What are Content Controls?

Content Controls are another new feature of Microsoft Word 2007. They partially replace form fields. You may want to create customised templates, such as corporate forms, or letter or fax templates, that use your own theme and that use Content Control fields. The best way to see what these are is to open one of the new boilerplate templates in Word 2007 and have a look.

Use Content Control fields

  1. In Microsoft Word, click Office, New to display the New Document dialog box.
  2. From the Templates frame click Installed Templates. These are the templates supplied by default with Microsoft Word 2007.
  3. Find and click on Median Letter, then click Create.
  4. Look at the instructions surrounded by square brackets – these are called Place Holders. When you click on one of these, a box displays around it. When you type your own text in the brackets, the Place Holder disappears and just your own text remains.

Remove Content Control

  1. Right click on the Place Holder.
  2. Click Remove Content Control. You are returned to the document and there is no longer a Place Holder. (Note that this option is only available if the template designer made it available.)

Create Content Control fields

If you are creating templates for others to use, you may want to create content control fields like these. For this you will need the Developer tab.

  1. Click the Office button, Word Options to display the Word Options dialog box.
  2. With Popular highlighted, tick Show Developer tab
    in the Ribbon and click OK.
  3. Back in your document, click on the Developer tab, and identify the Controls group.
  4. Click Design Mode. This is a toggle.
  5. Click the Aa button to insert a Rich Text content control.
  6. Type any changes you want to make to the Place Holder text. You can type very detailed instructions here, formatted in any way you like. You can set an option that automatically removes all your content when the user starts typing in the control.
  7. With your cursor in the field you have just created, click Properties, to display the Content Control Properties dialog box.
  8. Complete the fields in the dialog box as required.
  9. Click OK to save Properties.
  10. Click Design Mode to toggle Design Mode off and see how the Content Control will display in a document.

For full instructions on working with each of the following Content Controls, use the on-line help system, run a search on "Content Controls" and select the help option: Word > Creating specific documents > Forms.

You can build forms using Content Controls. This is a significant new area that is well documented in the on-line help system. For full instructions on developing forms using Content Controls, run a search on "Create forms that users complete in Word 2007" and select the help option: Word > Creating specific documents > Forms.

For the developer perspective on Content Controls, you may want to check out this overview.

Go to http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb264571.aspx


  1. Anonymous13/7/11

    thanks, this was very helpful.

  2. Anonymous16/3/12

    Thank you! I couldn't figure this out!