Use Word to type on a printed form without a typewriter

There’s no need to manually scrawl your way through a paper form. Convert the form to an online image you can fill out using Word.

What do you do when someone hands you an application to fill out or when you need to fill out a printed tax form? If you don’t have a typewriter, you probably fill in the form manually, hoping that the recipient can read your handwriting. Fortunately, you can use Word to “type it in” instead. Follow these steps:

  1. Scan the form and save it as a picture to your My Pictures folder, or any folder where your picture files are kept. For this example, I scanned a tax form and saved it as a .PNG picture (Figure A).

Figure A

  1. Open a blank document in Word.
  2. Go to View | Header and Footer. (In Word 2007, double-click in the Header pane of your document.)
  3. Go to Insert | Picture and then click From File. (In Word 2007, position the insertion point in the Header pane, click the Insert tab, and then click Picture in the Illustrations group.)
  4. Navigate to the file containing your form and click the Insert button.
  5. Crop, resize, and reposition the picture as necessary to fit the page.
  6. Right-click the picture, go to Format Picture, and click the Behind Text option. (In Word 2007, make sure the form is still selected. Then, under Picture Tools in the Format tab, click Text Wrapping in the Arrange group and choose Behind Text.)
  7. Double-click anywhere in the document outside of the Header pane. You can then enter the desired text. (Figure B).

Figure B

To type the data as shown, I decreased the font size to 9, changed the paragraph formatting to single line spacing, and applied 0 spacing before and after the paragraph. This made it easier to use the Enter key to move from one line to another, as if I were using a typewriter.

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