How to Use Google Forms to Record Answers Easily

Graphic for How to Record Answers Easily with Google Forms

Have you ever been in the situation where you needed to collect specific information from a group of people? It could be times they’re available for a meeting, physical addresses of your friends and family, or even what your coworkers are bringing to the office party. Basically any time you need people to answer a set of questions.

Email is terrible for this because as each response comes in, you have to copy and paste the information into a readable format like a spreadsheet. While this is OK for two or three emails, what if you’re asking 50 or 100 people the same questions?

Thankfully, Google already thought of this and has a solution called Google Forms. Basically, Forms allows you to ask questions, take a poll, or even issue a quiz, all while saving the answers to Google Docs.

Ready to start recording answers easily and quickly? Here’s how to build a form and have it record answers into Google Docs.

Creating a Form in Google Docs

While you need to have a Google account to make this work, the people answering your questions do not. All they need is a link to the form.

To get started, log in at drive.google.com.

Google Sign-in page

1. Click the red NEW button in the left sidebar, click on More, then click Google Forms.

Drop-down menu from Google Drive New button

2. This will open a new window with a welcome to Google Forms. Click Get Started to continue.

3. From here you are now building your form. Starting at the top you can choose some basic form settings including showing progress, allowing only one response per person, and whether you want to shuffle the order of the questions.

Form Setting checkboxes on Google Forms

The meat of the page is right underneath this section. You should see a large area titled Untitled Form.

4. So, give your form a title. This should be descriptive of what you’re trying to accomplish with the form. For example:

  • Holiday Party Food Schedule
  • Christmas Card Mailing List
  • Quality of Service Survey

5. Give the form a description so everyone knows why they’re here and what they need to accomplish on the form.

After the title and description are set, it’s time to work on your first question. You can add as many questions as you’d like, so we’ll just look at this one question for now.

6. The first step here is to give the question a title. This is actually what people will see as the question. Some example question titles:

  • What dish are you bringing to the holiday party?
  • Enter your full mailing address.
  • How was your recent service call?

You can enter some help text to give the person answering the question a little more information on what you expect.

Duplicate contacts killing your productivity? See how Scrubly can help in this 100-second video.

7. Now choose what type of question you want to ask. Question types include basic text, a paragraph window, Multiple choice, Checkboxes, Choose from a list, Scale, Grid, and even Date and Time.

Selecting question type from Google Forms context menu

Once you select your question type you will get more options based on it. For example, you’ll have to enter each answer for Multiple choice, Checkboxes, and Choose from a list.

8. With these entered, you can now choose to turn on data validation if it applies to your question by clicking on Advanced settings. The last option is whether or not the question is required. If it is, the user can’t finish the form without answering it. This is usually best for the most important questions like name, email address, physical address, and whatever the main question of the form is.

9. When you’re all done, tell Forms what happens when a user submits his or her answers. You can give the user a link to submit another response, show a public link to see the answers, and even allow responders to edit their answers after submission.

Be careful with the Form Results item here, and only enable it when you’re dealing with a small, personal group, as this will show everyone’s answers to one another. When you’re all set, click the Send form button to continue.

Sample Google Form

10. You get four options here to share your form. First, you can just send a link to the form, you can embed your form on a Web page, you can share it via social media, or you can enter email addresses to send it to. Once you’ve decided whom to share it with, click Done.

With that step your form is complete. The final part of this process is recording the answers and viewing them.

You can actually check out the form we built as an example for this post here. Try it out and don’t worry – only Scrubly staff will be able to see your answers.

Recording Answers Using Google Forms

With the form created, you should now see a window called Choose response destination. The best way to do this is to have Google Forms create a new spreadsheet for you and record answers onto it. Just leave the settings as they are and click Create.

Choose Response Destination window in Google Forms

With this step your form is live and all answers will be recorded in the new spreadsheet in Google Docs. You can stop here and anyone with the link to your form will be able to answer it, but if you want to make it look a little nicer, click on Change theme at the top of the form window to make it look a little brighter.

Closeup of Change Theme button in Google Forms

There’s no Save button for changing the theme – it’s done automatically – so when you’re done you can close the window and you’re all set. People can answer your questions and you can view their answers either by heading over to the new spreadsheet in Google Docs or by clicking on View responses in the toolbar of the form.

Want to give Google Forms a try? Answer our 3-question form here. Don’t worry, we’ll keep your answers private!

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