Web Form Builder Upgrade

This release of FormSmarts introduces over one hundred improvements, leading to our most powerful, reliable and generous offer yet.

Important Reminder

Please add FormSmarts sender email formsmarts-noreply@syronex.com to your contacts, whitelist, or list of allowed senders and instruct any other form recipients to do so too. This should ensure your web forms are (and continue to be) always correctly delivered to your Inbox.

Increased Input Fields Allowance

To allow all users to take advantage of the new Heading and Text Block widgets introduced with this release, we’ve increased the number of fields you can use on a form.

  • FormSmarts Standard users can add up to 15 fields on each form using their referral points.
  • FormSmarts Pro users can add up to 60 fields on each form.

Be a Good Web-Citizen

  • Report bugs. However intense our testing efforts before releasing a new version of the form builder, bugs may remain due to the number of different browsers and versions in use. Please report any suspected bugs on the forum or by email.
  • Show your support. Whether you are a Standard user getting the web form service for free or a FormSmarts Pro customer paying the price of a business lunch for a year of service, please show your support by pressing the “Like” button on our Facebook page and following us on Twitter.

Major Changes

If many of the changes are improvements to FormSmarts server-side software which are not directly visible to you, all affect the quality of the service we provide you.

  • Form data storage and Excel reporting are coming out of Beta, and you can now activate those for each form in the Form Details screen of your account.
  • We’ve improved several aspects of the form creator‘s interface.
  • We now support headings and text blocks on forms; details in another post.

How to Add Headings & Text Blocks to a Form

Headings

You can now use headings to create logical sections within your forms. For example, you might need a Contact Details or Past Employment section. To add a heading, select the Heading widget in the Fields tab of the form builder. The new field’s description will become the text of the heading.

Add headings to a web form

Text Block Widget

We’ve also added a text block widget that allows you to insert text of up to 250 characters (up to 2,000 characters with a Business account) anywhere within a form. Example uses include:

  • Instructions for individual form sections
  • Question or sentence introducing a group of check boxes
  • Disclaimer at the bottom of a form

Text Blocks support some text formatting (bold and italics) and — most importantly — links.

Online form with text block

To add a text block to a form, select the Text Block widget in the Fields tab of the form builder. We’ve increased the maximum number of fields that can be added to a form to allow all users to take advantage of this new facility.

Add a text block to a form with the form builder

You may sometimes need to insert links in a form. For example, to provide a link to your terms of service or privacy policy, or to refer to an external document within a form. The form builder allows you to insert links, specify bold text, and italicize and underline text using the following wiki-style syntax:

  Text with Commands Formatted Text
Web Link This is a [http://FormSmarts.com link to FormSmarts]. This is a link to FormSmarts.
Email Link This is an [joe@example.com email link]. This is an email link.
Bold This text is *important*. This text is important.
Italics So is **this one**. So is this one.
Underlining Use underlining __sparingly__! Use underlining sparingly!
Unordered List * red
* green
* blue
  • red
  • green
  • blue
Ordered List 1. red
2. green
3. blue
  1. red
  2. green
  3. blue

Links and formatting commands are supported in text blocks, agreements, form filling instructions, form submission confirmation messages, and checkbox labels. Check out this example.

Ordered & unordered lists are only supported in agreements/waivers at this time.

  • Links open in a new window
  • Email links are not supported in checkbox labels at this time

Give Feedback!

We welcome your feedback about headings and text blocks. If you would like to give feedback about (or suggest we add) another feature, visit the forum on our Facebook page. We read and reply to all posts.

Changes in Form Builder Payment Integration

The recent upgrade introduces some changes in FormSmarts Payment Integration (PayPal Form) feature.

  • Chargeable items may now be placed in check boxes. This should prove valuable in situations where you’re building a form with one or several optional, individually priced items.
  • Payment button instead of link. We’ve replaced the payment link on the confirmation page by a more outstanding button.
  • Form ID now shown in PayPal report. Up to now, when you needed to reconcile a payment with the corresponding form submission, you could only rely on the FormSmarts Reference Number. This is the unique ID shown in the subject of emails containing form data and in Form to Excel reports. The same ID appears in the payment details in your Paypal account, and also in the CSV report you can generate. We’ve now added the Form ID (see screenshot) to the information available on PayPal, so you may quickly identify which form each payment is for.

PayPal form payment details

We warmly welcome your feedback.

