Let Users Choose to Whom a Form Is Sent

FormSmarts allows you to set up a form so the response is sent to a different person depending on the option the respondent picks on the form.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • A business has three locations and wants to allow customers to contact or submit an application to any of them
  • A non-profit would like to set up the contact form on their site so people can send a message to the relevant officer like the treasurer or chairperson.
  • A company needs to allow clients to submit a Sales and Customer Support inquiry on the same form

When someone submits a form, FormSmarts usually sends a notification to all email targets of a form, but you can change this behavior with a message routing rule. Let's use the first example to illustrate how to do this.

Create a Form

We've created the simple form shown below to support this example. Feel free to try it.

User Selects Recipient on Form

Add Emails to the Form Builder

Sign in the form builder and add the name and email address of each location in the Email Accounts section of the Settings tab. Make sure you name locations exactly as you want them to appear on the form.

Form Target Emails in the Email Accounts pane of the Form Builder

Change the Target Emails of the Form

Once all email addresses are verified, use the icon showing a pen in the Forms tab to edit the form. Select all three email addresses in the dropdown in the Submit Actions panel and save.

Update the Notification Routing Rule

Check the Email Addresses Where You Want to Send the Form

Edit the form again and click Update email routing policy to open the Routing Policy dialog. Select User-Selected Recipient and save changes.

Turn On User-Selected Recipient Routing Rule

You'll notice that a new dropdown list was added to the form to allow from respondents to select who they want to send their inquiry to.

We've renamed it to Select a Location and moved it to the top of the form. You can also change the form control to radio-buttons if you want to draw users attention to the selector and ensure respondents choose the correct location. Try the resulting form here.

Protect the Confidentiality of Form Responses with Encrypted Email

FormSmarts Encrypted Email (S/MIME) allows you to protect the confidentiality of the data submitted through your forms, while keeping the convenience of receiving form responses by email.

Encrypted Email (S/MIME)

FormSmarts encrypted email uses asymmetric encryption (also known as public-key cryptography) to encrypt a message before it is sent in such a way that only the form recipient can decrypt it. The email message itself is encrypted, not just the connection used to deliver it to its destination.

With encrypted email, a form response is encrypted in FormSmarts' backend and only decrypted by the email app on your computer or phone.

FormSmarts secure email is based on the Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), an Internet standard that is supported by most desktop and mobile email apps.

Should I Use Encrypted Email for My Forms?

Any form that collects personal identifiable information (PII) like Social Security Numbers, health or financial data should be a prime candidate for being delivered by encrypted email.

S/MIME encrypted email is often an alternative to Advanced Protection, which requires form recipients to log in to FormSmarts to access form responses.

How Does Encrypted Email Compare with Standard Email?

Encrypted Email Standard Email
Message Encrypted Not encrypted
Connection Encrypted Usually encrypted
Permanent Storage Encrypted (message is only decrypted in your inbox) May be encrypted

How Can I Start Using S/MIME Email?

All you need to start receiving form submissions by secure email are:

  1. An email software or app that supports S/MIME (most do)
  2. A S/MIME certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA), which you can get free from the CA listed here after verifying your email address
  3. Install the certificate on the devices where you want to access encrypted messages then send a signed message to FormSmarts.

Automated Form Confirmation Email

FormSmarts autoresponder allows you to send an automatic email confirmation when someone submits one of your forms.

Toggle on form email confirmation in the Submit Actions tab of the Form Builder

To start sending a confirmation email to form respondents, sign in to the form builder, edit the form, and toggle on Send confirmation email in the Submit Actions tab shown above.

Form Confirmation Emails

The confirmation email option is only available with the default Show confirmation message Submit Action and when you redirect form users to your site. Other types of email confirmations are sent with other submit actions.

Payment Forms

When someone submits a registration form or any other form that involves a payment, FormSmarts sends instead a payment & submission confirmation email. A payment confirmation email is always sent as soon as the payment goes through, there is no need to set it up. You can customize the message text as discussed in the section below.

Confirmation Email On Request On the Summary Page of a Form

The Summary Page option (Show summary with print, email & PDF options in the On Submission drop-down list) allows users to choose whether they want to request an email confirmation or download a PDF receipt.

