Up until now, the features that have been added to Google Spreadsheets have been a bit underwhelming. There’s nothing they’ve done where I stopped and said “wow, that’s amazing or unique” until today.  Recently they implemented a form feature that will help users collect information in a poll like fashion.  It’s not that this feature is going to be beneficial to everybody, because it’s not, but to those who could use such a feature, they’re going to love this. It’s part of the sharing feature and it only takes a minute to create a form and invite people to fill it out.  The best part of this whole feature is that the information that is collected will be compiled automatically in a Google Spreadsheet for you. All people will have access to is the form itself and not the results.

To access this feature, go to http://spreadsheets.google.com and start a new Spreadsheet. Click “Share” and then “invite people: to fill out a form.” A box will appear that explains how it works as shown below:

google spreadsheet form

By clicking ‘start editing your form,” you’ll be able to write your question, add help text (this shows up under your question), and choose a question type. Question types include: paragraph text, multiple choice, checkboxes, or choose from a list. Below is an example of what you see when you are creating your form:

google spreadsheet form editing

Next is a screenshot of my form when I was done with it. I made sure to select each question type so you can an idea of what it looks like. Just click to enlarge the image:

google spreadsheet form 2

After you’ve completed the form, you will be able to choose your recipients which is my only complaint of the whole feature.  Your only option for sharing the form is to send it as an email or provide people with a direct link.  If you could embed the form into a site, this feature would be just about perfect. And remember, all of the information that is collected from the various people that fill out the form will automatically be compiled into a Google Spreadsheet for you. How convenient is that?

If you’d like to see what a form looks like, just click here and you’ll be directed to the form I created.

Source: Official Google Docs Blog

There Are 11 Comments

  1. Could you call the form inside of an iframe on your site so that the form looks like part of your site?

  2. @Ashley:

    This is great stuff! For example, for persons taking polls or making research work and need to accumulate information for statistical purposes. When I was in college, this required a lot of work and organization to recapitulate everything in Excel.

    I can think of a zillion ways this software can help me out.

    Thanks a lot!

    Regards,

    Omar.-

  3. Joe wrote:
    Could you call the form inside of an iframe on your site so that the form looks like part of your site?

    I want to know too

  4. People pay hundreds of pounds to people like Zoomerang to get their surveys done and here Google comes along and offers it for free. You can only feel sorry for those other companies. However:
    After 5000 responses it seems the spreadsheet can’t copy (according to daring fireball). And also it’s not possible to click on the label of an answer to select it, which is a usability and probably accessibility issue that makes it harder to fill in the forms. But both of these niggles can be rectified in an update. Amazing day for the internet.

  5. Google keeps adding features to doc and spreadsheets’ give it some more time and we will have a real product.

  6. Joe wrote:
    Could you call the form inside of an iframe on your site so that the form looks like part of your site?

    I’m sure you could, but I’m surprised that Google doesn’t have some kind of embed code easily accessible. With how iframes work there is no reason why doing that shouldn’t work.

  7. You can embed it in an iFrame or just grab the HTML from the published form page and experiment with that. The forms are embed-able, its just that you don’t see an easy-to-click link yet. If you look at the HTML it’s very simple.

  8. Could you also post a screenshot (or a link) showing how the resulting spreadsheet looks like ?

  9. This will be a great feature for community based non-profit organizations to conduct surveys with very little overhead. I look forward to making use of this. Thanks for the heads up.

  10. s427 wrote:
    Could you also post a screenshot (or a link) showing how the resulting spreadsheet looks like ?

    Click [cybernetnews.com] to see what the results page looks like. It’s actually very nice! Everything was automatically put in for me – including the questions.

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