Length of form field expands or contracts, affects alignment in Word

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The length of your form field expands or contracts, depending on the amount of text you enter into the form field. This can result in other form fields or text moving to new positions, which affects the horizontal and vertical alignment of your form. This behavior can occur even though you have set a maximum limit for the number of characters to be entered into the field.


Setting the maximum number of characters for a form field does not establish a permanent dimension for the field. This setting refers only to how wide that field can be. If there are fewer characters typed than the maximum allowed, the field is only as wide as the number of characters typed.

For example, if the maximum field size is 30 characters, and you type a five-letter word in the field, the field is five characters wide. If you type 50 characters in the field, only the first 30 characters are shown.


Using one of the following methods may or may not help you achieve the results you want; however, any of these methods can be used to give you more precise control over the position of other fields or text within your form.

Method 1: Set Up the Form in a Table

Place the form fields inside a table. Each cell that contains a form field has a fixed width, so varying the text length does not move text or other form fields horizontally on the page. Setting the table row to an exact height to control the number of lines that are displayed in your form will maintain the vertical position of other items on your form.

Method 2: Set Up the Form in a Frame

Place the form field in a frame. You can format the frame to have an exact height and width. To locate this option, select the frame. On the Format menu, click Frames.

To insert a frame, first insert a text box and convert the text box to a frame. To do this, select the text box and then click Text Box on the Format menu, click the Text Box tab, and then click Convert to Frame.

Method 3: Set Up the Form by Using Tabs

Set a tab immediately after the form field. The drawback to this method is that if the text inside the form field extends past the tab stop, the text or form field following the tab stop will not be positioned correctly.


Article ID: 212080 - Last Review: January 24, 2007 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft Word 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office Word 2003
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