Getting Your Google Login
Before using Google Forms, you will need a Google login. These logins are totally free. You will use this login to access Google Docs, a service that provides forms to anyone free of charge. If you already have a Google account from using another Google service (e.g. Gmail), you will not need to create a new one. Any Google account can have its own Google Docs.
To get a Google Account, go to docs.google.com and click the blue “Get Started” button. On the following page, simply fill out your email information and choose a password for your Google account.
Once you submit the form on this page, Google will send an email to you at the listed address to verify that email address’ authenticity. You must click the link in that email to verify the login. Once that’s done, you’re ready to go!
Creating a Form in Google Docs
Once you have your account, you can login and access your docs at docs.google.com at any time. To create a new form, go to the top-left corner of the page and click the “Create new” button. In the menu that appears, click “Form.” This will take you to the form creation tool.
First, create a title for the form in the box at the top of the page (delete “Untitled form” and fill in your own title). In the box underneath that, you can include any additional information you would like the users of the form to see before they start filling it out—this text will appear on the form just above the first element.
All Google forms begin with two text elements included by default. You can change or remove these elements if you don’t want them using the buttons to the right of the element (pencil means edit, trash can means delete). Elements can be easily reordered on the fly using drag and drop. To add a new element, click the “Add item” button at the top-left corner of the screen. The menu will show you your options for various types of form elements (see right). Choose whichever type of element works best for the question you wish to ask. You can also add a section header or a page break from this menu. Page breaks help keep a long form manageable in size. Additionally, each element will automatically include a checkbox which toggles whether the element is required or not. If you make an element required, the user who is filling out the document will not be able to submit their form until they have answered that question.
Create as many elements as you need. You can mix and match the elements as much as you’d like.
Embedding Your Form
Embedding your form onto your School Loop page is easy! Embedding will require webmaster rights, as you will need to use the Custom HTML element on the CMS editor. You can get the embed code for the form by going to the top of the form creation page and clicking on the “More actions” button. This will drop a menu with a few options in it—clicking on “Embed” will provide you with the embed code for the form. Simply cut and paste this into a Custom HTML element on the School Loop CMS.
In many cases, you will have to edit the size of the form to fit the columns in School Loop. This can be done easily by editing a few basic pieces of information in the HTML code. Simply change the height and width of the form until it fits into the column on the School Loop webpage. You can also add the center/center tag to make the form center-justified.
Note: The Custom HTML Element is only available to Webmasters.
Checking the Results of Your Form/Survey
To see the results of your form, log on at docs.google.com with your Google username and password. All forms are automatically given a spreadsheet that populates in real-time as the results come in. You can manipulate this spreadsheet as much as you would like, though some formatting changes will affect the way the spreadsheet shows its results, so tread carefully.
Initially, spreadsheets will be given a default title. To change the title of the spreadsheet to reflect its contents, simply click on the spreadsheet to open it and then double-click on the title at the top of the page. This will display a box where you can edit the spreadsheet’s name. Editing the spreadsheet’s name will not affect the title of your form.
Tips and Tricks
- If you don’t want to embed your form, you can post a link instead. The direct link to your form can be found at the bottom of the form editing page in a black bar. You could post this link in a locker on School Loop, link to it in an assignment, post a news item with the link in it, or include the link in the Quick Links element on your homepage.
- Make a mistake? Want to add a question or two? Or just not done creating the form yet? You can find the form creation page again by entering the results spreadsheet and going to the “Form” menu at the top of the sheet. Click “Edit form” and your form will be displayed for editing.
- You can change the look and feel of your form by clicking the “theme” button at the top of the editing page. Google offers a wide array of different themes from which to choose. Be mindful, however, of how the theme will look depending on how you intend on displaying the form in School Loop!
- You can set your form to email you every time a response is submitted! Go to "Share" at the top-right corner of your form's results spreadsheet and select the drop-down menu. From the menu, click "Set notification rules." From the list, check "A user submits a form." You can also select a variety of other notification settings from this menu.
- You can share your results with other people who have Google logins by clicking the “Share” button in the top-right corner of a document and clicking “Invite people.” This will allow other people to view and/or edit this document. You can choose who gets access and whether they are allowed to make changes to the results.
- You can also use your same Google Docs account for online word processing, spreadsheet editing, and presentations—sort of like an online Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. You can share these documents with friends and co-workers as well, making Google Docs a powerful online collaboration tool.