Marking Merge Fields in MS Word

Inserting the user’s answer to a question from your smart form into the generated document is easy. We call this “merging” the information.

Steps to set up a Merge Field:

  1. Add a placeholder in MS Word – Start by creating some placeholder content in your MS Word document. We like to use an asterisk character inside square brackets for all of our placeholders (ie, [*] as the placeholder) but you can choose any placeholder you like.
  2. Copy the wording of the question – Then copy the wording of the relevant question from your form. You can do this in one click simply by clicking the question in the form builder.
  3. Add a Comment in MS Word – Go back to your MS Word document, select the relevant placeholder and add a Word “comment”. You can add comments by clicking the “New Comment” button in the “Review” tab of the Microsoft Word ribbon.
  4. Paste in what you copied – Then simply paste in what you copied as the content of the comment.

These steps are shown below. If you'd like to see a more detailed demonstration, you can watch our merge fields tutorial.

Hover of the placeholder to see the related question

One nice feature of this method is that you can simply hover over any placeholder to see the wording of the question to which it relates. When you hover over a placeholder in MS Word, a tooltip will appear showing you the content of the comment.

Placeholder content

As mentioned previously, you can use anything as a placeholder - eg, you could use more descriptive placeholders such as [date of birth] or [vendor's address] etc.  However, because you can simply hover over a placeholder to see the related question, you may prefer to use a short, standard placeholder like we do.

See all Merge Fields in a separate panel

Another nice feature is that you see all of the comments, which we call “merge fields”, in a separate panel within MS Word. One way to do this is to turn on the “Reviewing Pane”, which you can do from within the “Review” tab in the MS Word ribbon. Another way is to simply right-click any placeholder and choose “Edit Comment” and the Reviewing Pane will open up for you.

Comment being edited appears with bold highlighting

You’ll also notice that the comment that you’re editing appears with bolder highlighting in the document. The bold highlighting helps you to select the correct comment for editing.