Up is requesting that people submit a bio picture. Picture attachment is a form field as well.

  1. Click to the right of Bio Picture
  2. Select the Picture form field.

Picture Form Field

This will place a box in the form that users can press to browse for and attach a picture.

Check Box

For the dietary needs area, you may want to put check boxes next to Yes and No

  1. Click to the left of Yes
  2. Select the checkbox field
    Checkbox Field
  3. Repeat with the No option

Combo Box and List Box

The Combo and List Box options are very similar; both will give users a list of options to choose from, but the Combo Box will allow users to hand type their own entries as well.

Combo and List Box buttons

  1. Click underneath the “please specify” wording in the form and select the Combo Box (the button to the right of the checkbox field).
  2. In the ribbon select Properties
    Properties Button
  3. At the bottom of the popup, press Add to add list options.List Area

Possible list options could be:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Peanut Allergy

One list item: Vegetarian

  1. Note the ability to remove list items or change their order with the buttons on the right.

Listed items

  1. Create a List box under “Which Session will you be attending?” question. Notice how you create it the same way, though unlike the Combo Box,  users will not have the ability to add their own hand written choice.
    • Possible list may be:
      • Session 1
      • Session 2
      • Session 3

Date Picker

Insert the Date Picker under the Date prompt in the form.

Date Picker Field button

This will allow users to select a date from a calendar view.

Test it Out

 Let’s test out the form. Toggle the Design Mode off.

Design Mode button

For text fields, click into the field to type text.

 

Text typed into Text Field

Click on the Bio Picture field to be prompted to browse for a picture.

Picture Field

Test out your drop down lists. With both you can press the down arrow to see the full list of options, but you can also hand type an answer on the combo box.

Dropdown list wtth special text typed

The date picker dropdown arrow brings up a useful calendar from which users can select dates.

Datepicker

Be sure to check out the Solution Document to compare. This was a quick overview, but it is a good sized byte! 😊

Thoughts?

What do you think? Did you know you could create fillable forms in Word? Do you have a handy use for this feature in your office?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

 

 

 

True Colors: Optimizing Charts for Readers with Color Vision Deficiencies

Hey, would you take a look at this chart and let me know what you think? I am particularly concerned about the sales figures I marked in red.

Chart filtered for red green color blindness. All colors appear murky green and indestinguishable

Don’t adjust your screen. You are viewing this chart through a filter that simulates the most common type of color blindness. We often have the best intentions when we try to draw attention to an element in a chart by marking it red, or by contrast to show that all is well by marking something green…  But trust me, this is the sort of thing that can ruin someone else’s day, and it is so easy to fix.

About Color Blindness

According to the NIH, color blindness or color deficiency affects around 8% of the male population and 0.5% of the female population. This means that, if your document will be viewed by 1000 people, around 45 of them will have some form of color deficiency. If you are sending it across campus, this could easily translate to several hundred people who will be affected.

It is worth noting that color deficiency is a spectrum; people can have mild to severe forms of color blindness, and not all forms of color blindness involve the same colors. The most common type of color blindness involves deficiencies in discerning the colors red and green.

A common misconception among those who are not color blind is that if someone has red/green color blindness, they only have trouble with the colors red and green. However, these deficiencies can easily affect other colors as well; for instance, maroon and brown can look identical to people with red/green color deficiencies… after all, maroon is just brown with a touch of red. In other words, it is not just the colors red and green themselves, but also those colors within other colors. It’s like an inception of color… (I still don’t understand that movie).

Troublesome Charts

Let’s take a look at a couple examples… (Disclaimer: both charts are created with entirely fictional data for purposes of illustration of chart features).

Pie chart using purple and blue to distinguish

At first glance, this chart looks great! I think I am clearly demonstrating that so many students (95%!) are happy on campus. But let’s run this through a red/green color blindness simulator…

Same chart filtered for red green color blindness: all appears purple

Wait. What is going on?? How many students are happy? Who is unhappy? Someone is 95%, but which one?

