Forms are among the most versatile tools on the Internet. If you need a contact form or a checkout page, a survey or a student directory, just one form is enough to easily gather this information. With Google Forms, it only takes a few minutes to create one for free.
Google Forms– along with Docs, Sheets, and Slides – is part of Google’s suite of online application tools to help you do more in your browser for free. It’s easy to use and one of the simplest ways to save data directly to a spreadsheet, and is the best helper for Google Sheets spreadsheets.
When you need to collect data for your spreadsheets, a form is your best friend. In this chapter, we’ll take a closer look at Google Forms features, hidden tools and add-ons to help you create the necessary forms in minutes.
A tour of Google forms
Google Forms started life as a Google Sheets feature on 2008, two years after the original Sheets release. You can add a form to a spreadsheet, format it on a separate spreadsheet, and view your responses on another spreadsheet. It was basic, but it got the job done.
Google added more features to Forms over time and finally turned it into its own standalone application in early 2016. Today you can create and manage forms in docs.google.com/forms, with templates and quick access to all your forms in one place.
Google Forms is now a full-featured forms tool that is provided free of charge with your Google account. You can add standard question types, drag and drop questions in any order you like, customize the form with simple photo or color themes, and collect responses in Forms or save them to a Google Sheets spreadsheet.
Let’s start by making a quick contact form so you can see how easy it is to use.
Creating your first Google form
The simplest way to start creating a form is directly in the Google Forms application. Go to docs.google.com/forms, choose a template or start a blank form.
There is also a link to Google Forms in Documents, Sheets and Slides: click File -> New -> Form to start a new blank form. Or, in Google Sheets, click Tools -> Create a Form to start a new blank form automatically linked to that spreadsheet. This is the quickest way to insert data into a new or existing spreadsheet: open the spreadsheet where you want the data, start a form and the form’s responses will automatically be saved there without any extra clicks.
The form editor is straightforward. Your form fills the center of the screen, with space for a title and description followed by the form’s fields. Click on a form field to edit it and add a question. Use the drop-down box next to the field to choose the type of field, such as multiple choice, checkboxes, short answer and so on.
Google Forms offers several configuration options. The floating toolbar on the right allows you to add more form fields. In the top right menu, you can change the color scheme of the form, view it, use the Submit to share the form and access other extra options, including installing add-ons for Forms. Switch from the Questions tab to the Replies in the form editor to see the current responses to your form and link it to a spreadsheet.
All you have to do is add your questions and submit the form. Let’s look at the form options and what you can do with each one.
Google Forms field options
Google Forms includes 12 types of fields: 9 types of questions, as well as text, photo and video fields. Just click on the + icon in the right sidebar to add a new question or click on the text, photo or video icons to add media to your form.
Each field includes a copy button to duplicate the field, for a simple way to add similar questions to your form. There is also an exclusion button, options to make the field mandatory and a menu with extra options on the right. You can switch question types at any time, but note that the settings and questions in the field will be reset if you switch from multiple choice, checkbox or menu to any other type of question. And to quickly fill out questions in the fields, just press Enter to start adding another one.
Here’s what each type of field offers:
Title and Description: The title and description fields are automatically added to all forms and fields – although the description is hidden by default in most fields – and you can add an extra title block anywhere with Tt button. You can leave the title and description blank in the questions, but the title of the main form must be filled out.
The description does not include formatting options, although you can include links (in short form, such as
zapier.comor as the complete style, as
https://zapier.com/) and form readers can click on them to see your site or related material.
Short answer: This field is perfect for requesting small pieces of text: names, email addresses, values and more. You are given a line of text to answer the question, although your users can actually enter the text they want.
To ensure you get the answers you need, this field includes validations for number, text, length and regular expression. Numerical validations help to observe the ranges of values, while text validations are perfect for looking for email addresses or links.
Paragraph: Like the short answer field, this is a text – long text field. Length and regular expression are the only validations of data available here, so use them only when you want detailed feedback or longer notes in the response.
Multiple choice: The default field for new questions on a Google form, multiple choice, allows you to list options and have users select one. You can have the form go to another section based on the answer or the answer options are scrambled to avoid distortions.
