Transitioning from the College of Engineering Forms System

Transitioning from the College of Engineering Forms System to Google Forms can be a relatively simple, straight-forward process. Google Forms offers a variety of tools to create and customize your forms, and even allows data gathering and e-mail. On this page, we will review the steps necessary to replicate most form functionality through Google Forms.

Step One: Knowing Your Form

Before you can get started, take a few minutes to understand what you want out of Google Forms as you transition. In short, there are three things you want to make certain before you actually make a form:

  1. How the form looks. Most of the themes Google Forms offers are available from the onset. You’ll want to consider how it represents the questions or input you want to receive from your customer.
  2. What the form does with the data. It is important that you consider exactly how you want the data processed, and where you want it to go. Google Forms, by default keeps the data in a collection of forms but it can be stored in a Google Spreadsheet as well.
  3. What data do you need to collect. Moving to the new forms system is a good opportunity to review what data you collect in the form and make any changes. 

Once you know how the form will work, you can begin creating it.

Step Two: Starting Your Form

First Log into your Google Docs/Drive account at: http://docs.umich.edu

 Navigate to the left, click the button. You can now select create your new Form:


Creating a Form

Once you have chosen your template it leads you directly to the “Front Page” of your Form. From here, we will discuss the tools that Google Forms offers, and how to replicate certain functions of your old form.

Step Three: Replicating Your Form

Google Forms supports the following types of data input:

  • Text and Paragraph Text. Both are essentially the same, but Paragraph Text provides a bigger text box that leaving more of their text visible to them. They are functionally identical.
  • Multiple Choice. These are the Bullet Point selections that are exclusive to one another. For example, when you are requesting one out of a certain number of things.
  • Checkboxes. These are the selections where a submitter can select any or all of a certain number of options.
  • Choose From a List. This is just a drop-down menu. Note that it offers an Other option when you are actually creating the List, and thus you can have an Other that takes in text instead.

These can all be found in the upper right, in the Insert menu:


Other things you can insert are Section headers, which do exactly what it implies. Page breaks are available when it is necessary for creating new pages (more information on new pages later). Images can also be added.

When you create a Multiple choice menu, Google Forms offers you the option to Go To a Page based on the answer. This is very useful for when you want to have multiple types of input in one Google Form, or in other words, when the submitter could be reporting any number of categories of an issue. The image below provides an example of such usage:

Please note that when adding additional pages, you must select Submit Form instead of Continue to Next Page. The final page will automatically submit it for you. With these tools, you should be able to replicate virtually any form you previously had on Google Forms.

Step Four: Managing Your Data

Now that you have set up your form to take in the submitter's data, you must decide what to do with the data itself. By default, Google Forms offers the following options:

  1. The Form itself will, by default have a copy of the data that the user input.
  2. A Spreadsheet containing all data the submitter inputs. Note that if you check the box Automatically collect respondent’s University of Michigan username, then this will also be placed there.
  3. When you select Choose response destination, you are provided with options such as not sending any data to a spreadsheet, or selecting a specific spreadsheet to send to. You may also choose to create a new spreadsheet for each specific response. In the Responses menu, you may also view a quick summary of responses, or delete them from the Form (but not the Spreadsheet). You may wish to receive an e-mail each time someone fills out your form. This can be handled in the Spreadsheet you send data to directly, so feel free to navigate to that page now.

Within the Responses Spreadsheet, you can see that the Form has already filled out the header for each of the possible columns. Note that if you create multiple pages with some same input, each of the inputs will still receive a unique header. Depending on your form, this can be optimal or not. The only real workaround is to have a central page where they give that data before proceeding.

In the Tools Menu, you will see a Notification Rules option. You can click this and it will allow you to be notified whenever a new user fills out the form, or if a user edits the spreadsheet. You can also set it to give you a daily update on submissions, or every time.

Step Five: Scripting & Other Nuances

Occasionally, you’ll want to achieve something through Forms that is unrelated to the standard tools Google offers. For that, there’s Google Scripts. Google Scripts works similarly to Javascript, if you’re familiar with it, but is generally simpler to use, and more importantly includes a whole host of useful classes pre-made. To create scripts, click Tools >> Script Manager >> New, and you can create one. Note that Google Forms also allows you to have Scripts occur in it.

One of the more useful things with regards to the Scripts is the Trigger: Whenever there is a submission, or based on a time interval, you can have the form call your script rather than simply having the script run when you manually run it. Another option is to use your scripts to allow custom commands within the Spreadsheet.

Classes that may come in handy are:

Further Assistance

There is a wealth of information on the web for learning how to use Google Forms. A useful document for getting started is "Using Google Forms" by Eric Curts.

If you have any questions about transitioning your forms from the College of Engineering Forms System, or if you have general concerns about the process, please contact CAEN.