Let’s look at another.

Schools distinguished by red and green lines

We think we did a good job of drawing attention to Anthopology’s interest numbers by marking them in red…. But here is how the same chart filtered for red/green color blindness:

Same chart filtered for red/green, all lines appear green

Oh man. Maybe we didn’t do such a good job…

What You Can Do

  1. Never Use Color Alone to Convey Meaning

“Wait, are you saying I can’t use color anymore?” Of course you can! But don’t make color the only way someone can discern what is going on.

Think about incorporating labels, tables and textures in your charts (see below for some examples).

  1. Use Color Blindness Simulators to Test Documents

There are several simulators available online to help you do a final check on images or charts in your document. Here are a couple I have been using:

  • Color Oracle: This site has a free download that allows you to filter your entire screen with a couple clicks, and see how different documents would look with different types of color impairment.
  • Coblis: Color blindness simulator: upload an image to this site to see how it would look for different types of color impairments. For charts, you may have to take a screen shot so you will have an image to upload.
  • Windows 10: the settings of Windows 10 also has a color blindness simulator in settings. Go to Settings and search for Color Filter to find it.Windows 10 settings
  1. Utilize Monochromatic Color Sets

If there are only a few variables in a chart, contrast can be helpful. Regardless of a color that is perceived, gradations in color can almost always be detectable to your viewers. Monochromatic palettes consist of the same color with different gradations of lightness or darkness. See below for an example with a pie chart.

  1. Color Blind Friendly Palettes

If you are feeling fancy, there are some tried and true color-blind friendly palettes out there. Just make sure you are still not conveying meaning with color alone, because no palette can address all types of color blindness. Here is a page with some cool options, and interesting general information: Color Friendly Palettes

Exercise File

If you would like a challenge, try fixing some of the Charts in this exercise file. There are two sheets in the workbook with problematic charts and two sheets with possible solutions. That being said, there are many ways you could solve the puzzle of making these charts more accessible.

OfficeBytesColorExercise

Let’s Fix Those Charts!

If I went through all the ins and outs of chart creation, this would be much more than a byte, so please do come to my Pivot Tables, Charts and Pictures training if you get really stumped (or attend anyway, because it is a blast!)

Below is a summary of how I approached fixing the problem charts.

Chart 1

Chart 1 was this guy:

Pie chart using purple and blue to distinguish

I did two things to this chart:

  1. Utilized a monochromatic color set
  2. Added data labels

The result is conveying the same information, but the look is a bit different.

Pie chart now monochomatic yellow with labels

Running this chart through the red/green color blindness simulator (or even converting it to greyscale) it is still understandable.

Pie Chart looks mostly the smae with filter

Below are the steps I took.

Monochromatic Color

  1. Click on the chart to select it.
  2. Press the paintbrush button on the right side of the chart to access Style and Color options.
  3. Select color.
  4. Select a monochromatic color set (I picked yellow).
    Steps 1 through 4 illustrated

Data labels

  1. Click on the chart to select it.
  2. Press the + button on the right side of the chart for Chart Elements.
  3. Check the box next to Data Labels.
    • Don’t forget you can press the arrow to the right of Data Labels to access more options, like the location and appearance of the labels.Data Labels

Chart 2

Chart 2 was the fictional subject interest chart:

Schools distinguished by red and green lines

To fix this chart,  I added two things:

  1. Data labels  (see above)
  2. Data table at the bottom of the chart.

Line Chart now has labels and a table underneath

Though I didn’t change the colors, running this through a red/green color blindness simulator I can tell that people can perceive the difference between the lines with their labels; and as a backup, they could reference the table underneath.

Chart now understandable even though colors are all green

I covered data labels in the previous example.  Below is how you can insert a data table.

