Michael Lee Stills

Learn tips and hints to use a variety of electronic and technical equipment to enhance work with volunteers.

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~ November 2002~ Topics

Volunteer Forms by Email

If you have been working as a Volunteer Coordinator for the past 5 years you probably have noticed an increase in the number of request for receiving your volunteer forms by email. In fact, email may be fast becoming the preferred method of sending and receiving volunteer information.

You probably have noticed as well that volunteers are creating their own forms or are drastically modifying the forms you send by email. If this is the case, then you probably have not discovered the Forms Tool Bar in MS Word.

Taking some time to understand how this tool bar works will help you develop forms that stay consistent upon their return and allow you to better manage the information collected. There are three regular uses for the Forms Tool bar. They are:

  1. Creating forms to be completed on the Web.
  2. Creating forms that cannot be altered by the user.
  3. Creating forms that completed in Word and usually sent by email.

This last form is the one to use if your forms are getting changed from your designed format. This form allows you to designate fields where information can be entered without changing the design of your form.

Teaching Yourself to Use the Forms Toolbar

  1. Click on the help menu then on Microsoft Word help.
  2. Search on the word FORMS. There is an extensive list of possibilities. The ones you want to start with are: Overview of Forms and Create a Form but give yourself time to review the other topics as well.

If you learn by playing, then try going to View / Toolbars / Forms. This will open the Forms Toolbar and you can experiment with the buttons.

As you get better with this, you will notice that you can add things like drop down lists that only allow a user to chose answers that you designate, inserting tables and creating text boxes for longer answers.

If you do not use MS Word, check your help menu for the word Forms and follow their directions.

Taking Control of AutoComplete

Have you ever noticed, that when you go to fill out a form online or type in a web address, that many times a drop down list appears with the very information you are entering? Or, perhaps you would like this to happen for you automatically? If so, now is the time to take control of AutoComplete.

Internet Explorer: Click: Tools / Internet Options / Content / AutoComplete
Netscape Navigator: Click: Edit / Preferences / Smart Browsing / Location Bar auto complete / Advanced

Your web browser allows you to turn on or turn off the AutoComplete feature or modify how it works. You can use if just for web forms, entering web addresses or passwords or a combination that you choose.

After awhile you may find that your list is long and you want to remove some of these. Generally you can highlight the information you want removed and press the delete key. Sometimes you may have to go into the menu and click on the clear forms or passwords buttons.

Quick Tip: Quick Launch

Would you like quick access to your favorite Windows program?

Try this:

  1. Right-click on the empty area on the taskbar
  2. Click Toolbars, and select Quick Launch (make sure a check mare appears next to it).
  3. From My Computer or Windows Explorer, drag your program file (a file with an .exe extension) onto the Quick Launch portion of the taskbar.

Now, just click on your favorite program in the taskbar to open it.

Do you know of a better way? Or do you have any questions? Drop me a note at

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