Make Your Word Docs Interactive

Michele Warg
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For clerical and administrative staff, forms are in constant use. Another constant of your day should be time management, and learning to make interactive Word documents is one way you can save yourself, your boss and your department plenty of time and hassle.

Basic word processing capability is an essential administrative skill. Even before hitting the desk for the first time, clerical workers are expected to demonstrate excellent typing, spelling and document formatting skills. Creating an interactive Word document takes those skills to a new level, letting you create forms that others can complete by typing information into fields or checking boxes. Interactive forms reduce the risks of errors, make it easier for others to provide standard information and can be printed, emailed or shared via company Internet portals.

The first step in creating an interactive Word document is taking control of Word's developer function. In most versions of Word, the developer check box is located under File, Options and then, Customize Ribbon. Find the box next to developer and check it. Then, click okay. The developer option is now available on your main menu ribbon. Click on Design Mode, and use the options available to add drop down lists, check boxes or calendar functions that prompt users to select a single date. Clerical workers with advanced word processing and design skills can also enhance interactive Word documents with macros for mail merge potential or Visual Basic or XML additions.

If someone wants an interactive document before you're ready to show off your Word design skills, numerous add-ons can be downloaded that let you convert a Word format to a fillable PDF. Adobe and several third-party companies offer the functionality, though some downloads come at a slight cost. When going this route, clerical workers may need to follow guidelines on creating tables, check boxes or lined forms to ensure the conversions results in a legible document.

Not all interactive Word documents are clickable, fillable forms. As an administrative assistant, you may be tasked with creating informational flyers or documents, and many companies opt to post such items to internal Web portals rather than old-fashioned bulletin boards. Digital sharing means you can incorporate fun clip art and gifs into Word documents to help get messaging across. Obviously, you should reserve whimsical additions to documents that announce fun staff events, remind workers of safety issues or the need for hand washing or inform employees of positive news such as meeting goals. Don't use fun characters or gifs in documents such as executive financial reports or memos with a very solemn or serious connotation.

By making interactive Word documents, you enhance communication abilities for an entire company or department. Learn how to add additional function to basic digital documents, and add another bullet to your clerical resume's skill section.


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