Google Sheets: Forms Field Options, Logic & Sections
Previously, we started to explain some of the key ideas and benefits of Google Forms. Now, it’s time to dig deeper into the topic and learn a few tricks and tips to make it more straightforward to you to work with its features. First, we are going to show you all the field types and options that are important in order to get along with Google Sheets. In the second half, we will start to work with form logic and sections. In the end, you will be able to create various forms and even divide it into sections within a few minutes.
Google Forms Field Options
In Google Forms, there are 12 field types. This includes the 9 question types as well as the text, video and photo fields. In the right sidebar, there is a + icon which allows you to add a new question and a text, video and photo icon in case you want to add media to the form. You can duplicate each field with the copy button, thus making it easier to add similar questions if required. There is also an option to make a particular field required, and a delete button if you want to get rid of it.
The question types can be changed at any time, but keep in mind that your questions and field settings will immediately reset if you switch from the checkbox, menu or multiple choice types to any of the other ones. You can quickly fill each field with questions one-by-one just by hitting Enter each time you are done. The Ctrl + Z combination works there as well in case anything undesired happens.
Now let’s describe each field type with a few sentences:
- Title with Description: Google Forms adds a title and a description fields automatically to forms and fields (the description is mostly hidden by default) and extra title blocks can be added by hitting the Tt button. You must type something into the main form title, but the title and description can be left blank. Although there are no formatting options in the description, you can include links in the text if you want (in full-length style like https://example.com/ or the shortened format such as example.com), so everyone who sees your form can click it and see your related content as well.
- Short Answer: With this field, you can ask for tiny bits of information: names, addresses, email, values and so on. You can always get the answers you need, because it includes text, length, regular expression and number data validations. Text validations help you to look for links and email addresses, while number validations are a great way to watch for values and ranges.
- Paragraph: It’s almost the same as the previous one, except that this is a field for long form texts. If you want long notes or detailed feedbacks, you can use the regular expression and length validations here.
- Multiple Choice: You can list multiple options at each question and let your users select one with this default field. The form can then jump to a specified section depending on the answer, and there is also an option to shuffle the answers, thus preventing bias.
- Checkboxes: With this field, you can list multiple answers as well and all of them can be selected at the same time. You can even set a required number of checked answers with the data validation option, but this field does not include section jumps.
- Dropdown: You can put all of the answer options into a dropdown menu and it works pretty much the same as the Multiple Choice field. It has the previously mentioned shuffle and section jump options, while keeping your form compact. It’s just better to keep the answer options in a menu in case there are many of them.
- Linear Scale: People can select a number from 0 or 1 to 2 or 10 on a linear scale which will represent their opinion on the specific matter. This is a great field option if there is no clear answer to a particular question. Linear Scale allows you to use labels too.
- Multiple Choice Grid: This may be a little bit confusing, because each field is displayed as a list rather than an actual grid. You can add questions as rows, and the answer options will be displayed as columns.
The number of rows and columns is not limited, but keep in mind that users will have to scroll right if they want to see more than 3 columns on mobile or 6 columns on desktop. Therefore, it’s recommended to keep the preview option open while you add the grid questions. There will be an eye icon on your top right, just tap it and refresh the page to see the changes.
You can require a response for each row from the users and also limit each column to only one response.
- Date: If you want to log an activity, schedule an event or ask users for specific time or date, the date field is the option you are searching for. You can either ask only for the date and month, or add the year and time to the field as well. Google Forms will choose a date format according to your location, since it can be shown in two different ways. If you have an US English account, the date format will be MM/DD/YYYY, but if you set it to UK English, it will be changed to DD/MM/YYYY.
Your Google Account locale as well as your account language can be changed at youraccount.google.com/language.
- Time: This option allows you to request time duration in hours, minutes or seconds as a way to log the lenght of time for a particular activity.
- Image: You can add images to your form in various ways. Google Forms lets you insert one from your Google Drive or an external link, upload one from your desktop or phone device, or take a webcam photo (you need to have Flash installed). There are also stock images and photos available on Google Images from LIFE, licensed exclusively for Google Drive.
- Video: YouTube videos are the only type of video Google Forms supports and you can add them via search or by linking.
In the next section, you will learn to put these features together and create a complete form. We will explain how to implement a logic that brings users to the right questions.
Form Logic and Sections
You only need to use a few fields for a simple contact form, but there are those long surveys which can quickly get tedious with a bunch of questions on each page. It’s much better to break it up into sections and let people answer them one-by-one. When you build up a form, there is a button (the last one) in the right toolbar that adds a section right below the current question once you click it.
In the form editor,you can assign a title and description to each section and the arrow button will let you hide and show the questions in each one in a rather tidy manner. You can freely drag-and-drop questions from one section to another, but full sections can’t be rearranged. The only thing you can do is to drag the questions elsewhere and delete that section. Google Forms can actually save you lots of time, because the sections can be duplicated whenever you need to reuse one, providing you with another copy of the questions.
With that being said, it’s time to talk about logic jumps. Let’s suppose you want to create a form where you ask certain questions, and every time a user answers them, a respondent followup question will appear based on his / her choice. For example, you can ask an event attendee’s most preferred drink, but only if they drink alcohol.
Firstly, add sections with your questions, and then add a section jump to it which brings the user to an individual checkbox, menu or multiple choice questions or even to a particular section. Be careful, because you always need to think about where you send those people who shouldn’t see those questions. If there is nothing else to ask, you can simply send them to the end of your form and ask them to submit their answers.
If you use these jumps and form sections cleverly, your form can easily turn into a mini-application. It’s a great way to execute detailed surveys by involving only the most important questions for each respondent.
Also, don’t forget that if you select the name of your current section as a section to jump to, you will create an endless loop of the same section and people can never finish your form.
Stay tuned for our next article, where you can learn more about designing your form and linking it to your spreadsheet.