Adobe Systems February 14, 2011
Was this tutorial useful to you?
In this tutorial, learn how to get started creating, distributing and tracking online forms and surveys with Adobe FormsCentral, an online forms service from Adobe that lets you easily distribute, collect and analyze data using HTML forms and surveys. With FormsCentral, you can create attractive, professional HTML forms (sometimes called web forms, online forms or free online forms) -- including questionnaires, contact forms, registration pages, mailing lists and much more -- and then quickly analyze your data from anywhere in real time while maintaining data security. You can also share links via e-mail, Twitter or web pages and your recipients can access and complete HTML forms or surveys from any device with a web browser and Internet connection – smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktop devices.
The My Forms organizer is your hub for creating and distributing HTML forms, managing responses, and analyzing results. Simply click the New Form button to launch the online forms authoring tool or select the Templates tab and choose one of several templates available to help get you started.
Four tabs across the top of your screen -- Design, Test, Distribute, and View Responses -- give you access to everything you need to manage your HTML form or survey, from creation and testing to distribution and analyzing responses.
Whether you’re working in a template or creating an online form from scratch, the Forms Palette has a variety of field types you can add to your form or survey. Mousing over the icons on the Forms Palette reveals the name of each option. You can collapse or expand the Forms Palette as needed.
You can easily customize the look and feel of your HTML form or survey — change background, font and horizontal line colors and add images and logos -- to promote and reinforce your brand. To add your company logo or a photo, simply click in any field to open the Field Properties box.
With FormsCentral you can collaborate in a secure online environment to work on HTML forms and surveys and preview and test forms before respondents see them. Click the Share Form File & Responses button to see the current sharing status of your form. You can share your form with selected individuals — choosing who can view or edit in your file — or you can publish it so anyone with the assigned URL can view the response table with all the form submissions. You also control who can re-share your form.
Each participant shows on the collaborator bar at the bottom of the page. Mousing over each icon will display the role assigned, current or most recent activity, and e-mail address.
When you publish a form file, anyone with the URL can view responses or test your form without needing to sign in. You can also embed the URL on a web page for easy access to the response table. Form files can be un-published at any time.
The Test feature in Adobe FormsCentral lets you see your form or survey exactly the way your respondents will see it — all before making it publicly available. Use the Test tab to test your form to better understand the experience recipients will have when they receive and fill out the form. You can decide if you need to adjust field sizes, add questions, or change a field type.
Your respondents can easily complete your form or survey in their web browser. Their data is automatically added to your response table, eliminating the need to consolidate or transcribe responses into an offline spreadsheet. Simply use the unique URL that appears in the Distribute tab to share your form with anyone via e-mail, Twitter, or instant messaging — or post the link on your web page or blog. Because your form is in HTML, respondents can complete it on their smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. All they need is a web browser and an Internet connection.
Opening a form makes it accessible to respondents so they can complete and submit it. If a form is closed, it is not available to respondents. A visual cue on the Distribute tab lets you quickly see your form's status. You can change the status of your form at any time after it’s opened by simply closing it to responses, going back to the Design tab, making any desired changes, and opening it to responses again on the Distribute tab. While changes are being made, respondents will not have access to the form until it’s opened again.
FormsCentral collects all your responses, in real time, and automatically adds the data to your response table, eliminating the need to collect results manually and transfer them to a spreadsheet.
Because new data is added to your response table as each person clicks submit, you can immediately view and analyze your results in real time. Summary formulas and tables are automatically updated so you can easily report results.
FormsCentral employs industry-standard technology for Internet security. When you access FormsCentral, SSL technology protects your information using both server authentication and data encryption.
You can customize how you view your data by searching, sorting, and filtering to see the data that is important to you. Multiple people on your team can view, contribute to, and analyze the data at the same time. The Private View option lets you view and analyze the form without affecting other users who may be concurrently viewing the response table. You can also drill down and view an individual response as a stand-alone record.
You can act quickly on your data by adding fields, such as columns, to your response table. You can make specific responses stand out using row, cell, and column highlighting, filter by specific data, and even track manually edited or added responses. Use built-in formulas for math and statistics to analyze your response data. You can also add simple or complex formulas to perform mathematical or statistical analysis. To do even more, export response data — as much or as little content as you like — to an Excel spreadsheet, PDF document, or CSV file.
The FormsCentral organizer helps you manage the forms and surveys you’ve created, open or close them for responses, duplicate or remove an item, or create a new form. From the My Forms tab you can see what forms are open and closed, how many total responses you’ve received, and how many new responses have come in since the last time you checked. You can also change the state of a selected form by opening or closing it and sharing it with collaborators. Double clicking a form name will open it where you were the last time you closed the form file, enabling you to easily pick up where you left off.