Data Tables

  1. Click on the chart to select it.
  2. Press the + button on the right side of the chart for Chart Elements.
  3. Check the box next to Data Table. Don’t forget you can always click on the arrow to the right of any of the chart elements to see more options.

Data Table

Tell Me About Your Experiences

What do you think? Did you approach correcting the charts differently than I did? Are you someone who has a color deficiency? Have you torn out your hair trying to read certain charts, and if so, do you have other suggestions that we, the chart makers, can do to improve? I would love for you to weigh in with your thoughts!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

  • Johny Buchanan-Spachek

Johny Buchanan-Spachek

Accessibility Checker

How accessible are your documents? Do you know how to check? Do you know it is easy and not scary at all? I promise.  Let’s run an accessibility check a document.

Exercise File

To follow along, download today’s exercise here: ExerciseDocCheckAccessibility

This document looks familiar if you have attended a Word Essentials training session; it is a final draft document from our Summer Camp Exercise. While this is a Word document, the good news is the checker will work the same in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; so once you have learned it in one program, you have learned it in all of them.

Checking Accessibility

To check accessibility on this document:

On a PC:

  1. Go to File
  2. Select the Check for Issues dropdown
  3. Select Check Accessibility

Backstage View: Check for issues, check accessibility

On a Mac:

  1. Go to Tools
  2. Select Check Accessibility

Tools, check accessibility

  • Depending on your version of Microsoft, you may see the Accessibility Checker make an appearance in other views and tabs in the ribbon. Go for it! Microsoft is great about putting features in multiple locations, making them easier to find.

The Results

Once you select the Accessibility Checker, the results will appear on the right. It looks like my checker has found a few errors and a warning…. Some missing Alt Text and some repeated blank characters. What does this mean?

Accessibility Checker Results Pane

Classifications

Microsoft separates these results into three classifications:

  • Error. Content that makes the document difficult or impossible to read and understand for people with disabilities
  • Warning. Content that in most (but not all) cases makes the document difficult to understand for people with disabilities
  • Tip. Content that people with disabilities can understand but that could be presented in a different way to improve the user’s experience

Quick note, depending on your version of Microsoft, your checker may find different results than mine, so don’t be alarmed if your screen looks different. These checkers are constantly being developed and improved upon… the good news is, things are only getting better and more user friendly!

More Information About Errors and Warnings

For even more information, click on one of the errors, and look at the scrolling pane underneath the errors, titled Additional Information. Included in this pane is a Why Fix section with detailed explanations.

I can see, for instance, that my blank characters, which seem innocuous to me, could be very irritating to somebody accessing my document with a screen reader. I might be better off removing some of them or replacing them with a page break, if that is what I am really hoping to accomplish.

Accessibility Checker Errors

What is Alt Text? This is one you will see quite frequently. Alt text stands for Alternative Text. Screen readers will read alternative text aloud to your readers. So, think about the times you have created a document and conveyed a thought with an image rather than text; somebody accessing your document with a screen reader might want in on some of that knowledge so they can understand what is going on.

How to Fix

You probably know how to get rid of blank spaces mentioned above, but are you unsure how to fix problems like Alt Text?

It is worth reiterating that solutions are only getting simpler: if you are using Microsoft Office 365, the newest version of MS Office, Alt Text is accessible on a right click menu.

Edit Alt Text in right click menu in Office 365

That being said, most of us on campus are using Office 2016 or 2013, where Alt Text is absent from a right click option.

Microsoft does offer some guidance for How to fix each error:

  1. In the Accessibility Checker results pane, select the alt text error.
  2. In the same scrolling pane underneath the errors where we found why to fix the errors (above) is a subsection called Steps to Fix (you may have to use the scroll bar to see it).

Accessibility Checker: Steps to fix

These instructions are quite helpful, though I have found that they are more accurate for those using 2016 or earlier versions of Microsoft Office, where Alt Text is harder to find.