Checkboxes: Similar to the multiple choice, this field allows you to list responses and have users select as many as they want. It also includes data validation to require users to select a specific number of options. It does not include section hops, however.
Suspended: Do you want all the answer options in a menu? This field is for you. It is exactly the same as the multiple choice field – with the same jump options and section shuffle – only this time the answers are in a menu. This is useful for keeping your form compact when there are many response options.
Linear scale: The field to allow people to select a number in a range, the linear scale allows you to define a scale from 0 or 1 to 2-10 with labels for the highest and lowest options. And yes, emoji also work for tags.
Multiple choice grid: Perhaps this is the most confusing field, as the fields are displayed in a list and not in the grid, as they will appear in the readers. Essentially, you will add questions like rows and options on them as columns.
You can include as many rows and columns as you like, but note that readers will have to scroll to the right to see more than 6 columns on desktop browsers or just 3 columns on their cell phone. It’s a good idea to keep the form view open when setting up grid questions – just tap the eye icon in the upper right corner and refresh the page to see your changes.
In addition to the standard option for requiring responses, the grid allows you to require one response per line and can also limit users to only one response per column.
Meeting: Do you want to request a specific date or time, perhaps to schedule an event or register an activity? The date field is the one you want to select. You can request a date and a month and, optionally, the year and time as well.
Note that the date format will be shown in the standard format for your location. If your Google Account is set up for the US English locale, dates will be formatted as MM / DD / YYYY; UK English accounts, on the other hand, will show dates as DD / MM / YYYY. Your users will see the date options in your locale date format, unless you’re signed in to your Google Account, keep this in mind when creating forms.
Time: Time allows you to request a time period in hours, minutes and (optionally) seconds, for a way to record how long an activity took.
Image: Google Forms allows you to upload an image, insert one from a link or from Google Drive or take a photo from your own webcam (as long as Flash is installed). Or you can search Google images for photos, including royalty-free photos and photos from LIFE licensed for use in Google Drive.
Video: Google Forms supports only YouTube videos, which you can add via search or with a link.
If you added images or videos, your entry in the form will have the default title and description, as well as options to resize and show the video or the centered, left or right aligned image.
With questions out of the way, we’ll put them together and create a complete form with sections and logic to direct users to the right questions.
Form and logic sections
Simple contact forms need only a few fields, but longer surveys can quickly become impressive with dozens of questions on one page. This is where the sections are useful: they allow you to divide your form into parts to answer one set of questions at a time.
Just click on the last button on the right toolbar to add a section below the current question. Each section includes its own title and description, along with an arrow button at the top to show or hide questions and keep your form editor organized.
You can drag and drop questions between sections, but you cannot rearrange complete sections. Instead, you can move the questions around and delete that section. Or, if you want to reuse a section, just click on the section menu and select Duplicate section for another copy of those questions.
This is a perfect way to start a form with logical jumps. Let’s say you want to ask follow-up questions to a respondent based on their answers – perhaps asking what meat the event participant wants, but only if they are not vegetarian.
Simply add sections with the optional questions and then add a section jump to the individual multiple choice questions, checkbox or menu, or to the section itself. Make sure you think about where the people who should not see also that these questions are submitted, perhaps with alternative questions in a separate section. Or you can send them directly to the bottom of the form to send your answers, if there is nothing more to ask.
Be creative: sections and form jumps allow you to transform your form into a applet, and can be a great way to condense detailed research into just the most important questions for each person.
Create a Quiz
Another way to create an interactive form is with Google forms Quiz mode. Within the form settings, you will find a Tests tab. Select Make this a testand choose whether to display the results immediately after submitting the form or later, after reviewing the responses. If you choose the latter, your form will need to require respondents to sign in with their Google account.
You can choose to show missed and correct answers, plus a value for each option, if desired.
With that enabled, you will see a new Keyword in the bottom left corner of each question. Click on it and select the correct answer to the question. Optionally, you can add response comments for correct and incorrect responses, with a link for respondents to view more information, if desired.
