How to Create OpenOffice Fillable Forms

OpenOffice is a free suite of office productivity tools.
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A well-designed form can be a valuable tool for both school and work use, providing you with an easy-to-use method of capturing data from other people. OpenOffice's Form Controls and Form Design toolbars enable you to turn your documents into fully interactive, fillable forms. You can use these tools to create data entry objects such as check boxes and text fields, as well as more complex items such as combo or list boxes populated by data from a database.

Open OpenOffice, and click the “Text Document” button to open a new text document.

Click the “Design Mode On/Off” button on the Form Controls toolbar. This puts OpenOffice into Form Design mode, allowing you to create form objects and place them onto your document.

Click the button that corresponds to the first form field type you want to add, and then click and drag on the page to create that object. You can choose from check boxes, text boxes, push buttons, option buttons, combo boxes and list boxes. Repeat this process for each object you want to create.

Right click on each object and select “Control” to open the Object Properties box. Enter a unique name for the object in the “Label” field. You can also use Object Properties to set rules for the data entered into the boxes, such as maximum entry size. Different object types have various customizable properties.

Use the handles to move and resize the objects in your form. If desired, you can snap all the objects to a grid by clicking the “Snap To Grid” button on the Form Design toolbar.

Click the “Design Mode On/Off” button to finish editing your form and then click the “Save” button to save it.

  • Information in this article applies to OpenOffice 3 and 4. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
  • You must select a database table to use as a data source for Combo and List box objects. The contents of the table will form the entries in the box, allowing users to choose from a pre-defined list of options. The Box Wizard will run automatically after you create objects of this type. Follow the on-screen instructions to select a table.

Andy Walton has been a technology writer since 2009, specializing in networking and mobile communications. He was previously an IT technician and product manager. Walton is based in Leicester, England, and holds a bachelor's degree in information systems from the University of Leeds.