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Get Online Forms as HTML Email or PDF

The email format we use to send form responses is flexible and supported by all desktop, web-based, and mobile email clients. Plain-text emails however become tedious to read and process for long forms and when form results must be printed for processing, e.g. for mortgage application forms, quote request forms, and many types of forms in the insurance and real estate industries.

Get Form Responses in Rich-Text Format

FormSmarts users now have the option to have form submissions sent formatted as a table in a rich text (HTML) email.

Form in HTML Email

The main advantages of HTML emails are:

  • Form reports are shorter
  • Look is more appealing online and printed
  • Email addresses, web links, and callto links (e.g for Skype) will launch the relevant application when clicked, as long as the field type as been set correctly.

To start receiving form results in HTML, change the Email Format to HTML Email in the Settings tab of your account.

Customize the Subject of Form Response Emails

With Business accounts, the subject line of form response emails can be customized on a form-by-form basis via the API Console as explained in the API documentation. The subject line template may include parameters that will be replaced with the form’s name, its ID, the FormSmarts reference number of the form submission, or the value of a particular input field.

Parameter Description
$form_name Form name
$form_id Form ID, e.g. 196x for form http://f8s.co/196x
$fs_ref_num The FormSmarts reference number of the form submission
$1, $2,… $n The value of the nth input field. The data type of the field must be one of Letters Only, Letters+Numbers, Positive Integer, Number, Country, Date, or the value of a drop-down list, radio buttons or checkbox.

Email subjects can’t be customized via the form builder at this time.

View Form Responses Online or Get a PDF Report

Business-level customers may also view form data online and download a PDF report using the link located at the bottom of email notifications. In addition to form data, the online and PDF reports contain additional information about the transaction that is not accessible by other means. Additional information is currently limited to the IP address from where the form was submitted.

Note: This feature requires that data storage be enabled for each of the forms for which you would like to be able to access form responses online. For privacy reasons, data storage is disabled by default.

Form Response in PDF

We welcome your feedback about the ability to get form submissions in HTML format.

Posted on June 4th, 2009 in form handler.
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FormSmarts Soon in More Languages

We’ve started to translate FormSmarts’ form handler into other languages. When the international version is released, form users will see instructions, error messages, and confirmation messages in their preferred language.

International form owners will welcome this move, but not only them.

  • FormSmarts users with international websites will be able to create forms in English, while making them available to an international audience without any extra efforts;
  • a U.S. user with a preferred language set to Spanish in his browser will see messages in that language.

Note that the internationalization in progress only applies to the form processor at this time. At the rate we introduce new features to the form builder, we wouldn’t be able to keep translations in sync.

We’ve already emailed international users to ask anyone able and willing to translate FormSmarts into their own language to sign up. If you would like to contribute but didn’t get the email, please register here.

Update: We would like to thank all the users who have already volunteered to translate FormSmarts into their language. Our most wanted languages are currently:

  • Chinese (Simplified) / 中文 (简体)
  • Japanese / 日本語
  • Russian / русский
  • Italian / italiano
  • Polish / polski
  • Korean / 한국어

Posted on September 16th, 2008 in form handler.
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Stored Form Results

Whenever someone uses one of your forms, we email you the form submission straight away. That is, at this time, the only way we support for you to access form results.

That’s great if you need to collect time-sensitive information that needs to be processed individually. For example, for contact forms or order forms.

For most individuals and small businesses, their email account is where data is safest. Free email services like Gmail or Yahoo give you reliable data storage, that’s an advantage that is often overlooked.

But sometimes what you want is really to collect form data, store it somewhere, and use it later. That’s what you need for medium and large scale surveys, registration forms, and the likes.

Stored form results is the next big thing coming up on FormSmarts.

What Will Change with Stored Form Results?

When this feature becomes available, you’ll have the option to store form submissions on FormSmarts. You’ll then be able to download them, export them to Microsoft Excel, get them emailed to you weekly, or get them via a private RSS feed.

Stored Form Results will only be available to FormSmarts Pro customers. Users of the free service can however get a free upgrade to FormSmarts Pro if they earn enough SmartsPoints, FormSmarts’ reward scheme.

Anything to Say?

We’re open to suggestions about other ways to let users retrieve stored form data.

Posted on August 5th, 2008 in form handler.
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Date Type & Datepicker

Datepicker

Anyone using a standard text field for dates should upgrade to the new date type.

Fields with the date type show as a text box, with a datepicker poping up when the field is selected. A datepicker allows users to input dates in an intuitive and interactive way, therefore reducing the risk of errors.

Date Format

Another reason for using a datepicker is to alleviate the date format problem. Because of date formatting differences, 12/07/2008 means December 7th in the U.S., but July 12th in Europe. Although we initially thought of adopting the ISO/W3C date format “yyyy-mm-dd”, we eventually preferred the U.S. format “mm/dd/yyyy”. That is, until we release an internationalized version of FormSmarts.

Because users don’t interact directly with the text field (unless they want to), but rather with the datepicker, they don’t have to be aware of date formatting issues.
To avoid any misunderstandings, dates are displayed as Sunday July 20, 2008.

Any questions or comments? Leave a reply. We are in particular interested in feedback from non U.S. users.

