FAQ – Online survey with Google Forms / Drive / DocsFabian Piau | Sunday April 24th, 2016 - 06:46 PM
The article Using Google Forms / Drive / Docs to create an online survey regularly receives comments. I realized that people come across similar issues, so I decided to write this article as a FAQ. I do not consider myself a Google Forms expert and Google can evolve the product at any time, making my articles outdated. However, you can probably find the answer to your question in this FAQ (hopefully).
When a user wants to respond to the form, he / she has to connect to Google first, is it normal?
You must disable the option “Only allow one response per person” that forces people to connect to their Google account. Be aware that without this option on, people can potentially answer the form several times.
How to prevent a person to answer the survey several times?
To have more confidence in the results, you can enable the option “Only allow one response per person”. Note that users will be asked to log in to their Google Account to view and complete the form, but the actual user name will not be recorded.
I don’t want to force users to have a Google account, is there an alternative?
If you do not want to force your users to have a Google account, an alternative is to use pre-populate the form.
For example, here are links to pre-populate the field “name” in a sample survey:
You will notice that the URL changes at the end with an additional parameter. Only one field is pre-populated, but it is very easy to pre-populate several fields (such as name or email). Generate the link from the menu to get the syntax of the parameters and then you can manually change them before sending the link. If you have many links to send, it will take you some time, but it will work.
However, note that it does not prevent the person to modify the pre-populated information (directly from the form, or by changing the URL) or submit the survey multiple times.
It is not possible to hide fields, but there is a workaround! You can add fields you want to hide on a specific section of your form that will never be displayed. You have to use sections in your form and change the navigation to never show the section that contains the hidden fields and go to the next one directly. Read pages Add content to your form to know how to add a section and especially this page Control navigation to sections of a form.
Again, this will not prevent the user to manually change the URL, but many will not pay attention, especially if you use a URL shortener tool.
Is it possible to include the form in my website?
Yes, it is possible to include the form in your website as an
iFrame. The option is available from the “File” menu. The menu generates an HTML code snippet that you can then copy / paste into a page of your site. You can also write the code manually, for example:
<iframe src="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1SEu1y1TvOyPUwkUHcwgC-ky0LIVZXCjjr5ARH_E3mK0/viewform?embedded=true" width="760" height="500" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0">Loading...</iframe>
You can change the size of the
iFrame and the URL to fit your form.
Is it possible to include the form directly in an email?
Yes, it is possible. When sending the email (via the “Send form” menu), make sure the checkbox “Include form in email” is checked.
I would like to get the IP address of each participant. Is it possible?
No, it is not possible to trace the IP address. You can force the users to authenticate before they can respond to the form, but this requires users to log in with their Google Account.
Is it possible to change the answers after having submitted the form?
When building the form, there is an option on the confirmation page settings, “Edit their response: Allows respondents to change their answers to your form”. If this option is checked, after submitting the form the person will have the confirmation page with a unique link to edit his / her answers. This link is displayed only one time, if the person closes the window, he / she will no longer be able to change his / her answers. You can find more information on the official documentation Send your form to respondents.
Is there a maximum number of responses?
There is no particular limit. However, a spreadsheet has a limit of 2 million cells.
Is it possible to redirect the users to another site once the form is submitted?
No, that’s not possible. A good idea may be to change the confirmation page message at the end of your form. Instead of the classic “Your response has been recorded”, replace with another sentence inviting the user to click on a link to continue.
Is it possible to not accept new responses after a specific date?
There is no such feature. But nothing prevents you from adding a free text section at the top of the form to indicate that it will be available until yyyy-mm-dd. And on that date, you close the form. This will have the same effect.
To prevent new answers to be submitted, click the Accepting responses in the toolbar. The button will show “The answers are no longer accepted” To reactivate it, click the button again.
When a form is no longer accepting response, users who visit are informed by a message that their answers will not be collected. To customize this message, change the text that appears under the title “The form has been disabled” in the top of the form.
Is it possible to create a multilingual survey?
It is not possible, but there are some workarounds that can more or less suit your needs.
You can create different forms, the link will be different, so as the summary of responses. It will be impossible to merge the results automatically, you will have to rework the table of responses with a spreadsheet tool like Excel (to consolidate the responses).
You can also add a first question that asks the user his/her language, then you can display the relevant sections in the selected language. Compare to the first solution, the link will be identical for everyone (no risk of error). The downside is that the question in French and the one in English will be on different columns (one cell will be always empty), so the summary of responses won’t match your expectations. Again, you will have to consolidate the responses manually.
Is it possible that a person starts to respond to a form and wants to resume it later?
No, that’s not possible. All responses are recorded once when submitting the form.