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Collecting data has never been easier. Whether you need to get feedback from your customers, collect inventory data from your colleagues, or even quiz your students, Google Forms is a great option. Within minutes, you can create the form, send it out, and wait for the responses to be automatically saved to Google Sheets.

In this article, you will learn how about the different question types available, as well as how to build and configure your Form, share it with others, and monitor the responses.

Google Forms Question Types

There are so many options in Forms that you’ll be tempted to ask questions just because you can. Remember to focus on identifying which information you actually need, as well as which question type will be the most suitable.

Open Questions

Both “short answer” and “paragraph” allow respondents to type in their answers directly, within the allotted character limit. However, unless you need respondents to type in more than 2500 words - approximately 12800 characters - “short answer” will be plenty.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Open Questions
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Open Questions

Multiple Choice Questions

The default option is the traditional multiple choice question. The dropdown question is very similar, but the options are displayed as a list. Checkbox questions allow the respondent to select multiple options.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Multiple Choice Questions
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Multiple Choice Questions

Scales and Grids

If you need to use scales, like agreement or importance, you have a few options. The “linear scale” question allows you to choose the number of points on that scale, as well as the end values.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Scale Questions
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Scale Questions

However, if you need respondents to evaluate multiple items on the same scale, you may want to consider using a multiple-choice grid instead.

The checkbox grid is similar, but it allows respondents to choose multiple options in the same row. This makes it unsuitable for scales but useful for “choose all that apply” questions.

Date/Time Questions

If you need respondents to provide a date or a time, using these question types will ensure a consistent format and avoid typos.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Date Questions
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Date Questions

File Upload

Using this option, you can collect data in any file format. The first time you add a “File upload” question to your form, you will see a message asking you to allow uploads to your Drive.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data File Upload Permission
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - File Upload Permission

You can restrict the type of file that users can upload by selecting one or more of the checkboxes. You can also limit the number of files allowed, as well as the maximum file size.

By default, there is a 1GB limit to the total size of files uploaded to a form, but you can increase this up to 1TB by clicking on “Change” (see screenshot).

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data File Upload Options
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - File Upload Options

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How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data?

Now that you know the question types available in Forms, it’s time to create your first Form. It’s always a good idea to prepare the questions in a separate document to make sure you get the wording and the sequencing right.

Create the Form

If you’re not already signed in, choose the google account you want to use.

  1. 1. Go to Google Forms and click on “Blank” to create a new form.
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data New Form
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - New Form
  1. 2. By default, forms are created with only one section containing one multiple choice question.
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Blank Form
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Blank Form
  1. 3. To customize the theme, click on the paint palette icon: the first icon on the top-right corner of the screen. You can select the fonts, font sizes, and font and background colors.
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Customize Theme
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Customize Theme
  1. 4. Remember to add a title and a description, as shown below.
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Add Title and Description
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Add Title and Description
  1. 5. If you want your Form to be a quiz, go to “Settings” and click on “Make this a quiz” to configure it.
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Quiz Settings
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Quiz Settings

Add Questions and Sections

If your form is going to have multiple sections, you should create those first to avoid confusion. 

To add a question, simply click on the plus sign on the right sidebar. On that same sidebar, from top to bottom, you can also click to import questions from another form, add text, images, audio/video, and new sections.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Add Question
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Add Question

By default, a multiple choice question will be added below the question currently selected. Click on the dropdown to change the question type.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Change Question Type
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Change Question Type

Along the bottom of the question box, you have various options. You can duplicate the question, delete it, or make it a “Required question.” Additionally, if you click on the three vertical dots, you will see more options.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Question Options
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Question Options

You can add a description to provide further instructions, as well as shuffle the order in which the options are presented to respondents. This last option is more useful in quiz settings, as it complicates cheating.

Perhaps the most interesting option is “Go to section based on answer”, which allows you to filter respondents to different sections.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Go to Section Based on Answer
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Go to Section Based on Answer

Configure Settings and Preview Form

Before you send out your Form, it’s a good idea to check the settings and preview it. The preview function allows you to spot errors that you might not notice in editing mode, such as having linked the sections in the wrong order.

Click on the “Settings” tab on the right, at the top of the Form.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Settings
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Settings

The “Responses” dropdown in “Settings” allows you to control access to the Form and limit responses.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Response Settings
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Response Settings

The “Presentation” dropdown in “Settings” allows you to control features related to how the form appears to users.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Presentation Settings
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Presentation Settings

To preview the form and test it, click on the eye icon on the top right of the page.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Preview Form
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Preview Form

Send Form

Click “Send” on the top-right corner of the page to see the pop-up shown below.

Use the first tab to share the Form via email. By default, the email will include a link to the form, but you can tick the box that says “include form in email” to embed it.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Send Email
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Send Email

The second tab allows you to copy a direct link to fill out the form.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Form Link
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Form Link

The third tab provides you with the HTML code needed to embed the link wherever you want.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Embed Link
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Embed Link

Monitor Responses

You can always check on your responses live by clicking on the “Responses” tab.

How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Monitor Responses
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Monitor Responses

There are three different ways to view responses within forms. In the “Summary” tab, you’ll see a summary of the responses to each question. In the “Questions” tab, you can view all the responses for a single question and easily switch between questions. The “Individual” tab allows you to view responses by respondent/form.

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Where does Google Forms Store the Data it Collects?

By clicking on the Google Sheets icon, you can select the response destination. After that, the icon will take you directly to the responses.

  1. 1. Alternatively, click on the “Responses” tab, then on the three vertical dots shown below.
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Responses Tab
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Responses Tab
  1. 2. Click on the second option, “Select response destination.”
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Responses Options
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Responses Options
  1. 3. Choose whether to create a new spreadsheet or select an existing one.
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data Select Response Destination
How to Use Google Forms to Collect Data - Select Response Destination

How to collect data in Google Sheets with Layer?

Layer is an add-on that equips finance teams with the tools to increase efficiency and data quality in their FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets. Share parts of your Google Sheets, monitor, review and approve changes, and sync data from different sources – all within seconds.

Using Layer, you can:

  • Share & Collaborate: Automate your data collection and validation through user controls.
  • Automate & Schedule: Schedule recurring data collection and distribution tasks.
  • Integrate & Sync: Connect to your tech stack and sync all your data in one place.
  • Visualize & Report: Generate and share reports with real-time data and actionable decisions.

Limited Time Offer: Sign up today and get free access to Layer, including all the paid features, so you can start managing, automating, and scaling your FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets!

Conclusion

As you have seen, Google Forms are very easy to use and extremely flexible. You can create anything from a quick poll between friends to a complex multi-path survey. It’s up to you to decide who can respond to your Form, as well as where the responses are stored.

By now, you know about the different types of questions available in Google Forms. You also know how to build a Form, share it, and choose where to store the responses. All you need to do is think about the data you want and whom you want to collect it from.

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Aug 12 2022, Updated Sep 23 2022