New Form Templates: Tooltips, Mobile Forms,…

We’ve upgraded form templates over the last few days. This affects the look and feel of all web forms. Notable changes include:

  • Tooltips — A help icon next to text fields now shows the field’s description and validation information on hover. You may want to review the field description you provided at the time you created your forms.
  • Variable form width — The width of embedded forms can be resized down to 360px without side-effects, and should degrade well beyond that.
  • Mobiles forms — Although our forms have always been accessible to mobile users, we now provide a specific template for standalone forms accessed from mobile devices. If your site visitors include a fair proportion of mobile users, you should also provide a link to the standalone form whenever you embed a form on your site.

If you installed the form embedding code on your website before August 2008, you should upgrade it to benefit from the new features.

Important: We’re now publishing most updates via our Twitter and Facebook pages. Please subscribe for updates and service status information.

Your feedback is most welcome.

Web Form to Excel

FormSmarts allows users to collect online form responses on the cloud and export them to Excel at their convenience with the Report Generator.

Export form results to Excel/CSV

Activating Form Data Storage for Export to Excel

Export to Excel 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, form submissions were in the past not saved on the cloud by default. For Business accounts created after March 20, 2017, storage is now enabled by default. This does not apply to Pro accounts, for which storage is turned off by default and must be enabled for each form when needed.

To enable stored form results and allow Excel reporting, visit the Submit Actions tab of the Form Details screen of each of the forms for which you would like to access form responses online, as shown in the video below.

Store form responses in database

You will then be able to download Excel reports from stored form responses in a few clicks with the report generator. Business-level members may also view individual form responses online and download a PDF Report.

To enable storage of form entries by default when you create a new form, check Turn on cloud storage for all new forms in the Settings Tab of the form builder. This option is only available in Business accounts and is turned on for accounts created after March 20, 2017.


This video shows how to set up a form to store form responses on the cloud for online access and export to Excel.

Excel Report Generator Settings

Excel report generator settings

Show Field Names in the First Line

If checked, the first line of Excel reports will show the name of each field. This option is enabled by default.

Week Starts

The report generator allows you to specify the date range over which a report is generated by either picking a start & end date or choosing a preset period of time (This Week, Last Seven Days,…). For the time periods that depend on the first day of the week (This Week, Last Week), we use the default first day of the week for your country (as set in your account). You can change this under More Options.

Time Zone

Preset time periods, date ranges and the form submission timestamp shown in Excel reports are now using your time zone (as defined in your computer settings). If you would like to generate a report using a different timezone, select the relevant city in the Timezone drop-down list. Note that the city selected by default may not be your city of residence, but it will be a city in the same timezone.

Importing an Excel Report

If an Excel (CSV) report contains text in a language other than English, you may need to change the character encoding to Unicode (UTF-8) in Excel’s Text Import Wizard, as illustrated below. The report may not display correctly for languages other than English unless the encoding is set to Unicode (UTF-8).

Excel Text Import Wizard encoding

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.

Send Form Results to Multiple Email Addresses

We’ve updated FormSmarts form builder and form processing back-end to allow several email subscribers for each form. We’ll be releasing more subscription mechanisms later this month.

Before using an email address as a form recipient, you first need to add it to your account, and verify it. You can change the recipients of a form in the Form Details screen of your account.

The number of email subscribers allowed for each form depends on your plan.

How to Build a PayPal Form

FormSmarts PayPal Integration is your best option when you need to collect data and get a payment on a form. It makes it very easy to include a PayPal payment in your forms, while giving you the power, flexibility and ease of use of a full-featured online form builder.

For example, you can easily build:

Tip: The demos above are hosted on FormSmarts, but you can also embed a form on your own website with the code snippet given by the form builder.

Do you need help making a PayPal form?
Ask a PayPal Integration Specialist Now

Collecting a Payment on a Form

To request a payment on a form:

  1. Sign up for a FormSmarts Business account and create a form with the form builder
  2. In the Form Details screen, set the On Submission option to Show Confirmation & Integrate with PayPal
  3. Add radio buttons, a drop-down list or a checkbox, and enter the description and price of products formatted as My Product Description ($30 USD), as shown on the screenshot below.

Web Form Then Paypal: Order Form, Booking Form, Registration Form,...

That’s all you need to do. We’ll pick up the products and quantities that were selected, and we’ll redirect the user to a pre-filled page on Paypal for payment. Payments will be sent to the PayPal account matching your FormSmarts login. You can change your login if needed.

Billing Multiple Items on a Form

You can as easily charge for several items within a single form submission by adding other drop-down lists or radio buttons formatted as just described.