Create your form
There is a point where you don’t have much of a choice: the design of your form. Google forms include a header color or image, as well as lighter accent colors as a background. By default, new forms appear in purple, while template forms usually include an image.
Click on the color palette icon in the upper right corner to adjust your design, if only slightly. You can choose from 15 colors, each darker for the header, with a complementary background tone.
Click the photo icon to select a Google Doodle style photo or drawing from the Google library as the form header photo. Or select one of your photos in Google Drive, or upload a new one and crop it to fit in the header of the form. Forms automatically select a background color that matches your photo.
Some of the header images included are animated GIFs with lit candles, moving balls and more. Unfortunately, if you add them to your form, they will appear as a standard still image. Perhaps in the future, Google Forms will get support for GIF; for now, images and colors are the only design options in Forms.
Store form responses in a spreadsheet
After creating the form, you don’t need to do anything extra to store respondents’ responses on Google Forms. By default, it saves each response to the Replies tab, showing summary graphs and response lists. An individual response view shows the active form along with the results for each respondent.
This is great for quick form results, but for more tools to analyze responses, you can link your form to a Google Sheets spreadsheet. Just click the green Sheets icon on the Answers tab or click Select the destination of the response from the menu, create a new spreadsheet or select an existing spreadsheet to store responses.
One great thing about saving Google Forms entries in a Google Sheets spreadsheet: is fast. Change the names of the form fields and they will be updated automatically in your spreadsheet. Get a new entry and it will appear on the spreadsheet as soon as the recipient clicks Submit.
Google Forms always maintains a complete copy of all form data. So, if you accidentally delete something from the spreadsheet, don’t worry. Simply open the form’s response settings and unlink them from the spreadsheet or click Form -> Unlink form inside your spreadsheet. Then, reconnect the form to your spreadsheet, and Google Forms will add all form data to a new spreadsheet.
With the form data in the spreadsheet, you can use Google Sheets formulas to calculate values or make custom graphics to view your data. Add conditional formatting to the spreadsheet and you can see the patterns in your form responses quickly.
There’s one more extra useful item in Sheets: notifications. By default, Google Forms can email you whenever the form is filled out, but click Tools -> Notification Rules in Google sheets for more detailed options. There, you can choose to receive an email only once a day with a summary of all responses or whenever changes are made to a form entry.
Share your form
You created a form and now it’s time to share it with the world and get answers to your questions. Or maybe you want to receive feedback from your team on your form. Anyway, here’s what you need to do in Google Forms.
Collaborate on forms
One of the best features of Google Forms is that you can share the main form with others to allow them to help you create and edit the form. The same sharing features you would expect with Google Docs and Sheets are included in Forms.
Just open the Forms menu and select Add collaborators, enter the email addresses of individual contributors. Or click on Change… link to make the form public on the web or just within your organization.
Form sharing settings
After your form is complete, check the form’s settings before sharing it with the world. Click the gear icon to open the settings, where you can add a confirmation page to your form. This works in the same way as the plain text description field, but with support for links.
You can also share the form only within your organization or publicly with anyone who has the link. There are also options to collect your username (Google Apps email address) or allow only one reply (which requires respondents to sign in to their Google account).
In the response options, you can allow users to submit another response, edit their responses, or view a summary of all responses. You can also have Google show you a progress bar based on the number of completed sections, or shuffle the order of questions.
Thai Google form interface with English questions
There is one more thing to note: language. Google will show the form interface in the default language of your recipients’ location. If your readers are in Japan, for example, and the questions on the form are in English, the user interface text, such as Requested and Submit will be in Japanese while your questions are in English. If this is an issue, you can add a note to the beginning of your form to remind people to set Google’s language at
Share completed forms online
Ready to get answers to your form? Just click on Submit in the top right corner to share the form via email or social media, copy a link to the form, or get an embed code to add it to your site.
With the link, you can copy a full link or get an abbreviated version
goo.gl/forms/ link to share more easily on social networks. The embed option includes width and height options to fit the form to your website design.