Posted on July 20th, 2008 in form handler.
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Geolocalized Country Selection Field

We’re going to add over the week-end two new input field types: country, and date. You should upgrade any web forms currently using a standard text field for country or date to the new types.

When to Use the Country Type

Choose the country type whenever you want to show on a form a dropdown list with the 280 odd ISO country names.

Visitor Country Selected by Default

A country list field is typically used to ask the visitor about his/her country of residence. You’ve certainly already experienced the frustration of having to search for your country in a long list each time you fill out a form. At FormSmarts, we want to save time to everyone, so the visitor’s country is automatically selected by default.
That way, users only have to change the selection if the question asks them about a country different from their country of residence. For example, “Where did you travel last time you went abroad?”

Reducing the time needed to fill a form helps reduce form abandonment.

Any questions or comments? Leave a reply.

P.S. We’ll present the date type in another post.

Posted on July 17th, 2008 in form handler.
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Why Does Submitting a Form Require Two Steps?

Many form processors let visitors submit a form in only one step: users fill in the form, and are done after pressing the submit button. With FormSmarts, there is an extra confirmation step, during which users are invited to review and confirm the information submitted. There are two strong reasons why we added the confirmation step.

The first reason is quality. FormSmarts is typically used for transaction where the information submitted is important. Important because the information collected is intended to be read by humans, rather than machines. Important because this information is often intended to be acted upon.


By allowing users to review and modify their submission, we increase the accuracy of the information you get in the end.

Form users understand that, and it increases their confidence that you value the information they are sending you. Most of times, confirmation will only add a few seconds to the whole transaction.

The second reason is security and usability. Many form submissions are automated, or even manual spamming attempts, known as form spam or comment spam.

When a user presses the submit button, a lot more happens on the server than you may suspect. If we spot a likely spamming attempt, we’ll ask the user to complete one or more tests (e.g. CAPTCHA test) on the confirmation page. But in the same time, the bulk of users will never be asked to waste time on a CAPTCHA test.

Posted on April 23rd, 2008 in form handler.
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Form Processor Upgrade: More Interactivity for Web Form Users and More

We’ll be upgrading at the end of the week some key components of FormSmarts. The changes will affect both form users and form owners.

More Interactivity for Web Form Users

  • form users can modify any invalid data they may have submitted in the same page, rather than having to press the back button
  • form users can modify submitted data even when form data is not cached by the browser, or if JavaScript is disabled
  • we’ve added features to improve the experience of visually-impaired users equipped with screenreaders

Changes in Email Notification of Form Results

  • new email subject format [Form #123] My Form Name #456
  • the first part [Form #123] is fixed so that you can use it to create a filter within your mail client
  • emails now include a unique transaction ID, e.g. #456 that can be used, for example, as an order number for order forms (form users are shown the transaction ID on the confirmation page)
  • whenever your form contains an email field, you can now reply to sender hitting the reply button in your email client
  • because of the previous point, we no longer show your pass-phrase in every email

Posted on April 15th, 2008 in form handler.
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Tips for Web Form Users with Non-English Language Websites

Many users in non-English speaking countries now use FormSmarts, so we thought we would post a few recommendations for them.

When building your forms with the form creator, use the text data type for any fields that may contain non-English characters, such as the accented characters found in many European languages (All data types now support all languages/character sets).
Note that non-European languages like Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese and Russian are not supported at this time.

As you know, FormSmarts form handler is not a simple form to email processor script like FormMail. Each and every web form submission is analyzed in real time, and the user may be asked to complete a challenge if we suspect a form spam attempt. Although anyone capable of reading elementary English should be able to understand what is expected from him/her in that context, this is something you may have to take into account when designing your web forms. You could for example warn users in the form filling instructions.

If you need help, we provide limited support in French, German, and Chinese (as well as English, of course.) You can write us in any of those languages, but we will only reply in English.

Posted on March 11th, 2008 in form handler.
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FormSmarts Compared with Other Form Handlers

What’s specific about FormSmarts form handler? Compared with other web form handlers, FormSmarts may not offer yet the richest set of features. We currently only deliver form results by email, although other form delivery methods are under development.

We believe our Ajax-based form builder allows our users—including those with little technical knowledge—to get an HTML form ready in very little time, and that’s something we wanted. Simplicity, efficiency and usability were our primary design goals.

That being said, FormSmarts is best viewed as a web spam blocker with form handling features, rather than a form handler with form spam prevention features.

Form accessibility is another strong point of FormSmarts: our web forms are usable by anyone, using any HTML-capable browser.

Unlike most other form handlers available today, FormSmarts was puposedly designed to block form spam. We didn’t simply add a CAPTCHA to an old formmail script. The same applies to our form builder: our care for usability and accessibility didn’t come as an afterthought.

Posted on December 9th, 2007 in form handler.
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About the Form Builder Blog

The Online Form Builder Blog is published by FormSmarts, a web form service providing all you need to create a form and publish it online in minutes. FormSmarts makes it easy to build a form and embed it on your site. You can then get form submissions by email or store them on FormSmarts and download an Excel report. Learn more about the many other benefits of FormSmarts.