What is it: a program for designing forms and filling them in on the screen
Applications: order forms, invoices, purchase requisitions, job applications, petty-cash vouchers and virtually any other business form; forms can be printed out or distributed electronically
Office Forms is an exceptionally easy-to-use form design tool. It has a clean user interface and integrates well with Microsoft Office (although you don't have to have Office to use it). Even if you have never used a product like this before, you should be able to design high-quality forms in just a few hours.
The program's main component is a form design surface. You can place text, rules and boxes on the form and drag them around. You can also change colours and fonts, add shading and patterns, insert company logos, and so on. For the fill-in boxes, you can specify data properties, such as validation rules and input masks.
You can distribute the finished form electronically so that users can fill it in on their screens. By default, the information they enter is stored in a Microsoft Access database. However, you can configure the program to work with any database for which you have an ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) driver.
Alternatively, you can use Office Forms to design paper forms. You simply print the finished form, then have it photo-copied or litho printed.
When filling in forms on the screen, you can browse through those already completed, and search and sort them. Also, you can export them to other programs, or send them by email or fax. You can use this part of Office Forms to create custom front-ends for databases, such as for an order-entry or invoicing application.
It is also possible to convert a form into an executable program, so it can be filled in by users who don't own the Office Forms filler module.
This type of form cannot be linked to a database, but most of the other features of the filler are available.
Office Forms is an OLE server, so you can embed a form into a Word document or Excel worksheet, for example.
The software comes with a library of more than 200 ready-made forms, a collection of fonts and clip-art, and a one-month trial version of the AFD postcode addressing program. These bonus features add value to what is already an excellent product.
Verdict: if you want to design basic paper forms or create sophisticated form-based database applications, this versatile product is ideal.
Contact: Toplevel Computing on 01453 753955
Price: u99 for designer and one-filler licence; u199 for five additional-filler licences.
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