Sharing the form by email includes an extra option: include the form in the email. This copies the actual options of the form in the email, and if the recipient uses Gmail, they can fill out the form in the Gmail inbox, click Submitand send your answer without ever seeing its real form. However, this only works in Gmail – Apple Mail shows the fields on the form, but does not send responses to Google Forms, while Outlook.com cannot even open the form – so you may want to include a note in the form to -Gmail users.
Share pre-filled form
Would you like to receive feedback with a partially completed form? Maybe a contact clicks a button on your website that says he doesn’t like a product, so you want the survey form to automatically reflect that. Or maybe you have a form that needs to be filled with similar information each week and you don’t want to re-enter it.
For cases like these, click on the icon Get pre-filled link option in the Forms menu and fill in the desired options on the form. Click Submit at the end, and Google will provide a unique link to share that copy of the form with pre-populated responses.
Share paper or PDF form
Need to gather responses offline? Google Forms can also help. Just click Print in the Forms menu, and Google Forms will make a ballot-style copy of the form that you can print or save to PDF.
Grids and multiple choice options show tablet buttons to fill in, while text fields include blank lines for answers. After respondents fill out their paper forms, just type the answers in the Google Sheets spreadsheet to save them along with the other form entries.
Add-ons for Google Forms
Google Forms is excellent in its own right, but it’s likely that some features you want are still missing. Form add-ons let you add extra features to your forms, receive personalized notifications, turn documents into documents, and more.
There is an entire library of add-ons hidden in the Google Forms menu. Just click on the menu, click Add-ons …, find an add-on that you want to install it. You will receive a new puzzle piece icon in Google Forms, with a menu that lists each of its add-ons.
Most Google Forms add-ons run in a pop-up on the bottom right of your form editor and can also include an options panel that opens in the center of your editor. To open an add-on, simply select it from the add-ons menu, manage your settings in the add-on’s pop-up and it will automatically run in the background. There is no menu option to manage or remove add-ons; instead, just open the Add-ons panel again, find the add-on you want to remove, click the green button. To manage button and select Withdraw on your menu.
Here are some of the best Forms add-ons to get started:
- Are all questions necessary? adds a simple toggle to ask all the necessary questions – or not – in a single click.
- check out allows you to check in or check out items with a form, basically rearranging data from one category to another in a spreadsheet. It is a great tool for managing inventory or shared items, or it can be used creatively to, for example, approve tasks or perform other jobs in which you need to move items between two categories.
- Choice Eliminator 2 eliminates multiple choice question, list or check box options, if they have already been selected. It is a great way to, for example, make a registration form, where respondents can select a day or an order form for limited quantity items.
- Data Director adds form responses to alternate sheets and sends email notifications based on conditions. You can use it to sort all similar entries on different worksheets automatically.
- docAppender adds form results to the end of a Google Docs document instead of a spreadsheet. Each answer can be added to unique documents based on form questions or each can be added to the same document.
- formLimiter limits how many times your form can be answered. He can observe several responses, a date and time or a value defined in the results sheet and will disable the form as soon as it is reached.
- Form notifications sends personalized email notifications to you and, optionally, to train respondents with details about the results of the form and a thank you message.
- Form editor creates Google Docs template documents, PDF files or unique spreadsheets for each entry and shares them via email.
- Exporting form fields transforms your Google Forms fields into JSON data to import into other form applications.
- formRanger pre-populate the options in multiple choice or check box questions in a spreadsheet. This provides an easy way to add questions about the data you’ve already saved to a spreadsheet.
- formRecycler imports questions from other forms to quickly reuse them without copying the entire form.
- g (mathematics) adds graphics and functions to forms. Enter your formula in LaTeX format or add a function to the chart and insert it as an image on your form.
Or, if you are storing form data in a Google Sheets spreadsheet, there are several options Add-ons for Sheets to do more with your data, which we’ll see in chapter 6.
Create add-ons with the Google Apps script
Need to receive files on a Google form? There is no add-on for this, but you can use a Google Apps script to accept files in a secondary way and add them to Google Drive. This is just one of the many things you can do with Google Apps script, the scripting language for creating macros and add-ons in Google apps, which we’ll cover in chapter 7 of this book.