Edit the Email Message

No matter what types of confirmation emails (autoresponder, payment confirmation or opt-in email confirmation), you can modify the text at the top of the message.

The confirmation email also includes a copy of the information submitted (this is optional for autoresponder messages) and a QR code. You can scan the QR code with your phone to check in attendees at an event or access the form response on FormSmarts to review its payment status and associated notes, check it’s authenticity, etc.

Calendar Invite for Event Registration Forms

ICS iCalendar invite email attachment

When you create a registration form, please remember to add the details of the event to your form so FormSmarts can include a calendar invite in the email notification.

A calendar invite is an email attachment in a standard format (ICS) that allows the email recipient to easily add the event to their calendar. Invites are supported by Outlook on Windows, Apple mail and Calendar on Mac OS X, and the Gmail (pictured above) and Google Calendar apps on iOS and Android. Feel free to try this demo.

Note: Payment confirmation emails will only support calendar invites from mid-May 2021. We will announce the release on Twitter and Facebook, please follow us for updates.

Reply-To Email Address

You can designate a public email address in the Contact Info section of your account.

If set, we use your public email as the Reply-To address of confirmation emails. This allows recipients to reply directly by clicking the Reply button of their email app.

Public email address changes may take up three hours to propagate to all your forms.

Email Sender Name

The name of the sender is derived from the company or organization name set in your account.

Changes may take up three hours to propagate to all your forms.

How to Share a Form with Others

If you ever shared your password with a collaborator so they can download form attachments or view a report, read on. You should instead invite them to your account and share the form with them.

Create a user in your account for each collaborator in your organization
Create a sub-account for each user, don’t share your admin password with others

How Do I Invite Someone to My Account?

You invite others to join your account by creating a user for them. Once someone has joined your account, you can share a form with them and allow them to perform actions like:

To create a user, first add the person’s email address to the Settings tab of the form builder. Once they’ve verified their email, head to the user management dashboard of your account.

Enter the user’s first and last name, select their verified email address, and click Create User. We’ll email them to let them know they can now log in to FormSmarts, but we won’t give them their auto-generated password: please send it either by IM or voice call.User Management Dashboard

How Do I Share a Form With a User?

To share a form with a user, tap Edit Permissions in the Actions menu corresponding to the user, as shown on the screenshot above.

Select the form you want to share at the bottom of the Edit Permissions screen (shown below) and click Share.

Toggle permissions on/off as needed to allow the user to perform specific actions only.

Share Forms with a User and Set Permissions

How Can Users Sign In?

To sign in to your account, a users must select Log in as Invited User on the log in page and enter your Account Alias in addition to their email and password.

Your Account Alias uniquely identifies your account on FormSmarts. You need to create an account alias to allow users to log in.

Enable or Disable a Form at a Scheduled Date

The form builder allows you to configure a date and time in the future when a form will be enabled or disabled.

Click the ‘pause’ or ‘play’ icon corresponding to the form you would like to suspend/restore. Select the Schedule option:

  • Choose whether you want to enable or disable the form
  • Set the date and time when you want to the form to be enabled or disabled (form changes can only be scheduled at the top of the hour)
  • Select a timezone if the date & time you’ve entered are in a timezone different from the timezone of you account. You can update your timezone in your account.

Schedule Form Suspension/Restore

A few uses for this workflow:

  • Configure a registration form to open and close registrations for an event at a preset date and time
  • Specify an application period for an application form
  • Set up a form so it is only available online at specific hours (e.g. weekdays 9am-10am) or days (e.g last day of the month) to support workflows, policies, and internal reporting requirements within your organization

The form builder interface currently only allows us to schedule events at a specific date and time, but FormSmarts also supports recurring scheduled actions. Consider a policy that expense claims must be submitted weekly every Friday from 12pm to 5pm. We can configure the expenses claim form to be enabled every Friday at noon and disabled at 5pm via the API Console. If you need help with this, please contact Support.

How to Capture a User’s State or Province on a Form

FormSmarts' Country Subdivision selector allows you to easily capture a visitor's state, province or other administrative country subdivision on a form.

  • The person's state, province, county, etc. is automatically preselected from their approximate IP address location, so the form control requires no or minimal action from the user
  • The Country Subdivision (CSD) selector works in all countries and territories worldwide
  • The country subdivisions listed are those in use in each country: state in the US, India and Australia, province in Canada, prefecture in Japan, land in Germany, county or borough in the UK, …
  • Please try this demo.

