Two tips for making gap fills in Word.

It’s very easy to use MS Word to create your own gap fill exercises.

This example of a gap fill exercise has a column on the right-hand side for ‘betting’ if you have the right answer. This activity is also similar to a Grammar Auction.

These two pictures show the same gap fill exercise. It’s just the formatting that is different.

Gap Fill Exercise
This gap fill activity was created by Svetlana Kandybovich

The first image shows the gap fill exercise in a table.

Gap Fill Exercise 2
Questions written by Svetlana Kandybovich. Formatting by Tekhnologic.

The second image shows the same content, but in this example a smaller font size and a different color is used for the hints. There are also placeholders for the answers.

Does it need formatting?

No. You could make photocopies from it and use it in the classroom straight away.

However, learning a few formatting tips and tricks can be helpful if you want to produce digital resources.

For example, placeholders are useful because a Word document can be protected, so that only the placeholders can be edited while the main body of text remains read-only.

Ideal for online teachers who want to produce their own gap fills, quizzes and tests.

So, here are two tips and tricks that might be useful for making gap fills.

Subscript and Superscript

Changing the size and the color of the hints makes it easier to read the main text. The easiest way to change the size of the text is to use subscript.

Word - Subscript and Superscript
Screenshot of Word 2013 showing the subscript and superscript buttons on the ‘Home’ ribbon.

On the menu screen there are two buttons with an ‘X‘ next to Bold, Italic and Underline and beneath the size of the text. Click on the X on the left or press Ctrl + = and the text will become smaller.

So, it is easy to format the text so that:




Form Controls: Text Content

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  • Click on File
  • Select Options
  • Select customize ribbon on the left-hand side
  • Check developer on the right-hand side
  • Click OK
  • Select text content control and click anywhere on the screen.

Form controls are using for making templates in word and they are ideal if you are trying to make a gap fill exercise that can be downloaded from a cloud or sent to a student.

Write your sentence with the answer missing.

‘John a lot’

Select after John and insert a plain text content control.

You have two options.

  1. Write a phrase like ‘write your answer here
  2. Press your space bar 10 times and you will have a blank gap (if you plan to photocopy it)

Open the form control properties (see images) and you can edit the hint text.


When you use form controls, you can protect the word document so that only these text boxes can be edited while the rest of the document remains read-only.

  • Click on File
  • Click on Protect Document
  • Select Restrict Editing
  • Three options will appear on the right-hand side of the screen
  • Check option 2 – Editing restrictions
  • Select Filling in Forms from the list
  • Click start protecting document
  • Type in a password and click OK

Now close the file. When you open the file you will only be able to view the document.

  • Click on view
  • Click on edit

The student will only be able to fill in the answer boxes. They will not be able to edit any other text in the document.

Working with form controls will help you create tests, quizzes, surveys and feedback forms.

I hope this tip has been helpful.

Take Care!

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