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published by Science Translations

October 1st, 2005 at 7:09 pm

Emailing a fill in the blanks form

Post by Patsplace on Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:03 pm
Howdy folks,
Here’s the question. When a form that I’m building is filled in and I email it to an individual, how do I save it so that the person that receives it can’t either change the form format or change the information that is entered in the blanks?
Thanks for your help.

Just set up the form as a table. For any cell (or row, or column), just select and right-click the area you want to make uneditable, and choose Format… in the pop-up menu, and go to the ‘Cell’ tab, and in the ‘Cell Attributes’ area at lower right, add a checkmark to ‘Lock cell to prevent changes’. (Menu text as in WP12; slightly different in older versions, but in the same area, and works as far back as WP51/DOS.) Bonus: locked cells can’t be tabbed into.

You can also send the form as part of a WP template, but that will not work unless you also send an install program or other help to explain how to open it–you can’t just click a template to run it, for safety reasons. Templates are also designed to keep users of forms from messing with the format.

Note that while forms and templates can be set as locked, or just made very difficult to tamper with, there is no password to turn off cell locks; it just takes a knowledgeable user to go into the table structure and uncheck that box. And editing templates is also possible; it just takes about 4 steps to get into the guts of the document.

These methods are good enough to keep honest people from making a mess of the document. But if you have to distribute this to a large group to fill in and return, the best approach is likely to do the design work in WordPerfect, and then publish to PDF, open it in Adobe Acrobat Pro, and draw the input fields there, and add any calculation or automation features there, and lock everything as needed. The result could be filled and printed (not saved) in the free Reader, or saved with filled fields in any of the paid versions.