Google DocsFirst, let me briefly sing the praises of Google Docs. These apps have literally changed the way I work and collaborate, the way I report to my clients, the way I manage my to-do lists. Brilliant.

One often-overlooked app in the Google Docs family is Google Forms. The Google Forms tool allows you to create a custom form. You can add as many questions as you want, and choose between checkboxes, radio buttons, short text boxes, paragraph-length text boxes and more.  Using this, you could create a quiz, a poll, an entry form, or any sort of interface with a visitor that you want to record.

To create a Google Form, go to https://drive.google.com/ (sign up if you have to). Once you’re in, click on the orange “Create” button, then choose the green “Form” option.

Once your form opens, you can customize it by adding spaces for the information you want to collect from web visitors.

Add new items by choosing the “Add Item” link in the top left corner. Next to that link, you can choose a custom theme by selecting “Theme.”

You can embed the form in a website by returning to https://drive.google.com/ and clicking on the form you created. That will open your data in the Google Docs spreadsheet tool.

You can access the embed code for the form by “Form” menu option along the top of the spreadsheet. From here, choose “Embed Code in Website.”

Google Doc Form Setup

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Never submit passwords through Google Forms.

Add a Custom Thank You Message

Thank your participants with a custom message by clicking “More Actions” and then “Edit Confirmation” in the navigation along the upper right of the Form Creation page. Type a message like, “Thank you for entering the Hey, Sarah! $20 Amazon  gift card contest. We’ll notify you by October 10th if you’ve won!”

Google Forms Messaging

 

Accessing Data, Editing Form

After respondents have filled out your form and submitted, you can view their information in spreadsheet form by going back to https://drive.google.com/ and clicking on the form you created. Now it will open in the Google Docs spreadsheet tool so you can view your data.

You can also view your data Summary style, with a colorful pie chart and other visual elements, by clicking the “Form” menu option along the top of the spreadsheet. From here, choose “Show Summary of Responses.”

Also from the “Form” menu option, you can choose “Edit Form,” to make edits to your Google Form.

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