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autofill formsFilling out forms online is something we all do. Whether it’s checking out our purchase on an online store, signing up for the online store, logging into an online store or adding new information to the online store.  Obviously we fill out forms on websites other than online stores, but I wanted to keep the trend going. Seriously though, there isn’t one of you who hasn’t ever had to fill out an online form and likely even the person who has filled out the fewest has filled out their fair share.

It takes so long doesn’t it? There’s good news though, in fact, I feel it’s great news. There are tools that you can use to automatically fill in these forms. Perhaps you’ve even heard of some of them, but likely you haven’t heard of all of them.

What Does It Mean To “Autofill” Online Forms?

It simply means that a program of some kind automatically detects the presence of a form on a webpage and fills in the information you have previously given it. It is important to use a program and service which is reputable as your information can be sensitive. Of course, it is up to you what you give it, but obviously the more information you provide, the more it can fill in for you.

Some examples of this might be your name, email, home address, credit card information, etc.

But Would I Really NEED Or Use It That Much?

Of course it all depends on your own habits, but my first inclination is that most people would. We all have online accounts of some sort and the two big ones would be for a webmail service and social network (e.g. Facebook).

So let’s say you have just those two. that means that every time you log into them, you have to manually type your passwords. With an autofill application, it would detect the fields and enter the log in credentials for you. All you would need to do is click log in (but some applications even do that for you too).

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Where does this really come in handy? When you are connecting an account such as Facebook, Twitter or Google to another website to either use an application or sign in through a service. This makes this process even quicker. And if you’re like me where at times you connect several sites together at a time, this can save quite a bit of time instead of having to type in password and username after password and username.

Third-Party Programs & Browser Extensions

First, let’s start with programs and browser extensions which offer the ability to autofill online forms, then we’ll move on to ways to do it within your browser. I’ve chosen some common ones and also found some not-so-common, but growing tools which have great potential.

RoboForm

autofill forms

RoboForm is a pretty well-known product that works on virtually all platforms.

autofill tools

There are several kinds of services it offers – its most popular one being RoboForm Everywhere. Although RoboForm can be free, to receive the full benefit of having your information synced across and accessible from all your devices, one of the premium plans is needed.

RoboForm isn’t just an form autofilling program, but it also can manage your passwords. It has been covered well on MakeUseOf RoboForm Desktop - Keep Your Passwords Safe & Secure RoboForm Desktop - Keep Your Passwords Safe & Secure If you use a different password for every website, how will you ever be able to remember them all? You won't, of course, and that's where a password manager comes in, where you only need... Read More and I encourage you to check out that article to find out the details of the service.

RoboForm offers an easy-to-follow tutorial for form filling specifically. Here’s a video which covers not only its form filling capabilities, but the other features it offers as well.

LastPass

autofill tools

LastPass is similar to RoboForm in many of its services – it is a password manager as well as an application which can detect and autofill forms. It too has premium options along with being free. However in my findings it offers more value. With LastPass, you can access your information on all devices. However it doesn’t charge you a monthly fee to save your information to the cloud to access everywhere, like RoboForm does. You can log in from any computer and access your passwords from the online vault.

That said, there is a premium package LastPass Premium: Treat Yourself To The Best Password Management Ever [Rewards] LastPass Premium: Treat Yourself To The Best Password Management Ever [Rewards] If you've never heard of LastPass, I'm sorry to say that you have been living under a rock. However, you are reading this article, so you've already made a step in the right direction. LastPass... Read More which offers additional services and features. Also, to use LastPass on most mobile devices such as Android, the iPhone and many others, you do need to pay.

Both RoboForm and LastPass are very reasonably priced and it mostly depends on what works best for you. Personally, I use LastPass, but seeing that I currently don’t own a smartphone, I haven’t worried yet about paying for the service. I imagine I will though eventually.

autofill tools

LastPass has been mentioned quite extensively on MakeUseOf to say the least. Most recently an article has been written about LastPass for Firefox LastPass for Firefox: The Ideal Password Management System LastPass for Firefox: The Ideal Password Management System If you've not yet decided to use a password manager for your myriad logins online, it's time you took a look at one of the best options around: LastPass. Many people are cautious about using... Read More , but like I previously stated, LastPass works for all platforms and all of the popular browsers.

Here’s a brief video featuring LastPass’s form filling capabilities, but there are several more helpful video tutorials to help explain all that LastPass can do.

Dashlane

auto fill online forms

Prior to researching this topic, I hadn’t heard of Dashlane, but I have found it quite useful. Like LastPass and RoboForm, it too is a password manager, secure note saver, online form filler, as well as other things. One thing it does is specialize in speeding up your online shopping checkout process, which autofilling applications already assist with, but Dashlane seems to go a little extra.

However, I will let our excellent article Dashlane - A Slick New Password Manager, Form Filler & Online Shopping Assistant Dashlane - A Slick New Password Manager, Form Filler & Online Shopping Assistant If you've tried a few password managers before, you've probably learned to expect some roughness around the edges. They're solid, useful applications, but their interfaces can be overly complex and inconvenient. Dashlane doesn’t just reduce... Read More explain all the details of the program and service.

