Automate this form!
October 5, 2011 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Endless paperwork! How do I automate filling out a .doc form? Challenge: cannot involve downloading/installing any new software

As part of my job I have to frequently fill out long regulatory forms. These forms often require the same information in multiple places (names, phone numbers, etc.). Cut and paste helps, but it's still slow going. There must be a better way! Important details:

-I am using MS Office 2007. I am not intimidated by things like form fields, but don't know their inner workings.
-The blank form changes relatively frequently due to a busy bee in the review committee, probably every six months or so, so any solution needs to be flexible enough and not rely on the document always being the same.
-The document I am filling out is a MS word document. At present it is not locked, though they may do this soon and use some combination of form fields and who knows what.
-*the big annoying one* I cannot download and/or install any new outside software. I do not have that ability on this machine. The chances of cooperation from IT are slim to none. (no autohotkey, no autoit, etc.)
posted by Wretch729 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
To clarify:

Are you filling out the same form every time, but with different information?

If so, you can edit it the form to use mail merge and create a spreadsheet with all the information you need, then one click fills out all the info in the form from the spreadsheet.
posted by empath at 3:17 PM on October 5, 2011

Best answer: You can use macros. Do read up on them - for a while, macro viruses were a big problem, so now they're usually disabled. or, go into the Options, and set up autocorrect, using little-used key combinations, so typing qy would auto-correct to the email address, or qk would do the company name.
posted by theora55 at 3:28 PM on October 5, 2011

Response by poster: These forms are application/review forms for a research ethics committee, just to clarify.

@empath: Yes same form every time (except they seem to change it every six months). I do use mail merge for mailings, but I don't think it would work in this case, as the selection and number of people whose info needs to be on any given form isn't standardized. So on one form I may need to add info for 3 random people in my department, on another for two of those three but not the third, etc. I feel like I would have to change the source spreadsheet for each new form... Maybe I'm missing something?

@theora55: DUH, macros, thank you! So used to them being disabled that I forgot they existed. That's a possibility. It would also likely be fairly easy to adapt to new iterations of the form. Anyone know good resources for boning up on MS Office macros?
posted by Wretch729 at 3:41 PM on October 5, 2011

Oh, so multiple people's information need to be in each form.

Yeah, that's a bit trickier.
posted by empath at 3:43 PM on October 5, 2011

This might help.
posted by empath at 3:48 PM on October 5, 2011

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