moderated Re: form fields in word

Ann Byrne

Often the cursor is placed at the end of a form. Left arrow often finds the text. then you can use home to get to the beginning. sometimes pressing ctrl+a to select the text makes JAWS speak it. If you are sure there is text, though, arrow left and it might just magically appear.

Good luck!

At 11:37 AM 11/16/2020, you wrote:
Maybe you can copy and paste it to a fresh notepad document to give you a chance to read it so you know what it says.


From: [] On Behalf Of Cynthia Bruce
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2020 12:28 PM
Subject: Re: form fields in word

Hi Brian,

These are forms my students have completed. I tried the key commands you listed, but nothing seems to happen.

From: <> <<>> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: November 16, 2020 1:14 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: form fields in word


Are you being tasked with looking at forms that others have already filled out? If so, you might want to consider converting the whole form to "straight MS-Word document" format, even if just for the purpose of reading, and not saving the result if it must remain as a fillable form. If it does not need to remain that way after you've received it for processing, and you may need to refer to it later, I'd save the "converted to normal MS-Word document" version for filing purposes.

When dealing with fillable Word forms as the person filling them out, unless you have your screen reader echoing character-by-character as you type, you will hear nothing as you fill out a form field. This is a quirk of how these are processed by Word. You've got to complete the filling in, tab to the next field/checkbox/whatever, then Shift+TAB back to get your text that you filled in read.

What follows presumes the designer of the fillable form did what they should have and imposed editing restrictions such that the original recipient was only able to traverse the fillable parts and interact with them. Also that they did not password protect these settings as well, otherwise you'd have to know the password to complete the removal of editing restrictions.

Unprotecting All Word Form Fields and Converting Them to Regular Text

1. You must first remove the restricted editing settings that allow you only to fill out the form

a. Activate the Developer Tab, Restrict Editing. ALT+L,PE

b. Activate the Stop Protection button, which is the only button. Just Hit Enter

c. Close the Restrict Editing pane. CTRL+Spacebar,C

2. Select all content in the document. CTRL+A

3. Issue the command to convert all form fields to regular Word text. CTRL+SHIFT+F9

At this point all form fields will be straight text like the rest of the document, and can be edited just as you usually would. You cannot reverse this action, so be certain you have filled out anything that needs to have been filled out before going through the above steps.

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041

The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance but to overcome it.
~ Lawrence Krauss

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