Thursday, September 26, 2013

Adventures with Google Forms

I've recently been introduced to some of the apps that are available with Google and so far I like them.  They're pretty easy to learn and they have some nice features.

To get started, you'll need a Google account.  Once you're logged into your account, you'll have menu options across the top left.  The option you'll use to get into forms is the one called "Drive" (located right next to Gmail).  It essentially gives you an area to store documents, forms, etc. that can be shared (all stored on Google).  There's also the option to download a program which allows you to sync files from your computer to your Google drive.

The Drive function gives you the ability to create a variety of documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms.  All of them are stored at Google but can be synced to your local PC.  All of them can also be shared with anyone you want, with or without giving them the ability to edit them.

For my first attempt, I'm going to use Google forms to replace a form on a web page for a client.  The current web form is an application to request a scholarship to a camp for kids each summer.  The form allows a prospective camper to fill in their personal details, and then when they click the submit button it sends an email to me with a delimited file.  I copy and paste that delimited data into a spreadsheet, save it and email it to the client so that they can review and approve the applicants.

With the new Google form that I'm creating, the applicant will click on a link to go to the Google form.  They'll fill in all of their details as normal.  Then when they're done, it is automatically saved into a Google spreadsheet.  I can share the link to that spreadsheet with anyone who needs to see it.  I can give them the ability to edit it, or just to view it.  I won't have to receive the application record via email anymore, and I won't have to copy/paste it into a spreadsheet or email it anywhere.  They'll be able to look at the responses spreadsheet any time to see the latest applicants.

See the link below for an example of a simple Google form that could be used to track RSVPs to a party, as well as what dish that person will bring for a potluck meal.  Feel free to click around on the form and make entries if you'd like to test it.  Then click on the link to see the responses and you'll see the spreadsheet where they are stored.

Sample Form

To see the responses spreadsheet, use this link (view only):

To see instructions on how to get started with Google forms, use this link:

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