How to Select a Subdivision of Another Country

When we ask a user to provide their state or province on a form, we usually want to collect their state or province of residence, which is most likely (but not always) a subdivision of the same country they are submitting the form from.

For instance, if we need to get a visitor's country of birth or travel destination, this might not be the case, so we need to allow users to select an administrative subdivision in another country. We do this by adding a Country Selector before the Country Subdivision selector, as illustrated below.

User Management Dashboard

If a user changes the country selected, the list of subdivisions is updated accordingly. To allow more than one set of country & subdivision selectors on a form, a country selector is associated with the closest country subdivision selector it precedes.

For example, if a user changes their Country of Birth above, only the country subdivisions in the State/Province of Birth selector will be updated, those in the State/Province of Residence won't be affected.

To ensure a form works in all scenarios, we recommend you always add a Country Selector on a form whenever you include a Country Subdivision selector. Remember: because the country is automatically preselected, adding a Country Selector adds little if any friction/complexity to a form.

Introducing the New Account Dashboard

A major refresh of the account section of the site introduces several new tools and capabilities:

  • Easily create sub-users and share forms with them with the User Management dashboard
  • Review activity in your account in the new Account Activity pane
  • Invited users now have their own account dashboard

User Management Dashboard

Contact Information

Many customers rely on FormSmarts to receive timely form notifications critical to their organization. Unfortunately, we’ve been in the past left without any ways to contact some members after all email addresses in their account bounced our emails.

The Contact Information panel of the account dashboard now allows you to set a secondary email address and mobile phone number we will use in situations were we are unable to contact you via the primary email address associated with your account (i.e. your login email).

To set a secondary email, select one of the verified email addresses in your account, or add a new email in the Settings Tab of the Form Builder, verify it, then go back to the account dashboard to set the new address as your secondary email.

If your organization gets its email service as part of a web hosting package, we recommend using your personal email (e.g. Gmail account) as a secondary email.

To set a phone number, enter your cell phone number including the international dialing code (e.g. +1, +44,…). FormSmarts will send you a text message with a code to verify your number. Enter the verification code in the space provided and tap Verify to verify your number, then Update Contact Info to save the new number.

User Management Dashboard

The User Management Dashboard illustrated above allows you to view and manage existing users in your account, create new ones, and change their permissions on individual forms.

Click the button showing a vertical ellipsis to access the Actions menu for the corresponding user.

You can:

  • Edit a user’s permissions on your forms and share new forms with them
  • Change the email address associated with a user
  • Reset a user’s password
  • Suspend a user
  • Permanently delete a user
Security Note: You can sign a user out and view their recent session history in the Account Activity panel.

Create a User

To create a new user, enter their name and select their email address in the list of verified emails in your account. If needed, click the button showing a plus sign to add and verify a new email address.

Click Create User button.

The newly created user doesn’t have any permissions on any of your forms but has implicit permissions. They can, for instance, submit Private Forms.

Share a Form with a User & Edit Form Permissions

Tap the Edit Permissions option in the Actions menu of a user to launch the User Permissions settings.

Share Forms with a User and Set Permissions

To allow a user to access submitted data for a form, first share the form with them: select (or search for) a form in the list and click Share.

FormSmarts will give the user the necessary permissions to view a single form entry online, download a copy in PDF, view uploaded documents (form attachments), and add notes and tags to a form entry.

You can adjust permissions to additionally authorize the user to edit a form submission and generate a spreadsheet with aggregated form responses.

Account Activity

The new Account Activity panel allows you to review and audit the session history of all users who have accessed your account in the last thirty days.

A separate table lists Administrator Sessions and User Sessions.

Sign a User Out

Should you suspect or become aware of an unauthorized access to your account while it is still taking place, you can immediately sign the user out and invalidate their session with the Log Out of Other Sessions and Log User Out buttons.

  • Click Log Out of Other Sessions to immediately invalidate all administrator sessions other than the one you are currently using
  • Select a user in the list of users with an active session and click Log User Out to immediately log them out

Invited User Dashboard

FormSmarts sub-users can now also access the account dashboard to view information relevant to them. They can mainly:

  • View a list of forms you’ve shared with them and actions you’ve allowed them to perform
  • Review their recent account activity to control no one else has accessed their account

How to Set Up a Conditional Form Notification Email Based on a User’s Answer

Conditional Notifications allow a form owner to choose when to receive an email notification based on the value of a field or other conditions on the answer the user provides on a form.

