New subscriber Denise Kramer wrote me a very interesting question. I’d run into the issue before and forced an answer, but I hadn’t ever addressed it from the point of a document to be filled out on a computer.
I am making a referral form in Microsoft Word 2007. I have managed to get everything I want except for underlining. Wait. I can underline a field as it is being typed but, I would like to have the field show up as underlined BEFORE you type so that it may be printed and faxed.
This is a form which will be sent as an attachment which can be completed and emailed or printed and faxed.
I have an example of another template in which fields are underlined and when you enter text into the field, the text glides freely over the underline. This sample I have is locked and I cannot see their formatting to figure out how they did it.
I am ready to throw in the towel. this is my first template. If you can answer this question, I would just love you.
I wrote back to Denise to give her a quick tip on how to solve her problem, wile I wrote the article in more detail and with screenshots.
The good news is that this process works for Word 2003, Word 2007 and other word processors, too. OpenOffice Writer and Word Perfect, among many others, can do the same thing.
Microsoft doesn’t make it easy. First, you can’t use spaces and underline them — the underline doesn’t work that way. You can’t underline spaces!
If you create a textbox and change it’s font style to underline, when the user types in the textbox, only the typed content is underlined. Plus, the textbox resizes to fit the typed text — so the carefully designed form is messed up.
If you use the Underscore character to create a pseudo-underline, it does not underline anything that is typed, and the typing extends the underscore so that the line is messed up again.
The trick to create the underlines that stay in place is to fake the underlines. We can use tables, or even tables within table cells of other tables, and change the colors of the cell borders.
By changing the left, top and right borders of the table cells to "None" and changing the bottom cell borders to be lines of your chosen style and weight, you can use the cell borders to create the underlines for the entries.