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Google Forms cheat sheet

How to use Google Forms to create online surveys, quizzes and feedback pages.

Google Forms  >  A woman uses a tablet displaying an online form.
Katleho Seisa / Getty Images / Google

Do you need to make a quiz, survey, registration form, order form or other web page that gathers feedback from co-workers, customers, or others? If so, you can design and deploy it right from your web browser with Google Forms. It’s integrated with Google Drive to store your forms in the cloud.

Anyone with a Google account can use Forms for free. It’s also available as part of G Suite, Google's subscription-based collection of online office apps for business and enterprise customers that includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, and more. Forms is lesser known than Google's other productivity apps, but it's a useful tool to know how to use. This guide takes you through the basics of designing a form, deploying it online, and viewing the responses it gathers.

Share this story: G Suite administrators, we hope you’ll pass this guide on to your users to help them get up to speed with Google Forms.

Create a new form

You can create a new form through the Google Forms home page, the Google Drive home page, or from within a spreadsheet in Google Sheets. You’ll need to sign in to your Google or G Suite account if you haven’t already.

In Google Drive: To start a new blank form from the  Drive home page, click the New button at the upper-left of the screen. From the menu that opens, select More > Google Forms; a blank form will open in the Google Forms web app in a new browser tab.

Alternatively, you can save time by working from a template. On the Google Drive home page, click the New button, select More, and then hover over the right-facing arrow next to Google Forms and select “From a template.” You're taken to a gallery where you can pick a ready-made template that helps you build a new form faster. These templates have been designed to gather certain data from people who fill out your form, such as their available time to attend a meeting, their contact information, or their feedback about something. There are even templates where people can apply for a job or request time off from work.

So take a look and find a template that's already designed to do what you're looking for. You can save time by starting with one of these templates and modifying it to suit your needs.

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Starting a form from a template can save you lots of time. (Click image to enlarge it.)

When you choose a template, it opens in the Google Forms web app.

In Google Forms: At the top of the home page you’ll see a “Start a new form” header, with a row of thumbnails underneath. To start a new form, click the Blank thumbnail, choose one of the template thumbnails to the right, or click “Template gallery” to open the template gallery page as described above.

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Creating a blank form from the Google Forms home page. (Click image to enlarge it.)

In Google Sheets: If you have a spreadsheet open in Google Sheets, you can insert a form into it. What this does is create a form that is tied to the spreadsheet. When people fill out the form, their responses are recorded onto a new sheet of your spreadsheet.

To insert a new form into your spreadsheet: First, open a spreadsheet in Google Sheets. Then, from toolbar above your spreadsheet, choose Insert > Form. This opens the Google Forms web app in a new browser tab.

We’ll explain later how the data from your form is gathered into your spreadsheet.

Build out a form

When you open a new form in Forms, you’ll see a bare-bones screen with the title of the form at the top-left of the page and the form itself in the center of the page. If you’ve started a blank form, you’ll see placeholders for the title, description, questions, and responses.

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A new blank form. (Click image to enlarge it.)

If you’ve started a form from a template, the template’s title will appear at the top and in the center of the page, and sample questions and responses will already be in place.

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A new form from a template. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Here we’ll walk through building a form from scratch, but you can use the same tools to edit items in a form created from a template.

The center of the page is your work area. At the top is a title/description box. Click the “Untitled form” line to enter a title for your form. In the line below the title, you can enter words that describe the form with a little more detail.

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Add your own title and description for the form. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Working with questions

The title/description box is typically followed by a question box that your respondent interacts with. The default question format is multiple choice. To change the question to another format, click anywhere in the question box, and a “Multiple choice” button with a small down arrow appears. Click it to open a menu that lists other formats that you can choose from.

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Forms offers an array of question formats to choose from. (Click image to enlarge it.)

  • Short answer or Paragraph: Respondents type answers in a text field; the Paragraph field is larger than the Short answer field.
  • Multiple choice, Checkboxes, or Dropdown: Respondents choose options from a list you provide. With multiple choice (radio button) and dropdown lists, respondents can select only one option; with checkboxes they can choose multiple options.
  • File upload: This field type allows respondents to upload a file to your Google Drive — say, for example, you design a form for job applicants, and you want them to upload a PDF of their resume. (Respondents must be signed in with a Google user account to upload the file.)
  • Linear scale: Respondents are asked to rate something on a scale, such as from 1 to 5.
  • Multiple choice grid or Checkbox grid: Respondents choose from answers that are arranged in a grid layout. With multiple choice (radio button) grids, respondents can select only one option; with checkbox grids they can choose multiple options.
  • Date or Time: The person enters a date or time, which can be in the past or the future. For example, you might ask what’s the earliest date they are available to meet. The form includes a calendar or clock tool that the person can use to enter their response.

Once you’ve selected a question format, click the “Untitled Question” line and type the question you want your respondents to read. Below the question, click “Option 1” and type an answer that you want your respondents to consider choosing. Click “Add option” below that to keep adding answers, or click ADD “OTHER” to add an “Other” choice with a blank where they can type a response.

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Type in text for your question and possible answers. (Click image to enlarge it.)

In addition to text responses, you can designate images for your respondents to choose from. To embed an image as an answer choice, click the image icon that appears to the right of the answer when you hover over it. An “Insert image” screen appears where you can upload an image file from your PC or Google Drive.

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Use this screen to insert an image as a possible answer. (Click image to enlarge it.)

To require respondents to answer a question, find the Required slider in the lower-right corner of its box and move it to the On position.

To add another question, click the “Add question” button (a circle with a + symbol) at the top of the floating toolbar to the right of your work area. Alternatively, you can click the “Import questions” button immediately below the “Add question” button in the toolbar to import questions from another form that you have saved in Google Drive.

Working with sections

Some forms may benefit from being divided into multiple sections — for instance, forms with a lot of questions. Think of each section as a page, with one or more questions appearing on that page.

To add a new section, click the “Add section” button, the bottommost option in the floating toolbar. When you add a new section, you’ll see that it gets its own section title/description box.

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Adding a new section to a form. (Click image to enlarge it.)

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Google Forms’ floating toolbar.

As you move from section to section, the floating toolbar on the right side of the Forms screen moves with you. The toolbar always controls the section immediately to its left.

You can embed images and YouTube videos onto sections. For instance, you might want respondents to look at a chart or watch a YouTube video before they answer questions. To embed an image, click the “Add image” button in the floating toolbar and select an image from your PC or Google Drive. To insert a video, click the “Add video” button; on the screen that appears, you can search YouTube or paste in the URL of the YouTube video you want to embed. Each image or video is presented in its own box in the section.

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You can insert charts and other images into a section. (Click image to enlarge it.)

You can also add a title/description box into the current section by clicking the “Add title and description” button in the toolbar. This lets you create subsections within a section or provide respondents with further instructions as they go along. For example, one subsection could contain multiple choice questions, while another subsection could group together questions that require written answers.

You can design a section to have multiple title/description, question, image and YouTube video boxes.

To move a text/description, question, image or video box up or down in a section, click the box to select it. Then click-and-hold the six-dot "handle" icon at the top center of the box, and drag the box down or up. (Note: You cannot move the text/description box that’s at the top of a section.)

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Grab onto a box’s six-dot icon and drag it to move it up or down. (Click image to enlarge it.)

You can copy or delete a text/description, question, or other box: Click the box to select it, and click the Duplicate or trash can icon. If you duplicate it, its copy will appear immediately below it in the section.

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Use these icons to duplicate or delete a question (or other) box. (Click image to enlarge it.)

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