Let’s see how we can benefit from this feature in practice with two examples.

First, consider a questionnaire where we ask customers to rate and give feedback about their experience with various aspects of a service. We’re going to send out invitations for customers to take part in the survey and collect their responses on the cloud. When the survey period is over, we’ll generate an Excel report with the aggregated answers of all participants for analysis. In this scenario, there is clearly no point in sending an email for each and every form submission.

Send form notification email based on answers on the form

But we wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to talk to a customer promptly if they indicate on the form they have unfulfilled needs or concerns to address. This is where Conditional Notifications come handy: we want to send an email notification to the Customer Support team only when a customer indicates they need to speak to someone.

Email notification conditional to field value

We can define the Conditional Notification rule to send an email if a specific checkbox is checked as illustrated above, or when at least one aspect of the service is rated ‘Bad’.

When Should You Use Conditional Notification?

Online forms typically support one of two workflows:

  1. Form responses are collected “unsupervised” then the aggregated data set is processed or analyzed: this workflow relies on FormSmarts’ Excel report feature to generate a spreadsheet, it doesn’t involve email notifications
  2. Someone needs to attend to each and every form response, which is time-sensitive, must be processed individually and for which a reply must be sent to the submitter.

Conditional Notification allows FormSmarts members to add an exception to the first workflow by specifying a set of situations where a notification is sent, providing a bridge to the second workflow.

Rules can apply to any properties of a form response: value of input fields, type of form control (e.g. ‘radio button’), field ID, etc and may include logic operators, conditions, boolean operations,… to support a wide range of use-cases.

Second Example: A Screening Questionnaire

In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, an employee screening questionnaire provides us with another practical example of a situation where we can use a Conditional Notification to help screen employees prior to returning to work.

The screening questionnaire lists a number of questions describing COVID-19 symptoms to which employees have to reply by ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. All employees have to submit a screen questionnaire, but the sponsor of the questionnaire should only by notified by email if an employee replies ‘Yes’ to any of the screening questions.

When an employee submits their screening questionnaire, the Conditional Notification rule checks the value of all radio buttons on the form and sends a notification if at least one has the value ‘Yes’.

How to Set Up a Conditional Notification

To set up a Conditional Notification:

  1. Define a Rule: Conditional Notification rules are defined with a formal language for which there is currently no visual rules builder. Until we provide such a tool, contact Support with details of the precise conditions under which you want to receive an email notification so we set up the conditional notification rule for you. Please remember to provide us with the URL of the form.
  2. Enable conditional notifications: Once we’ve set up the rule for you, edit the form and tap Update email routing policy in the Submit Actions tab of the form builder. Select the Conditional Notification routing policy and save.

Set up a conditional notification rule

Other Email Routing Policies

By default, all destination emails you’ve set up for a form get a copy of every form response. You can change this behavior by setting a different email Routing Policy.

FormSmarts currently has the following Routing Policies:

  • Multicast: Every email subscriber gets a copy of every form entry (default).
  • User-Selected Recipient: User selects the recipient on the form. Typical use: sending customer inquiries to the relevant person or department.
  • Round-Robin: Each subscriber receives form entries in turn. Typical use: sharing workload between collaborators.
  • Conditional Notification: Only send a notification if conditions you’ve set on form data are satisfied.

How to Limit Who Can Submit a Form

Online forms are public and can be submitted by anyone by default, but FormSmarts offers a number of options to restrict and control who can submit them.

This article outlines different approaches to limit who can submit a form that are suitable for a number of situations, from restricting a form within a loosely defined group of users at large to sharing a form with team members within the confines of your FormSmarts account. We even show you how a user can share an individual form with someone else so they can complete it together.

Open a Form to Members of an Informal Group

In this first example, we exclusively open a form to staff within a company or a specific group within an organization, like students or staff at a university. User will have to provide their corporate or university-provided email address on the form.

