Posts Tagged ‘form to excel’

When Should You Export Forms to Native Excel instead of CSV?

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.

Export Form to 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.

Other Benefits

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.

Introducing Multi-User Accounts

FormSmarts now supports accounts with multiple users, allowing an account owner to give invited users access to selected online forms.

Multiuser accounts with FormSmarts online form builder

How to Enable Multiple User Accounts

  1. Set up an account alias
  2. Create users
  3. 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.

How to Track the Source of Leads

If you use online forms for lead generation, you will want to know the source of form submissions: from which page of your site a form was submitted, which social network or site the visitor came from, or which marketing campaign led the prospect to you.

Where was the form submitted from?

You can track the source of leads received via form submissions with the fs_ctxval context parameter, giving it a unique value for each source or campaign you wish to track. In this article, we show you how. If you need help setting this up, let us know.

Example 1: Form Accessed by Its FormSmarts URL

The simplest way to publish a form online is to allow your customers to directly access the form by its FormSmarts URL. To track the source of form responses, create a unique URL for each source or campaign:

  • https://formsmarts.com/form/lqh?fs_ctxval=Facebook-May-2013
  • https://formsmarts.com/form/lqh?fs_ctxval=Newsletter-May-12-2013
  • https://formsmarts.com/form/lqh?fs_ctxval=ABC+Conference+2013 (tip: create a QR code with this URL and print it on posters, flyers and stickers)

As you would expect, context values are collected by FormSmarts and shown in notification emails, online & PDF reports, exports to Excel and web API callbacks.

Example 2: Form Embedded into Your Site

If you manually inserted the code snippet for the same form into multiple pages of you site, follow instructions in this section to track leads. If you added the form to your site template, skip to the next section (for WordPress sites) or the one after (for other template-based sites).

Edit each web page where you embedded the form and locate the code snippet in the HTML source. Add the context value after lay=1 (or lay=2), as in the code highlighted below:

<iframe width="540" height="481" src="https://formsmarts.com/form/lqh?mode=embed&lay=1&fs_ctxval=Summer+2013+Conference+Registration+Page" scrolling="auto" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" vspace="0" hspace="0" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" style="overflow-x:hidden"><a href="https://formsmarts.com/form/lqh">Can't see the form? Click here</a>.</iframe>

Alternatively, grab a fresh copy of the code snippet from the form builder, edit the code as described, then add it to your site in the usual way.

Example 3: Tracking Leads on a WordPress Site

If you added a form to the template of your WordPress site, you can track the URL of the page a form was submitted from with PHP.

  • In your WordPress template, replace the form’s HTML snippet by the PHP code below
  • Paste the form’s code snipped given by the form builder between the single quotes as shown.
<?php
$snip = ''; // Paste form embedding code between single quotes
$url = get_permalink();
$re = "/[^\w\s,()\[\]*\/:\-.?]+/";
$ctx = urlencode(substr(preg_replace($re, "", $url), 0, 150));
print(str_replace("mode=h5embed", "mode=h5embed&fs_ctxval=".$ctx, $snip));
?>

Example 4: Tracking Leads on Any Site with JavaScript

You can do the same on any other sites with JavaScript:

<script>
var snip = ''; // Paste embed code here
var pth = document.location.pathname;
var re  = /[^\w\s,()\[\]*\/:\-.?]+/g;
var ctx = encodeURIComponent(pth.replace(re, '').substring(0, 150));
document.write(snip.replace("mode=h5embed", "mode=h5embed&fs_ctxval=" + ctx));
</script>

Notes

This feature is included with all Business plans. Context data may not contains non-alphanumeric characters other than “()[]*/:-.? ” and may not exceed 150 characters.

Excel Report Generator Upgrade

If you’re using FormSmarts’ Export to Excel feature, you may have already noticed that we’ve updated the report generator. As well as several other minor changes, we’ve added a second way to specify the date range over which the report is generated (in addition to selecting a start and end date) by choosing a preset time period. This is meant to further simplify the task of generating a report. The preset periods available are Today, Yesterday, This Week, Last Week, Last Seven Days, This Month, Last Month, Last 30 Days.

For the time period options that depend on the first day of the week (This Week, Last Week), we use the default for your country, as set in your account. You can change this in the Report Generator under More Options.

Give Us Feedback

Do you find the new date range feature useful? Which one do you anticipate you will use most? Should we add more (e.g. quarter)? Please give us feedback by posting a comment, via Facebook or Twitter.

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.

Online 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 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).

Excel Text Import Wizard encoding

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.