Simple Surveys with Google Docs - Forms

Summary: Google Docs - Forms allows you to write a simple web-based survey in just a few minutes without the need to learn HTML or set up a database server to collect the data. The tool is easy to use, and both flexible and powerful. Results are gathered in a Google Docs spreadsheet. All you need to get started is a free Google account.

1) All NAU students are automatically assigned an NAU Google account. Visit for information about NAU's Google tools. You can also go to to access NAU's Google Docs directly. Faculty and Staff can request an NAU Google Account from the Student Technology Center.

2) In the upper left, choose the Create New pulldown menu and select Form.

create form

The forms screen looks like this:

fill out the form

3) In the first box, give the form a title.

4) Optional: the next box is for general instructions, if you have any.

5) Write your first question in the Question Title box.

6) Optional: In the "Help Text" box, add any info that will help them answer that particular question, such as "your birthdate must be in the form: yyyy-mm-dd"

7) Select your question type. If multiple choice, provide the answer choices under Option 1, Option 2, etc. As you need more options they will automatically appear.

8) If the student must answer this question, check the box making it a required question.

9) Click the Done button and start on the next question. If you're completely done, delete the unfilled next question by clicking on the trash can icon and hit the Save button in the upper right. When you're done, it should look like this:

completed form

10) Note the black bar at the bottom of the screen. This has the URL that you will give out to people so that they can take the survey.

11) When you complete the survey, you should get an email to your Google Mail account, indicating the URL where you can look at responses.

12) My sample survey: [Tip: If this URL is too unruly, you can use a utility like Bitly to shorten it to something like:] When you visit this page, it should look like this:


13) When you login to Google Docs, you will see your new form listed under All Items, sorted by date. When you open the form, you will get a spreadsheet of responses that looks like this:

response spreadsheet

14) From the Forms menu, you can continue to Edit Form or show a Summary of Responses that looks like this:

response data