Integrate Google Forms with MailChimp, Salesforce, Trello and more
Another way to do more with your forms is with Zapier integrations. With connections to thousands of applications, Zapier can save your form data in other applications, send personalized notifications and place forms at the center of your workflows.
There’s just one problem: your forms need to be connected to a Google Sheets spreadsheet to work with Zapier. Just make sure the form entries are being saved in a spreadsheet, connect it to Zapier and create the custom workflows needed to get the job done directly from the forms.
Here are some popular integrations to get started:
Get notified when the form is filled out
Do you want to be notified whenever your form is filled out or when specific entries are added to your form? Zapier can send personalized email notifications with filters that match the text you want. Or you can send notifications to Slack, SMS or any other communication tool you want.
Save form entries to a database or spreadsheet of your choice
Para uma maneira mais personalizável de salvar seus dados de formulário, o Zapier pode rotear suas entradas de formulário para várias planilhas em qualquer aplicativo de planilha ou banco de dados que você desejar. Com seus dados classificados automaticamente, você poderá realizar o trabalho com seu formulário ainda mais rapidamente.
Salvar novos contatos no seu CRM
Você sempre pode entrar em contato com pessoas que preenchem seus formulários, registrando as informações de contato no catálogo de endereços ou Aplicativo CRM (Customer Relationship Manager). O Zapier pode adicionar novos contatos ao seu CRM, salvar uma anotação com informações sobre o que eles escreveram no formulário e até atualizar os contatos existentes para registrar sempre que preencherem um de seus formulários.
Aumente sua lista de boletins por e-mail
Use seu formulário para expandir seus esforços de marketing e manter contato com seus fãs. Basta conectá-lo ao seu aplicativo de boletim de e-maile adicione todos os que preencherem o formulário à sua lista de boletins por e-mail. Ou, se você quiser adicioná-los a outra lista, use o Zapier para removê-los de uma lista e depois adicioná-los a outra.
Transformar entradas de formulário em tarefas e projetos
Sua equipe tem coisas que precisam ser feitas e um formulário pode ser parte integrante do seu fluxo de trabalho quando conectado ao seu lista de afazeres or aplicativo de gerenciamento de projetos. O Zapier pode, então, iniciar novos projetos, adicionar tarefas e eventos e garantir que tudo esteja no lugar para realizar o seu trabalho.
Criar documentos a partir de entradas de formulário
Para documentos mais personalizados, ferramentas de modelo como o WebMerge podem usar os dados do formulário, criar documentos PDF a partir de modelos e salvá-los ou enviá-los para onde quiser. Ou, você pode criar arquivos de texto a partir de entradas de formulário para cópias individuais de cada registro.
Se você precisa fazer uma pesquisa simples ou deseja uma pesquisa dinâmica com perguntas personalizadas para diferentes tipos de resposta, o Google Forms possui as ferramentas essenciais de que você precisa. Não é o construtor de formulários mais poderoso ou personalizável. Em vez disso, é incrivelmente fácil de usar, diretamente da sua conta do Google.
E, graças à sua profunda integração com o Planilhas Google, e a diversos complementos, pode ser uma ferramenta poderosa para coletar dados e extrair informações para você sem precisar sair do Google Apps.
Da próxima vez que precisar de um novo formulário ou pesquisa, experimente o Google Forms. Com essas dicas e truques, pode ser a ferramenta útil de formulário que você sempre precisou.
Sua Folha de Dicas do Google Forms
Com tantos recursos ocultos, você pode querer uma maneira rápida de referenciar seus recursos favoritos do Google Forms. Este infográfico é exatamente o que você precisa.
You can faça o download de uma cópia de alta qualidade deste infográfico, juntamente com uma cópia deste livro para imprimir, ficar ao lado de sua mesa ou compartilhar com seus colegas para ajudar você a colaborar no Planilhas Google com mais facilidade.
Agora que você aprendeu o noções básicas do Planilhas Google e como coletar dados em um formulário, vamos montá-los e criar um aplicativo rápido dentro de uma planilha. No capítulo 3, você aprenderá como criar um aplicativo completo de CRM em uma planilha, onde você pode extrair dados da web sobre seus contatos e até chegar até eles com e-mails automatizados.