Posts Tagged ‘form results’
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) 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) 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 entry on FormSmarts. Use this link to add a note to an entry, check where it was submitted from (IP address, IP location), export it to PDF, print it, delete it and more. As we add more functionality to the page showing individual form entries (like the ability to tag and edit an entry), we expect more and more customers to rely on links in the spreadsheet.
The native Excel format is supported with Business Plus accounts and above.
FormSmarts now supports accounts with multiple users, allowing an account owner to give invited users access to selected online forms.
How to Enable Multiple User Accounts
- Set up an account alias
- Create users
- Manage user permissions
Set Up an Account Alias
Before allowing sub-users to sign in to FormSmarts, you first need to set up an alias for your account. The alias must be unique and easy for users to memorize. A good choice is probably your organization or department’s name. Users will need to enter the account alias on the log in screen. This short video shows how to create an alias with the API Console.
For additional information, please refer to the User & Permission API documentation.
Create a User
As presented in the video tutorial below, the account administrator can create users with the API Console. The user’s email, with which she’ll be able to sign in, must have already been added to FormSmarts in the Settings Tab of the Form Builder and verified. The auto-generated password can’t be changed by the user at this time, but the account owner can easily reset it.
Manage User Permissions
For each form, a user can be granted permission to:
- access individual form entries online or download a PDF (e.g. from the link in email notifications)
- download form attachments (file uploads)
- generate Excel reports
- more options to be added
How to Sign In as an Invited User
We’ve updated the log in screen to allow all FormSmarts members to sign in on the same page. Account owners (aka account admins) can sign in in the usual way with their email address and password. Invited users also need to enter the account alias provided by their account admin as shown in this video.
Multiple users are available with our Business Plus package and above.
FormSmarts allows you to better engage with your user community by adding a social component to your online forms. The assumption with social networks is that a user is more likely to perform an online action such as filling out a form, registering for an event or sign up for a class if she knows that her friend or colleague has already done so.
Online Forms Get Social
For each form, FormSmarts allows you to set up a message template that will be used to post an update to social networks when the form is submitted. The message can incorporate any information entered on the form.
The user’s expectation when filling out online forms is that the information submitted will only be disclosed to the form owner, and you clearly need to ensure you don’t leak personal information (more about this in the last section). We define two types of input fields on a form. Those which will be populated by information which—taken out context—is so general that it can be safely disclosed, and those which should be kept private. In the example below, we deem First Name, City and Country as public, while all other fields are deemed private.
How to Set Up FormSmarts to Post Twitter Updates
First connect your Twitter account with FormSmarts to allow FormSmarts to post tweets on your behalf. You will be taken to Twitter for authentication and asked to authorize FormSmarts to post updates using your account. You will only need to do this once. Note that FormSmarts will not have access to your Twitter password. Once this is done, Twitter will send you back to FormSmarts.
Next click on Twitter Feed Setup in the Form Details screen of the form builder. Enter a short text using placeholders $1, $2, $3,… where you want the value of the corresponding input field to be inserted. Use $1 for the value of the first input field, $2 for the second, etc., in the order fields appear on the form.
Posting Updates to Your Facebook Wall
When someone submits a form, FormSmarts can post an update to your Facebook wall via the Twitter App for Facebook. First set up FormSmarts to post updates to Twitter as described in the previous section, then add the Twitter App to your Facebook page or profile. We will add native support for Facebook if there is demand—please let us know here. (Note: if you ended up here while looking for information on integrating an online form to Facebook, read this).
Respecting the Privacy of User Information
Protecting the information of your users is of paramount importance. When someone submits his information via an online form, he does it with the implicit understanding that his personal information will not be disclosed.
- Add a privacy note on the form (like on this demo) to ensure people understand that some none-personal information will be posted to social networks. Say what information will be published.
- Make sure you’re using the correct placeholder (e.g. $1, $2,…) in the message template. Remember that $1 will be replaced by the value of the first input field in the order they appear on the form, $2 will be replaced by the value of the second input field, etc.
- If you change the order of fields on the form, don’t forget to update the message template with the correct placeholder name.
- Always test the form after setting up a Twitter feed or changing field order.
To further prevent the leak of confidential information, FormSmarts will not publish Twitter updates for SSL secure online forms, even if this has been set up through the online form builder.
How to Disable a Twitter Feed
If you no longer want FormSmarts to post a Twitter update when a form is submitted, simply erase the message template in the Twitter Feed Setup screen (pictured above) and save changes.
FormSmarts allows users to collect online form responses on the cloud and export them to Excel at their convenience with the Report Generator.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 When the Spreadsheet Contains Non-English Data
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).
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.
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.
|$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.
We welcome your feedback about the ability to get form submissions in HTML format.
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.
The number of email subscribers allowed for each form depends on your plan.
With the new version of FormSmarts, Pro users can now subscribe to form results using one or more of the following mechanisms:
- Email subscription. Subscribe one or more email recipients.
- Stored form results. Aggregate form submissions on FormSmarts, and
download them later as Microsoft Excel documents.
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.
You can manage the email addresses linked to your FormSmarts account in the Settings tab of the online form builder, under Email Accounts.
Adding an Email Account to FormSmarts
Before you can start using an email address as a form recipient, you must add it to your account and verify it.
To add a new email account to FormSmarts, visit the Settings tab of the form builder. Click the Email Accounts link and enter a name and email address under Add an Account.
FormSmarts verifies that the owner of an email account agrees to his email being used by sending a verification link. Once the email account owner has visited the verification link, the status of that email address will change to Verified. Use the Refresh button to check if a newly added email account has just been verified. You can start using an email address as a form subscriber or as your FormSmarts login as soon as it shows as Verified.
Changing the Email Recipients of a Form
When you create a new form, responses are sent to your login email address by default. To have a form sent to another email account (or email accounts):
- Add a new email address to your account as described in the last section.
- Click on the icon showing a pen to edit the relevant form and check or uncheck email subscribers as required (see screenshot above).
Note: An email address will only appear in the list after it has been verified (see previous section).
Changing Your Login Email
You can set any of the verified email addresses registered on your account as your FormSmarts login. Note however that you won’t be able to use an email address as you login if it’s already the login of another account.
A user icon is displayed next to your login email address.
Note: Any email addresses that you use as your login or form recipient has the Active status and cannot be removed (the corresponding trash can will be grayed out).
Removing an Email Address From Your Account
To remove an email address from your FormSmarts account, Visit the Email Accounts pane of the Settings tab and click on the trash can icon corresponding to the email address you want to remove.
Trash can icon grayed out? The trash can icon will be grayed out if the corresponding email address is still in use as a form recipient by at least one form or is the account’s login. To remove the email address, first edit each of the forms in the Forms tab and uncheck that email address under Form Subscribers (see screenshot above). Then go back to the Settings tab, refresh the list of email accounts, and click on the relevant trash can icon.
We welcome your feedback about this feature. This will help us improve it in the future.