It looks like my instructions (For MS Office 2016) are telling me to:

  1. Right click on the image
  2. Select Format PictureRIght click menu, format picture
  3. Select Layout and Properties icon (looks like a four-headed arrow)
  4. Then enter Alt Text: How would you describe this picture to someone?Alt Text Screen in Word

More about Accessibility

There is so much more to say about this topic, but I will leave you with a couple more thoughts:

Styles

An excellent way to make your document accessible and utilize many more fabulous features in Microsoft products is by making use of the Styles. We cover styles at great length in Word Essentials training… I hope you are using them! More on these later…

Word Styles

Instructional Design and Access

Instructional Design and Access is the ultimate resource on campus for accessibility in documents. They offer numerous training sessions and excellent guidance. They can be reached at IDA@wichita.edu

Don’t miss their Blackboard and Accessibility Lab in the C-Space in the library every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1:00 to 3:00.

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

  • Betsy Main

Betsy Main

  • Karen Rogers

Karen Rogers

Word: Citations and Bibliography

In Word Essentials training we talk about one time saving option in the References tab, the automatic Table of Contents.  If you thought that was cool, you are going to want to go back in time and redo all of your high school and college papers using the Citations and Bibliography features in the References tab.

Exercise File

To follow along, download the exercise file here: CitationsExercise

This document contains a lovely writeup about Microsoft Word that needs a couple citations (indicated by placeholders that read Source 1 and Source 2), and it also needs a Works Cited/Bibliography section. The two concepts go hand in hand, as we will see in the exercise. The yellow text box contains the source information for these citations. But enough back story, let’s jump in.

Write Up with Citation Placeholders

The Ribbon

For this exercise, we will work from the References Tab, Citations and Bibliography Group

Citations & BIbliography in the Ribbon

Step 1: Choose a Citation Style

In the Style dropdown, select the desired citation style; e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago.

  • The style you select will guide the fields that will appear in your Works Cited section

Style dropdown

Step 2: Insert Citations

  1. Remove the bold placeholder text that reads Source 1, and place your cursor at the end of the sentence where the placeholder text had been. Wherever your cursor is flashing is where the citation will appear.
  2. From the References tab, Citations & Bibliography group, select Insert Citation, Add New SourceInsert Citations Dropdown Menu
  3. For Type of Source select Article in a Periodical. Complete the fields that appear in the prompts by using the information in the gold text box. Press OK.Citations Prompts
    • Notice the Citation inserts where your cursor was:
      Citation in Document
  4. Now replace Source 2 placeholder text the same way, only select Journal as the Type of Source.
    • There are a couple additional fields you might want to add: Volume and Number.
    • Even though that doesn’t appear in the Fields list, you can check the box next to Show All Bibliography Fields and scroll down to see more fields and enter this additional information.Citations Prompts

Step 3: Insert a Bibliography or Works Cited

Now the easy part!

  1. Either remove the text box or click underneath it. The Works Cited will insert wherever your cursor is flashing.
  2. Go to the Citations & Bibliography group and select from the list of options.Bibliography dropdown
  3. A Works Cited list will appear where your cursor was.

Making Adjustments: Managing Sources

I see a typo from my data entry, so I want to change my source and update my Works Cited.

Typos in Works Cited

To edit or manage sources:

  1. Go to References tab, Citations & Bibliography group, select Manage Sources.Manage Sources Button
  2. Select the source to be edited and select Edit to make changes (optional).Edit Source button
  3. If any sources are edited or added, the Works Cited will need to be updated, just like the automatic Table of Contents we created in Word Essentials. The process is the same: right click over the Works Cited and select Update Field.Update Field Option

By the way, this is just the beginning of what you can do working with citations. There are also ways to transfer sources from old documents to new documents, to change citation styles mid paper, and so much more… but I promised a bite sized piece of information, so I must stop myself here!

 

I think you should go back to school and take a class or two just so you can play with this amazing feature in Word. I know a place where you can take some classes…