Adding a Product Quantity Box

Paypal Forms

If you’re building an order form, you will need to allow the user to enter the quantity or number of products they want to buy.

This can be done as follows:

  1. Position the quantity field immediately after the one listing products for sale
  2. Set the field type to Positive Integer.

With advanced integration, you can alternatively allow the buyer to select a quantity in a predefined list using radio buttons or a pull-down list, like on this demo.

Creating a Subscription Form with Recurring Payments

A subscription involves a recurring payment at each billing cycle until the subscription is canceled. This article discusses how to create a subscription form. Recurring payments can also be used to allow the buyer to pay in installments. A payment by installments is a recurring payment where the number of payments is fixed. The syntax is Payment in 12 Installments (12x$9.99 USD/month). See this sample form.

Building a Donation Form

FormSmarts Payment Integration also supports PayPal Donations. To create a contribution form:

  • In the Form Details screen of the form builder, set the On Submission option to Show Confirmation & Integrate with PayPal
  • Add a field to your form with the field name formatted as My Donation ($ USD)
  • Set the field’s data type to Number
  • Set the field’s widget to Text Box.

You may add multiple donation boxes to a form to allow contributions to several project in a single donation like on this demo (requires a Business account set up for advanced integration).

Offering a Discount

FormSmarts allows you to offer three types of discounts on your online payments forms: fixed amount discounts, discount percentage and discount codes. The two latter discount schemes only work with advanced integration.

Handling International Payments

To request a payment in a currency other than US dollars, simply change the currency code in the item’s description. For example, use (€60 EUR) to receive a payment in Euros, (£60 GBP) for a payment in Sterlings, and ($60 CAD) to request a payment in Canadian dollars. Note that the 3-letter currency code is required because a currency symbol may be used by more than one currency. For example, USD, CAD, and AUD will all use the dollar sign ($).

The text of the button inviting the user to proceed to payment is displayed in his preferred language, in any of the supported languages.

Reconciling Form Responses & Payment Data

With Advanced PayPal Integration, the form is only sent to the seller after the payment went through. However with the Standard PayPal Integration, the seller has to manually reconcile order forms and payments.

If the name and email address submitted as part of form data don’t match those in the Paypal account that was used to send the payment, you will need to reconcile each form submission with the corresponding payment using the FormSmarts reference number.

The FormSmarts reference number is the 25-character ID that is given to users on the confirmation page, and is shown in the subject of the email notification we send you. The same reference number will appear in the payment details in your Paypal account (Transaction Details screen, under the Custom heading).

How Payment Integration Works

To ensure money is sent to the correct PayPal account, your primary PayPal email address must match your FormSmarts login. You can easily change your login. You may receive payments to multiple PayPal accounts with Advanced Integration and a compatible FormSmarts account.

To avoid users having to enter the same information twice if paying by credit card (on the form and on the payment screen), we will attempt to pass their first name, last name, email, postal address, and country to PayPal.

  • Make sure you name the First Name and Last Name fields exactly like this.
  • To allow FormSmarts to recognize an address and populate the billing address on PayPal (Advanced Integration only), name the relevant fields like on this form or this one.

PayPal form / PayPal integration features are only available to FormSmarts Business members.

Redirecting Users to Your Site After Payment

To redirect users to you website after they have completed payment, visit the Form Details screen of the form builder and set the Return URL of the form to your site’s URL.

We welcome your feedback about payment integration.

Personalize the Confirmation Message Shown After a Form Submission

FormSmarts allows you to personalize the confirmation message that is displayed after a form has been submitted successfully.

To personalize the confirmation message of a form, visit the Forms tab of the form builder, and click the Edit icon. This feature is only available for Pro and Business accounts.

Default Confirmation Message

Like all messages shown during the form submission process, the default confirmation message is localized. If you change the confirmation message, users will see your personalized message instead of the default confirmation message in their own language.

You can always revert to the default confirmation message by erasing the text in the Personalized Message box.

Links & Formatting

You may insert links in the confirmation message and add basic formatting with this wiki-like syntax.

Attaching Multiple Email Recipients to a Form

With the new version of FormSmarts, Pro users can now subscribe to form results using one or more of the following mechanisms:

A notable change is of course the ability to send forms to several email addresses. The allowance of one email recipient per form for users of the free service stays unchanged.

The new subscription mechanism should best fit the needs of most users. We welcome your feedback about this development.

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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.