In this tutorial, I'll show how to create web forms that log responses to a spreadsheet in Google Sheets. You don't have to be a programmer or know how to build websites to follow along.
Here are three ideas for how you can use a simple web form to get important data and store it directly in a spreadsheet:
- Use a survey to collect feedback and take suggestions on your website or side project.
- Take lunch orders from co-workers.
- Capture notes and important details from your clients, such as wedding day specifics from a photography client.
At the end of this tutorial, you'll be able to build your own input forms and take feedback for free using Google Sheets. Let's get started.
Create Google Sheets Web Input Forms Quickly (Watch & Learn)
Want to learn how to use web input forms, or how you can get the most from them? Check out the screencast I recorded below that will guide you through the process. I'll show you how to create a form, share the link, and review your responses.
Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to building forms and getting the most from them below.
Create Your First Web Input Form in Google Sheets
Let's get started by creating our very first form. To follow along with this tutorial, you'll need a Google account. If you've not created your Google account, start off by jumping over to the Google Drive homepage. You can login with your existing Google account, or create a free Google account to get started.
Step 1. Create a Sheet
Next, go ahead and create a new Sheet inside of your Google Drive account by clicking on New > Google Sheets > Blank spreadsheet.
It's best to start off by creating a new Sheet for your form responses. This automatically sets up a spreadsheet to capture the form response directly inside of the Sheet you create.
Step 2. Add a Form
To add a form that's linked to your Sheet, go to the Insert > Form menu option to add your first form.
A Comprehensive Guide to Building Your Form Questions Right
Now, Sheets will open up the form builder that allows you to add your questions to the form. The default question is a placeholder for a multiple choice question.
In the screenshot below, you can see a "Form description" box. I like to go ahead and fill this out to remind myself and visitors the purpose of the form.
Remember how I mentioned at the start of this tutorial that no programming skills are required? The form builder is extremely powerful. You can build out combinations of questions with countless options to find out exactly what you want to know.
Let's dive into the options, shown below:
There are several key features in the form builder that are powerful. Let's walk through them.
- Add Question - The plus button on the right side of the form builder allows you to add additional questions to your form.
Duplicate / Delete - The duplicate and delete buttons allow you to clone or remove a question.
- Required - Move the button in the lower right corner to the right to mark a question as required in your form.
- Other Tools - The image and video thumbnail allow you to add images and videos embedded in your survey; imagine embedding a video in the midst of a form and asking for feedback.
Make sure and check out the short screencast above if you want to see me create several questions in the form.
The form builder accommodates a wide variety of question types. To change the question type, click on the area that's shown as "Multiple Choice" in the screenshot above.
As you can see, forms can include many types of questions. This includes straightforward responses like dates or times, or open ended paragraph answers. Let's dive into the most helpful question types you can use in your Google Sheets form:
1. Short Answer and Paragraph
The short answer and paragraph question types are used to grab open-ended responses to your questions.
When you use this question type, you're allowing your audience to type something that isn't built into the form. In the screenshot below, I've raised a question, and leave it up to the audience to respond.
These two question types are the same; the only difference is the maximum length of the response.
2. Multiple Choice
The multiple choice option is used to set a list of pre-defined options, and let the user choose from them.
As you can see below, you're still asking your audience a question; you're just limiting the responses that are possible.
You can also add an "Other" option and let the visitor write in their own response if you wish.
Checkbox responses are particularly useful when you want to allow a user to select multiple options when responding.
Specify multiple options, and your user can indicate which options are applicable to their responses.
A dropdown option is very similar to the multiple choice option—you're giving the visitor a list of options to choose from, and they can select exactly one.
5. Linear Scale
I really like the linear scale option, which is like a slider that allows you to set a values to indicate interest or satisfaction.
You can imagine using this to capture someone's interest. In the slide below, I've given the user an option to respond from 1-5 with their interest in future courses. Depending on where they set their slider, we can gauge interest or satisfaction.
6. Date and Time
Date and time options are simple; they allow the user to specify a date or time when responding. Imagine using this to reserve a spot or log when an event occurred.
Remember that you can combine all of these question types in a single form to grab a variety of feedback from your audience.
Send Your Form
So, you've finished up your form, and you're ready to share it with an audience. Click on the Send button at the top of the form builder page.
You can send the Google spreadsheet input form to others using an email link, or click on a link to grab a URL that you can publish and share online for anyone to complete the form.
Review Responses in Google Sheets
After your form has been published for some time and visitors are filling it out, it's time to switch to reviewing the data you've collected. The responses are easily reviewable thanks to the link between web forms and Google Sheets.
To view responses to a form, click on Responses on the form builder. The form has a built-in tool to review responses, or you can click on the green Sheets icon to jump to the responses captured inside of a spreadsheet.
My favorite way to view responses is in the spreadsheet view, right inside of Google Sheets. It's easy to scroll through even a lengthy list of responses in to find out your audience's thoughts.
If you need to jump back to the form editor, return to the sheet you created and click on Form > Edit Form.
That's it, now you know how to create web input forms that collect responses in Google Sheets spreadsheets. This allows you to readily capture responses and quickly review the feedback.
Recap and Keep Learning More About Google Sheets
This tutorial was an easy introduction to getting started with web forms and Google Sheets. Any time that you have a need to collect feedback, think of this technique that's easy and free to setup.
I love Google Sheets because it combines the power of a spreadsheet with the flexibility of a web app. You can link to sources of data or do things that just aren't possible with other spreadsheet apps.
To see what I mean, check out some of our other popular pieces on Google Sheets below:
- Google SheetsHow to Use IFTTT With Google SheetsAndrew Childress
- Google SheetsHow to Make Professional Charts in Google SheetsAndrew Childress
- Google SheetsHow to Track Stock Data in Google Sheets - With GOOGLEFINANCE FunctionAndrew Childress
How do you get feedback from an audience or team? Let me know if you're using a form hooked to Sheets in the comments, or some other tool.
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