The Google Drive suite of cloud apps is becoming a popular and powerful way to get work done, but there’s more to it than a word processor. While most productivity apps have a Google equivalent, most people don’t know that Google Drive has an awesome survey tool. In this guide, I’m going to show you how to make surveys with Google Forms.
Table of Contents
Give Me A Reason
Unless you were specifically searching for a way to make surveys, you may be asking yourself why you would even care about a free survey tool in Google Drive. OK, fair question. Let me break down some use cases for you. That way you’ll have a good idea of why you’d want to make surveys with Google Forms.
- You’re getting married and you want to compile the gift register
- Gather client feedback for your performance review.
- Compile info for a work report.
- You want to have an easy way for people to register for a party or event.
Basically, whenever you either need info from a lot of people or need to capture a lot of repetitive info yourself, something like Google Forms is perfect.
Show Me What You Got
When you make surveys with With Google Forms, you create an online questionnaire that can be easily shared with anyone. You can even print it out, although that sort of defeats the point of an online form. The responses are captured live and instantly to an online spreadsheet.
Sharing your survey form is as easy as emailing or posting a link. The only real downside is that you have no idea if someone has submitted twice. Stopping people from submitting more than once is something that paid survey systems can do, but it’s not a feature of Forms at the moment.
You can, however, collect Google usernames as a way to detect duplicate submissions, but any people who aren’t on Google obviously won’t get tagged.
In reality, that’s probably not going to be an issue. At least not to the point where it will matter.
Let’s Make Surveys with Google Forms
If you don’t already have a Google account for some weird reason, now is the time to open one. Having a Google account will give you access to the full range of free cloud tools, whether you use them or not.
There are two ways to create a new Google Form. You can navigate to your Google Drive by going to drive.google.com and create a new form by clicking new>more>Google Forms.
Alternatively, just go directly to forms.google.com and start a blank form or a template form.
Step 1: Make Something New
Now that you’ve managed to make surveys with Google Forms, you’ll be greeted with a blank document just waiting for you to turn it into something useful.
The first thing you want to do is give your form a title and then a good description of what people who get the form are expected to do and why.
Sort of like this:
With that done, you’re ready to start putting in those hard-hitting questions.
Step 2: Let Me Ask You Something
Now that your form has a title and a description we can get to the business of actually putting the questions down.
Simply write the question out in full. You can also use the drop-down menu to change the type of question you want to ask.
You can choose between option- and text-based responses, depending on what’s most appropriate.
Repeat this process until you have all the questions you want. You can add more questions by clicking the little plus sign to the right of the form.
Another neat tip is that you can simply drag the questions around to re-order them.
Step 3: A Little Decoration
If you’re in a hurry, the default colors are OK I guess. There are quite a few nice themes to choose from to liven things up. To choose one, click the small palette icon to the left of the “send” button.
If you want to see what your form will look like, hit the little eye icon to the right of the palette. This will load up a preview.
If you’re happy with the look and content, it’s time to share your form with the people.
Step 4: Testing, Testing
If you click the “send” button you’ll be given a couple of options on how to annoy – err – contact potential respondents. That includes posting it to social media or just sending an email with a link. t
Before you do that though, you need to test your form first. All you have to do is copy the link and open it in a different browser tab. Fill it in and submit it.
Now click on “responses” and you’ll see some quick info showing your test response.
Step 5: Spread the Love
Now you’re ready to send the form out however you see fit. Once you’ve shared it around all you have to do is wait. Once you have enough responses just click the little button labeled “accepting responses” to close the form.
Step 6: Getting Results
After all that effort to get some input from your audience, it’s time to see what they had to say for themselves. You can go back to the responses tab on the form to see the charts and stuff. While you are there you can click on the little green spreadsheet icon and send the responses to a Google Docs spreadsheet.
You can download that in various formats and then use it in other analysis apps like SPSS or Excel if you want to be a nerd about it.
With Great Power
Google Forms is a powerful and super-useful way to get the info you need. It’s free and easy, but when you make surveys with Google Forms you have to be responsible. If you end up spamming people it can actually get you in trouble.
So when you send off your form requests think twice about whether the person on the receiving end would actually want it. Let me know if you found it useful to make surveys with Google Forms in the comments.
Lead Image is Public Domain
All Screenshots by Kees Friesland