Autofill Forms (Firefox only)

auto fill online forms

Autofill Forms for Firefox has been featured on MakeUseOf Automate Repetitive Forms And Registrations In A Snap With Autofill Forms [Firefox] Automate Repetitive Forms And Registrations In A Snap With Autofill Forms [Firefox] If there's any downside to working online, it'd have to be the repetitive tasks that hit you in the face on a daily basis. That same burden weighs on those of us who use the... Read More as one of the best Firefox add-ons to have. The article does an excellent job at breaking down the setup and features of Autofill Forms.

Autofill (Chrome only)

auto fill online forms

A close alternative to the Firefox version of Autofill Forms is Autofill in Chrome. It is quite simple, but at the same time has several options. This allows it to be easy to use without losing the necessary features which allow you to remain productive.

The one drawback is that there is no cloud sync, so to my knowledge the extension information is saved within the extension or browser itself. This could pose a potential problem if you were to clear your browser settings. However, there is an import/export feature, so as long as you are regularly exporting your most recent information, you should always have a backup in case something were to happen.

In-Browser Autofill Settings

Setting your browser to remember your personal information can be a security vulnerability. And many, including the website Lifehacker, commonly discourages doing it. At the same time, however, browsers are becoming more and more secure and trusted and if you want to avoid using an additional extension or service, you might prefer to set it up within your browser.

Internet Explorer

Windows provides a quick and easy tutorial to set up form filling in Internet Explorer. Simply go to Tools, click Internet Options, then select the Content tab. The second section to the bottom you’ll see AutoComplete. Click Settings and check the boxes which you wish to use AutoComplete for.

Google Chrome Autofill

This is completely different than the Autofill extension mentioned earlier. In Google Chrome, click the wrench in the upper right corner of your browser to access the settings. Click Settings and then scroll down the page and click the link “Show advanced settings…” Scroll down until you see the Passwords and Forms section. Click the checkbox by “Enable Autofill to fill out web forms in a single click“.  To add information click “Manage Autofill settings“.

You’ll then be able to enter your personal information such as name, address, phone number and email, along with your credit card information.

If you happen to need any additional help, Google provides more information on Autofill.

Mozilla Firefox

To set this up in Firefox, go to Options, then Privacy. Under History, click the dropdown menu and select “Use custom settings for history.” Uncheck the box “Always use private browsing mode” and then make sure the box “Remember search and form history” is checked. And that is it. Firefox will begin to remember the information you input.

Apple Safari

In Safari, autofilling is enabled on default. Simply go to the “Options gear” in the top right corner, click Preferences and then AutoFill.

Check the boxes you want, then click edit by “Using info from my Address Book card.” Click through the tabs, adding the information you wish to save. Once you have entered it all, you’re good to go!

Opera

Setting up autofill in Opera is just as easy as the other browsers. Click the large Opera button in the top left corner, hover over Settings then click Preferences. Click the Forms tab and information. You’re done!

Now If There Was Only An Autofill Tool To Do Our Tax Forms…

autofill forms

Conclusion

Autofilling forms is an excellent way to save time online. Personally, I would recommend checking out RoboForm, LastPass and/or Dashlane. To me, they seem like the best. But that is my opinion. Certainly browsers offer excellent options as well.

What are your thoughts on using your browser to fill forms over programs like LastPass? Does it offer any advantage that I missed in the article? Do you currently use any of these tools? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

Image Credit: Form via Shutterstock, Tax Return via Shutterstock

  1. suneo nobi
    March 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Dashlane is the best option...........

  2. suneo nobi
    March 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Dashlane+kepass=Deadly combination!!

  3. Nikhil Chandak
    October 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    amazing auto-fill tools
    thnx for the information about them

  4. Stathismag
    October 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Lastpass seems great.

  5. Petey Pabler
    September 26, 2012 at 2:17 am

    LOL, If I don't manually type in my info for everything, I forget it. Plus, my method of remembering everything in my head is safer than having all that info in an algorithm that is easy to steal.

    • Aaron Couch
      October 1, 2012 at 2:32 am

      Well, the choice is yours of course. However, LastPass and Roboform both have some very solid security... plus they don't STORE your information. How they set it all up is beyond my comprehension, but the information is available on their website.

      I read it once and since forgot it, but I could tell through reading it that there is a lot of validity to the services.

      Again, totally up to you.

      Also, part of the point of filling forms isn't just to remember it, but to save time, especially if it's repetitive. I would think that with things like your name, email, home address and phone number that you wouldn't forget those.

  6. Krysia Baker
    September 25, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I really like Last Pass. To use the password manager and autofill capabilities on non-mobile devices it is free.

  7. bonioloff
    September 24, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I like lastpass, but it is subscribe version so have to pay more and more..

  8. Thomas Frank
    September 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    There is auto-fill for taxes... sort of. TurboTax saves all my stuff from last year, so a lot of it is filled out already when I go to do my taxes. :)

    • Aaron Couch
      October 1, 2012 at 2:32 am

      That's a great point Thomas! Very true. Thanks for reading man!

  9. GrrGrrr
    September 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Dashlane is new to me. Their free version also looks good and impressive.

  10. flower king
    September 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Browser based form filling is not secure and is not recommended. I have been using lastpass for more than 4 years, which is most secure. I like creating different profiles for filling in different kind of websites in lastpass.

  11. planetshiv
    September 22, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Mostly I prefer to fill the form manually as to make sure about the amount of information I give out. However, sometimes I do use last pass for form filling particularly the bogus ones.

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