There is a lot of paperwork associated with HR Policies and Procedures. Increasingly 'paperwork' is a misnomer as we use computer technology to produce 'soft' forms. So how to produce forms that look good and professional, are clear and are easy to complete? Microsoft Word has useful functionality under View > Toolbars > Forms. This allows you to add fill-in form fields, drop-down fields and check boxes. The form can be 'protected' so that the recipient cannot alter the text or format and must complete the form fields in the manner required. For example, date fields must be completed in a date format and number fields can only include numbers. 1. To create a simple form, use the Table menu to insert a table including all the rows and columns you need, including any spare rows to divide the form into sections. Type in the headings and item descriptions. Add any other formatting such as shading through right-click on a cell, row or column and Format Cells, Shading. Save the form! 2. With the Forms toolbar showing, click in the form where you need a text field and click on the abl icon in the toolbar to add the text field. You can leave form field shading on or turn it off by clicking on the shaded a. Double clicking in the form field will bring up the Form Field Options where you can determine if the field is for regular text, a date field, etc. 3. For Yes or No or any other check box, click in the form where you want a check box and then click on the tick box icon. The box will fill with an X when clicked. You do need to add its description to one side of the box. 4. Drop-down fields are where you decide what options are available, e.g. 'one week', 'two weeks', 'three weeks'. Click on the Drop-down Form Field icon to add a drop-down field then double-click on it to type in the options you want to make available in the order they will appear. 5. Once you have added all the form fields, test the form by clicking on the padlock symbol on the toolbar to protect it and then use Tab to go through the form. To clear the entries or choices you have made, unlock the form and click on the eraser Reset Form Fields symbol. The Tab key will cycle through the fields from top to bottom, left to right. 6. When you are happy with the form, protect it through Tools > Protect Document > Editing restrictions > Filling in forms, add a password and save it again as a Word Template. That way the user will open the form as a new document and your original will be safe. If you have an intranet or your Staff Handbook on-line in a web version, then forms can be provided for download or as an attachment.
Forms can be very sophisticated. For example, a standard template letter can be used to confirm a Maternity Leave and automatically fill in the various dates of Ordinary Maternity Leave, Additional Maternity Leave and pay or allowances to be paid through the leave period. You can also create a form to bring up a dialog box where you fill in the required details and they are automatically placed in your document, saving you both time and from making mistakes.