If you belong to a group or organization which still collects contact information during an event or meeting using the traditional pen and paper method, it’s time to get into the digital age.You don’t have to go far for the solution.
Using Google Forms, you can collect names, emails, and other contact information on your computer or mobile device that supports mobile browsing. All the data is saved to a spread sheet which can be used for various purposes.
Creating a Form
To create a Google form, sign into your Google account and click on Documents in the menu bar. Next, click the Create button and select the Form tool.
You can add various types of input data items to your Google Form, e.g., Text boxes, Multiple choice responses, Choose from a list.
Click on the Add item button in the Forms editor and familiarize yourself with the type of items available. Before you get started with the layout of your form, outline on a separate sheet of paper the type of information you want to collect.
The “Multiple choice” and “Choose from a list” items work especially well for collecting data from a drop down option, rather than requiring responders to type out information.
Of course, you will also want to collect simple contact information (e.g. name, email, phone number) using text boxes. Keep in my mind, however, if you plan to collect information during an event or meeting, keep your data collection as simple and minimal as possible so that it takes maybe less than 30 seconds for a form to be filled out.
Collecting data using a Google Forms is much better and faster than trying to do so on a spread sheet, though the data you collect ends up in spread sheet. To enhance the form, you should use one of the supplied background themes.
Select the Theme button and choose from about 100 different themes. If none of them fit your organization or club, simply go with the graphic free Sample or Plain Form. To change a theme, click the Apply button. (Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to add your own custom image/background.)
Notice at the bottom of the Google Form editor you can click the assigned URL to see how your form will look. You can embed the form into your website, but for our purposes in this tutorial we focus on using the form to collect information during an event or meeting.
To use the form, simply go to your Documents folder and click on the title of the form in your Docs menu. The form will consist of a spreadsheet. Click on the “Form” the menu bar, where you edit, view, send or embed the form in a webpage.
Click on “Go to live form” to open it again in your web browser. Because the form is web based, it can be opened on a mobile device as well, with a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Simply send and open the URL on device(s) you want to use it on. The form can be used simultaneously on more than one device.
Using the Spreadsheet
Google Forms saves data to a spread sheet, so you can export that data, say as a CSV file and then import it into an Address Book, save or print it out as a PDF, or use it in OpenOffice.
Google Forms saves you time in collecting, managing and using data. It’s a free service, making it less expensive than similar costly services. Let us know what you think of Google Forms and how you’re using it.
For other Google doc related article, start with this:
Along with Google Forms, check out additional mobile form makers for creating forms anywhere.