Archive for the ‘online form’ Category
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.
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|
|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:
- An email software or app that supports S/MIME (most do)
- A S/MIME certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA), which you can get free from the CA listed here after verifying your email address
You then need to install the S/MIME certificate and register it with FormSmarts:
- Install the certificate on the devices where you want to access encrypted messages
- Send an email digitally signed with the certificate to FormSmarts from one of the devices where you've installed the certificate.
- Edit each of the forms you want to protect and toggle on Send by secure email (S/MIME) in the Submit Actions tab, as shown on the screenshot above.
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.
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
For help settings this up, contact FormSmarts Support.
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
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.
The latest version of the Form Builder now allows FormSmarts members to change the color of buttons on their online forms.
The Buttons Color setting only applies to forms embedded on customers websites. Standalone forms accessed via their FormSmarts.com or f8s.co URL use a standard color scheme.
The color of buttons can only be changed on the current version of our forms. If you’re still using the old one, you probably shouldn’t. The current version is more secure and offers a better user experience. Please update your site.
Like most customizations, this functionality requires at least a Starter account.
As part of this form builder update, we slightly reorganized how information is presented in the Form Details screen illustrated above. The form layout and color settings that were in the Basics tab in earlier versions have been moved to a new Layout & Colors tab.
FormSmarts allows customers to collect online form submissions on the cloud and download aggregated entries in a format, CSV, which is supported by all spreadsheet applications (including Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers and Apache OpenOffice) and many other data analysis tools. We’ve recently added the option to export form responses to native Excel format (.xlsx or .xls) instead of the default CSV for Excel.
The main reason we decided to support the new export format is to solve an issue with phone number fields that may not be displayed correctly when Excel opens a CSV file. The Excel XLSX format also has a few other benefits, but we expect most members to continue using the default CSV format in the foreseeable future. Please read on to find out if and when you would benefit from using the new format.
Benefits of the Excel .xlsx Format
Phone Number Fields
Provided you have set the Allowed Content (data type) of phone input fields to Phone Number, FormSmarts stores phone numbers as character strings rather than numbers to ensure any leading zero is not dropped from phone numbers. Unfortunately, Excel interprets character strings that only contain digits as numbers, thus removing leading zeros. Members who collect phone numbers on their forms, especially in locales where phone numbers may start with a zero (some US states and part of Asia & Europe), should set the Export Format to the Native Excel option in the Report Generator settings, as illustrated above.
If you find out when opening a CSV spreadsheet from FormSmarts that leading zeros were dropped from phone numbers, update the export format and create another report. Provided phone input fields were correctly created as phone number fields, the correct information, with any leading zeros, is stored on FormSmarts. No information was lost, any errors is due to the Excel import process and can be easily fixed by generating a new report after changing the export format.
All settings of the Report Generator but the timezone are kept in your browser, so as long as you use the same browser and allow FormSmarts to store information in your browser, your export preference will be saved from one session to the next.
Form Results with Data in a Non Western-European Language
When a spreadsheet contains data in a language other than English or another Western-European language, customers need to make sure when opening an Excel/CSV report from FormSmarts they select the UTF-8 (Unicode) encoding in Excel’s Import Wizard. The content of the spreadsheet may otherwise not be displayed properly. Alternatively, exporting form entries to a native Excel (.xlsx, .xls) spreadsheet removes the need to select the correct text encoding.
Note that FormSmarts stores data with a universal encoding (UTF-8) that supports all languages, so if you find out that a report appears corrupted when opening the spreadsheet, open the file again and select the UTF-8 encoding or switch the export format to Native Excel: no data was lost or corrupted.
The native Excel format offers a few other benefits and we expect their number to grow in the future:
- The URLs of form attachments are clickable links
- The FormSmarts Reference Number (the penultimate column in the spreadsheet) links to the form response on FormSmarts. Use this link to add a note to a form submission, check where it was submitted from (IP address, approximate location), export it to PDF, print it, delete it and more. As we add more functionality to the page showing individual form responses (like the ability to tag and edit a form response), we expect more and more customers to rely on links in the spreadsheet as part of their workflow.
The native Excel format is supported with Business Plus accounts and above.
We’ve updated the design of our forms. The new forms provide a superior user experience on all devices; mobile, desktop and smart TV.
How Can I Start Using the New Form Version?
If you’ve joined FormSmarts since March 1, 2016, you are most likely already using the new version. Otherwise you need to migrate your forms to the new version:
- Visit the Settings Tab of the Form Builder and set Form Version to Current
- Copy the new embed code snippet and update your site
- If you’re using standalone forms, use the new FormSmarts.com URL provided.
What Do You Think About the New Form Design?
Did you know FormSmarts allows you to include links on a form? You may also use bold, italic and underline for simple formatting.
- Both web links and email links are supported
- You may now add links and formatted text in form filling instructions, text blocks and form submission confirmation messages
- The wiki-like syntax is summarized here.