HOW TO CREATE PUBLIC SURVEYS FOR FREE

Ok, You have a problem and need to create data fast for a presentation. No Problem. This Page is all about Google Sheet Forms.

Anyone can have a Google account and if you have an Android device, you need one for the Play store. If you use Google chrome and save the bookmarks, you should have one.

How Do I know? – its linked to your gmail account so if you have an email address which ends @gmail.com then you can access the free G Suite.

What is G Suite? It’s Googles Office suite. In the past you may have used Microsoft office (Word, Excel or Powerpoint) which was upgraded for cloud connectivity / hosting and branded Office365. You may also have used Openoffice or LibreOffice which are open source versions that rival Microsoft Office products.

I will say now that I love all these Office products and am not, in any way, against any of them but in short, Google seems to be better for personal or low budget companies that don’t have the IT infrastructure for cloud security and generally cloud hosting at minimal cost with a one package fits all. Microsoft Seems to be tailored to the More corporate market where they can afford To have IT infrastructure services who have 10-15 meetings to pick and chose what services they want to pay for.

Anyway, Open your web browser and go to http://www.google.com and click on the account icon in the top right corner(normaly round with an image or letter) and select the gmail account you want to work from and sign in. Ok I will add now that This includes GSUITE customers where google handles the corporate email, such as they do for @vulcansrealm.com. The main thing is its a Google account.

Now click on the Google Apps icon, its a 3 x 3 set of squares, next to the account icon in the top right corner as shown below.

googleWebPageEdited

Now select the google sheets icon as below.

GoogleAppsEdited

This will open Google sheets web service. There is a difference between Google sheets on your device and that on the web, with the web being more comprehensive. Hopefully they will upgrade this one day but if you need it to run on a device with no web connection, then stop here and use ODK collect or one of the other numerous app creation tools. This is aimed at forms that are filled out online using a link via email, Web link or iframe HTML for a webpage deployment.

Ok So we now have google sheets home page open so lets start a new sheet project by clicking on either the + sign in the top left

googlesheetshomepageEdited

Ok First Job is to name the Spreadsheet. So click on the name as shown below in the top left. the first thing to note that as soon as ANYTHING CHANGES, the form is saved.

GoogleSheetsSpreadsheet1a

Now click on the Tools Menu

GoogleSheetsSpreadsheet1b

and Select Create a Form

GoogleSheetsSpreadsheet2a

This will now open up a form editor homepage which will allow you to create a form to gather data, but it is important to note that all the data gathered will be held in this form.

If you look at the top you will see a URL starting https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets……., This is a very important as this form is cloud hosted and it is that URL that locates the file so anyone with that will be able to see the file. This is generally how cloud hosted data is shared. However do not give this out freely and be careful with the document upload functions as someone might upload a self extracting trojan but, for internal coms, you should be able to trust your staff and if public then don’t allow uploads unless its to a secured and sandboxed account that accepts incoming mail only.

I have made no secret about the URL used as for a short time, I will give open access to it so you can see the results come through but I expect someone will try to be clever and at that point I will shut it down.

Ok so what do we put in the form, well this will be anything you want to know about but as I said, this will be public and the results viewable so we do not want to collect email addresses of respondants ( but you might ) and we want just generic information that is not identifiable. Lets create a short commuting survey.

So you should now have the following screen in front of you With a new form with the name of your spreadsheet. A little hint is if you don’t see it, press F5 or refresh the browser and it should be there.

GoogleForms1

Click it to open it into the Form editor as below

GoogleForms2

We can start typing questions straight away but lets set my security requirements first as I do not want to collect email addresses or identifiable information. So lets go into Settings by clicking the Cog icon in the top Right hand corner as circled below.

GoogleForms2a

Now I have set this one up as a form style, and I have screen shots below which are self explanatory except the last Screen shot shows the option to create an online Quiz and you can adjust the setting by clicking the toggle switch button, at the top, which will make all the options active. A handy little tip, maybe a community BINGO session should entail for those that want to play without betting. This kind of was how early role playing games back in the Commadore Amiga and Atari ST days were played across the old dial up internet. Looked more fancy but the scripts in the back end were doing basicly this.

GoogleForms3GoogleForms4GoogleForms5

Next Thing, Lets Personalise it a little, and it is only a Little, but we can add our corporate Logo or a nice image where the blue is at the top in the last screenshot. I will use my image. The one thing to bear in mind is images must be at least 800 pixels wide by 200 tall. You can alternatively chose a colour from the online pallet which I have used for the next screenshot to emphasise how changing even the colour can change how it is received and ultimately its success.

There is so much to know about customising themes that it turns into a speciality regarding people or human factors and non verbal communication generally, as some pages on this site demonstrate, that you need a specialist so i say go for what you think is good, not too bright etc, pastels look boring though, I want to highlight something aswell, and that sometimes we need to look for strengths in people with disabilities or impairments and this visual communication is a strong skill in people with some impairments. It makes comercial sense too as that skill can’t be taught in the same way as they experience it and coding or computer sciences can. I would love to champion Disabilities more and if this site grows then I will but for now I have no legal team to protect me from a whimsical lefty that wants to make 5 minutes of fame.