Email Address Verification

To ensure individuals submit their own email address (and to verify their identity), we take advantage of a FormSmarts option that requires someone submitting a form to verify their email address or mobile phone number before they can proceed. FormSmarts verifies an email address or phone number by sending a one-time password (OTP) that the person then has to enter on the form.

Online form verifies the phone number or email when the form is submitted

Please try this email verification demo.

This FormSmarts feature allows a FormSmarts account administrator to restrict verification emails to addresses on a specific domain or sub-domain, so we can for example selectively open a form to:

  • Students at a university or college with an email address on the sub-domain students.example.edu
  • Staff at a university with an email address on example.edu
  • Staff with a corporate email address on example.com

For help settings this up, contact FormSmarts Support.

Email or Phone Verification on a Registration Form

Although not the subject of this article, FormSmarts members can also use email address or phone number verification to create a signup form for a site or online service.

By Invitation Only: Authorize Each Form Submission

FormSmarts lets you define how to authenticate a form user with their email address or phone number and who is allowed to submit a form.

FormSmarts members can also set the precise rules to authorize or reject users based on their email or mobile number. This is the most flexible option, but requires basic coding skills (we can help if needed).

  • When someone submits a form, FormSmarts sends a request to a cloud function or script on your website (webhook)
  • The request contains the person's email or phone number and a one-time password (OTP)
  • The script or cloud function checks the email or phone number against a list of users authorized to submit the form and sends the OTP to the person so they may complete the form submission.
  • It can alternatively automatically authorize the form submission to proceed with a call to FormSmarts API

Please try our this phone verification and custom authorization demos. The custom authorization demo only requires a phone number to be verified the first time it is used on a form.

For help settings this up, contact FormSmarts Support.

Private Form

Make a form private when you want to restrict who can submit it to your teammates.

Private Forms work best in teams and organizations that share a FormSmarts account and each team member has their own FormSmarts sub-user. Learn more about Private Forms.

  • A Private Form can only be viewed and submitted by sub-users (invited users) within a FormSmarts account
  • The user must be logged in to FormSmarts in order to submit a Private Form
  • A Private Form response is associated with the user who submitted it
  • The identity of the user who submitted a form entry is visible in email notifications and in reports

Please try this demo with the account alias, username and password given here.

Sharing a Form Submission

Finally, FormSmarts allows an individual submitting a form to share it with someone else — so the second person can, for example, review the information entered and co-sign it.

This is typically useful in application forms.

How to Edit Submissions Made on Your Forms

There are occasionally situations when you need to amend the information submitted on a form:

  • A customer reaches out after submitting a form, realizing they had entered incorrect information
  • Some time after they registered for an event via one of your forms, an individual contacts you saying they had moved or changed phone numbers

Update field value and see change history

Instead of asking the customer to submit the form again, find the reference number of the form submission and view it online, then use the Edit and Revision History buttons illustrated above to update the relevant data fields.

If you’re viewing the form entry on a mobile device, the Edit and Revision History buttons may be hidden to avoid cluttering the page. Tap Show Editing in the main menu to show the buttons.

Editing & Revision History

When you update a data field, the new value will show online, in PDF documents and in Excel reports. But it's important to understand that the original value submitted and all changes are kept on FormSmarts and can be viewed in the Revision History.

In the example below, we've changed the email address associated with a form entry where Sheryl was mistyped as Sherly, making the address invalid. The characters removed (crossed out with red background) and added (underlined with green background) are clearly visible.

Update Submission Made on Your Form

Built for Teams

Each modification made to a form entry is associated with the FormSmarts user (account admin or invited user) who made it, allowing all users to know who made each change. In the example above, the amendment was made by the user viewing the changes, noted as Me. Other users would see that person’s name.

Regulatory & Compliance Considerations

Auditing and Compliance

When an individual submits an online form, they may be under contractual obligation to provide accurate information — or need to certify that the information submitted is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge.

Although FormSmarts allow members to alter the information originally submitted on a form, changes are made in such a way that we preserve the original value submitted and all changes made.

  • Changes are append-only, they cannot be undone or retracted
  • The precise change is preserved
  • Each revision is associated with the user who made it
  • A timestamp is kept for auditing

GDPR

If you are processing information about individuals in the European Union, use this feature to allow users to exercise their legal right to rectification (right to have inaccurate personal data rectified) under the GDPR regulation.

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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.