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
$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 can view form data online and download a copy in PDF using the links located at the bottom of email notifications.

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.

Form Response in PDF

Download a PDF

To download a form response in PDF, use the Download PDF link at the bottom of the email notification. If you’ve deleted the message (or have turned off email notifications), generate an Excel report and locate the form entry. Use the link corresponding to the form entry to access it on FormSmarts and download a PDF.

View & Manage Individual Form Responses

FormSmarts allows users to view and manage each individual form entry online via the View online & add notes link in the email notification. If email notifications are turned off or you have deleted the message, download an Excel report and locate the form entry. Use the link corresponding to the form entry to access it on FormSmarts.

You can also work out the URL of a form response if you know its Reference Number: assuming the Reference Number of a form entry is QR6SADIWB4THC6H9S94635LA, its URL is

Manage a Form Response

View a form response on FormSmarts add notes or comments about it, download a copy in PDF or delete it.

Form Response Metadata

In addition to form data, the page contains additional information that is not accessible by other means like the timestamp associated with the entry and the IP address and approximate location from where the form was submitted.

13 Responses to “Get Online Forms as HTML Email or PDF”

This is a vast improvement! The fonts are a little large yet, in the email and could be reduced a bit. PDF would also be a welcome option. Thank you!

Posted by: P. Spooner | Jun 5th, 2009 12:04 pm

When or how can we enlarge the HTML message? 20% bigger would be fine.


Posted by: Terry Reeves | Dec 28th, 2009 6:10 am

I tried changing the settings to rich text/html and it would never remember the change.

So I switched from google Chrome to IE and it worked then.

Posted by: Chris | Mar 22nd, 2010 7:18 pm

There is a known issue that prevents changing email format with some old versions of Apple Safari and it seems, Google Chrome. This has been fixed in the new version of our software that will come out this month.

In the meantime, please use a recent version of Safari or another browser to change email format.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Mar 22nd, 2010 8:54 pm

Is the option of attaching a PDF or word doc with our FormSmarts Pro contact form available – if not, it would be great add-on please…


Posted by: Nick | Apr 22nd, 2010 10:25 am

What benefit would a PDF attachment give your over an HTML email?

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Apr 23rd, 2010 3:05 am

So as a basic member, non pro you can’t get Rich Text Responses? Could I see an example of what a form would look like in Rich Text Format? If I upgraded I could get Rich Text Responses, how many forms could I upload under one account as a pro member?

Posted by: Petereberle | Dec 17th, 2010 7:32 pm

Pro and Business members can get rich-text responses. Business members can also get responses in PDF. There is a screenshot at the top of this page showing a form response in rich-text format. There is no limit in the number of forms you can create under one Pro account.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Dec 18th, 2010 4:30 am

Rich Text (HTML) email Hungarian accents of other characters appear instead. What is the reason?

Posted by: Erika | Mar 31st, 2011 6:20 am

This must be a character encoding issue. All emails from FormSmarts use the UTF-8 encoding, which allows the encoding of all character sets. Your email client is probably trying to use another encoding to decode the email content, hence the rendering issue. In your email client, there must be a View option in the main menu that will allow you to change the Character Encoding to Unicode (UTF-8).

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Mar 31st, 2011 6:54 am

Wanting to allow clients to view PDF version of form but it is asking them to login, I do not want to give them my account owner logins? how do I give them a guest login for a specific form?

Posted by: Michael | Feb 11th, 2020 5:39 am

Michael, you are doing the right thing not giving your admin login info to your clients. FormSmarts allows you to create sub-users and give them access to the PDF version of specific forms.
First create an Invited User for each of your clients with the API Console (detailed instructions), then give them the permission to read (access, but not delete) one_entry. The one_entry permission is needed to access individual form entries and download the PDF version. We’re working on a User Management dashboard that will make the process more intuitive, in the meantime, please use the API Console as described in the documentation.

FormSmarts Posted by: FormSmarts | Feb 11th, 2020 6:02 am

That is what I thought, we do need to give each individual the option of retrieving pdfs and also the excel form spreadsheet download, instead of constantly having to download my self and then send to clients. when a form gets sent to clients there is a link at the bottom asking if they want to check pdf etc. when clicked on it takes them to login screen so they constantly asking me to give them usernames and passwords to view.

Posted by: Michael | Feb 11th, 2020 7:07 am

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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.