Ok rant over and back to the customising. Select the Painter pallet icon in the top right as below

GoogleForms6aNow select Choose Image in the sidebar that opens from the right hand side.

GoogleForms7a

Select Upload Photos in the bottom left of the pop up box

GoogleForms8a.png

Select the Upload button and upload using the file browser or drag the image onto the upload area.

GoogleForms9a

This will then open the image crop editor, remember 800×200 pixels for the header space. I am not being too artisticaly carefull in this crop below.

GoogleForms10

It should now look like this, with your picture of course.

GoogleForms11

If you select Font Style below Background colour, you can change the Font of the text on the Form but you only have 4 types by default. I have circled them below. My preference is Formal for this form but your application my find better suit to another font.

GoogleForms11a.png

Ok now lets get writing questions and exploring what types are available.

When You start typing your question, The form will try to guess what you want, and it is about 50/50 accurate, I asked ‘Do You Use Public Transport?’ and it thought that Multiple choice was the best fit. Indeed that was what I wanted but if I did not, then I could select other types from the dropdown list where it sais Multiple choice. It also tries to guess good responses and lists them in Suggestions below your question. If you want to use any of these then just click them and they appear as an answer. Otherwise, click on the Option 1 text and replace it with your bespoke answer. To add more questions, click Add Option and repeat the process. If you want to Give the option of free text then click ADD OTHER.

GoogleForms12a

Notice I also circled the Required Toggle Switch in the bottom right, This is to make an answer compulsory before the form can be submitted. I want at least one answer on this form so I made this required.

In This next image I have finished my first question and want to add another, Simply Press the + button to the right of the form as circled below. If you mess up a question, you can always change it later or you can delete it by clicking on the Trash Can Icon at the bottom of the Question.

GoogleForms13a

Ok, I now have the below form and don’t want the suggested multiple choice Question but Checkboxes. I simply Click on the Multiple choice arrow as circled.

GoogleForms14a

This bring up a list of options and I select Checkboxes, as circled below, because i want to allow multiple selections.

GoogleForms15a

I now fill this out in the same way as before with the different answers till it looks like this

GoogleForms17

From now you get the gist and I will just note what each option does.

The next image is Drop Down, You use this to create a drop down menu for a one answer question

GoogleForms18

The next Image is for a slider. You use this if a physical scale representation is important that also conveys clarity of the response required. You can set the scale from 1 to 10 or any number between but remember to anotate the slider so people know which is good or bad in this case.

GoogleForms19a

The Next Is a Date picker. This displays a calender to pick a date from.

GoogleForms20

Hey, what time is worst to travel, lets ask using a time picker

GoogleForms21

Ok, now we have a complex question. I want to know how often they use different transports but that is comparable visualy. Lets use a Multiple Choice Grid. Remember this is spreadsheet based so Rows are stacked ontop of each other and columns are side by side. this works well here as the rows can be the types of transport and freequency in the columns. This type can have one answer per row

GoogleForms22

What if we want it the other way round, say we want to ask how good or bad a service is, we might want the transport horizontaly (column) displayed and the good and bad in height (Rows). So lets use a Tick Box Grid as this allows us to have multiple answers in a row.

GoogleForms23

So we have covered all types except file upload, As I  said this form will not be accepting file uploads but if you did, the file would be uploaded to your Google Drive and linked on the spreadsheet. You can upload upto 10 files and specify the file size between 1MB and 10GB. The following options are in the image below. note I have selected to restrict certain file formats to show that you can and it also shows the supported file types.

GoogleForms24

There are other options in the menu to the right like adding images for backgrounds etc or to add a new section. This is good if used for exams as it breaks areas of relevance up. Lets say you have a combined science exam, you can split it between Physics, Chemistry and Biology like chapters. Awesome Right!!

Anyway we have our form made but we need to send it, Go back to the top of the screen and click Send.

GoogleForms25a

If you want to send as email to selected email addresses then enter the email addreses as shown below

GoogleForms26a

If you want to embed a link maybe in a webpage or confidential email group then select the link icon and click copy and then paste this where you are going to allow people to link from.

GoogleForms27a

It will look like this if you select shorten url

https://forms.gle/58mA2eouSy4WKNSc8

If on a webpage and you want to use in an html page, an iframe option is there under the double chevron icon. Again click copy and then paste into your html.

GoogleForms28a

It will might look like this depending on browser.

If you want to take the survey and see the options to view statistics then please go ahead. I have tested the Link and the iframe using Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, so if there is a problem, it might be worth trying one of those Browsers. The bonus is that it makes surveys quicker if they are filled out from a browser rather than email and you can reach far more people than with a link.

If you want to view the spreadsheet, the link is below but if it is abused, it will be withdrawn.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qUyPiuI47uErJH1dXakeT-ihwev0sOyvLREItKO3cHM/edit#gid=15108430

Now looking at the spreadsheet, you can see that the columns can be filtered and the information trended with scripting. It can also be exported in many formats.

So there we have it, a free way to create data for whatever reason publicly but the caveat is that for data security if you wanted to collect personal data, you need a paid service of GSUITE starting at £4 a month Рsee terms and conditions.

Please like and share if you thought this was a helpful post.

4 thoughts on “HOW TO CREATE PUBLIC SURVEYS FOR FREE”

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