Google Docs For Surveys

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Newmacer2, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Newmacer2 macrumors regular

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    #1
    I didn't know where else to post this, so excuse the post if you're not interested. There's a Google forum much like this one, but nobody seems to be "home" or they don't know the answer to my question.

    I just tried my first Google Docs Survey. I know nothing about the application, but it seemed pretty straightforward and I could learn to love working in it. However, I don't think it does what I thought it did, or I'm missing something.

    What I need is a program that gives me the results in a individual documents I can print. I don't need to keep a spreadsheet of the responses, I just need the completed surveys. From what I could tell, this may not be possible. It looks like the software is setup to accumulate the answers for you in a spreadsheet, which would be great, but not necessary for me at this point.

    Thanks so much for your help.
     
  2. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #2
    I've tried it, found Google's offering far too limiting. I use SharePoint in my Office 365 for internal products of this ilk, SurveyMonkey for external products - most of my clients use SurveyMonkey, it gets the job done and it's easy to use.
     
  3. Newmacer2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thanks campyguy. I have a strong feeling you are correct. While I had fun creating a survey, I sort of hit a dead end. Too bad the alternate cost money. I'm working with a school with "0" budget for such things. Thank again for your input.
     
  4. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #4
    You can use SurveyMonkey free with some limitations. Depends on whether what you're trying to achieve is possible within those limitations, I guess.
     
  5. Newmacer2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
     
  6. Newmacer2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Yeah, I read that. Unfortunately, the limit is 10 questions. I have twice that. Thanks anyway.
     
  7. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #7
    Darn! ;-)
     
  8. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #8
    Well, fine. It's that "free" thing again... respectfully, a heads-up in the OP about that key limitation would have been helpful, and props to trying to work with a school - some of my clients are NPs and they're money pits and black holes for time and energy.

    IMHO, you'll really have only one choice, but it's not my first one - Typeform. I've used it a few times but ended up with Surveymonkey. I'd prefer Typeform over Google Forms (you wrote "Google Docs" but am assuming you mean Google Forms...), but you're stuck with a few limitations in the free version like their branding. Cheers!
     
  9. Newmacer2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Thanks. I'll check typeform out. Sounds interesting.
     
  10. weatherwax macrumors member

    weatherwax

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    #10
    Just curious - what are you doing that you need individual sheets of completed surveys, rather than a spreadsheet of responses?

    If you can't get any single solution to work for you, the simplest way might be to go a route that gives you a spreadsheet, then mail-merge them into a word doc template you create. If you can go a little more into your requirements, I might be able to give better advice.
     
  11. Newmacer2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Thanks for your offer of help. My reasons are based on the need for a "paper trail". The surveys are sent to teachers who teach special needs students. We are required by law to keep accurate records (files) on each student. These surveys are currently done manually, which is s pain for everyone concerned. That's why the Google survey was so appealing. A printed survey form in a students file folder keeps things organized, easy to find and necessarily confidential. Thanks again for your interest.
     
  12. Newmacer2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    --- Post Merged, Jan 7, 2016 ---
    Okay, I've decided to live with the spreadsheet in lieu of the entire returned response forms. But, I have another question. I was just asked to add a question to my survey and I added it at the appropriate place, which was in the middle of the survey. When I looked at the response spreadsheet today, the answers to the new question ended up at the end of the spreadsheet instead of where it belongs. Is there anyway to fix this, or do I have to start from scratch, building a new survey with the new question in place? Thanks. Sorry if this is a dumb question. Google Newbie here.
     
  13. weatherwax macrumors member

    weatherwax

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    #13
    I've never used Typeform before, but I still think that using a Google Survey, downloading the results as a spreadsheet, and then using Word to mail-merge them into individual sheets would be the easiest option that gives you the greatest amount of control and customization over the final product. Mail merging lets you import the spreadsheet and then use the column headers as variables in a document. When you finish, it will iterate through each row of the spreadsheet and insert the values into your template. The finished product will be a bunch of individual documents that you can print out for each student and put in their file.

    Here's Microsoft's walk through on mail merges: https://support.office.com/en-us/ar...-process-4ad61088-e108-4f56-b60d-e3c7d30c954a

    I'm sure Apple's word processor has a similar mail merge feature, too, I'm just not familiar with it.
     
  14. Newmacer2 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    Thank you Weatherwax. You're so nice to share your obvious knowledge about such things. I truly appreciate it.
     
  15. weatherwax macrumors member

    weatherwax

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    #15
    Two thoughts on this:

    1. If your end goal is individually printed surveys, the order of columns may not matter to you. Keep in mind that this is just step 1, collecting the data. Step 2, the mail merge into your formatted word document, will let you put the columns as variables anywhere you'd like.

    2. If you're set on having a correctly formatted sheet, there are a few ways to go about it. This issue has actually been a frustration that Google has been aware of for a few years, but no solution has come out yet. I'll spare you the technical details, but it's a much more complex database query to reorder columns than it is simply to add a new one to the end, since column order doesn't particularly matter to a database. Here are a few potential solutions:

    • If this is a one-time survey that won't be used after this round, you can just cut and paste the columns into the correct order after all the data is collected. You can also reorder the spreadsheet after you've downloaded it in the same manner if you might use the survey again, but it's important to have a copy of the spreadsheet in the correct order.

    • If you'll be using it again and the order is important, making a new form from scratch will be much more error-proof and straightforward than any workarounds.

    • That being said, if you're interested in learning more about excel and google sheets, this isn't a bad project to try and take on. Basically, you can mirror the information from Sheet 1 on a new sheet through formulas. If you write the formula =Sheet1!A1 in Sheet 2, Cell A1, it'll import the value of cell A1 in the first sheet. If you wanted to put the third column in the first column, you could instead use the formula =Sheet1!C1. The problem with only doing this approach is that when a new form is submitted, Google Sheets inserts a new row, so all of the previous cell references would be moved down and the new information wouldn't be displayed. You can get around this by referencing the whole column rather than once cell at a time using an array formula. I'd recommend using the FILTER function, and try to capture all of the responses by filtering out any blanks, so the last example would be =FILTER(Sheet1!C:C, Sheet1!C:C <>""). The <> means "not equal to", and the empty quotes just signifies no value is in the cell. If you have some responses that might be blank, instead of writing C:C in the second reference, write the column that has the timestamp of the response (likely A:A). That should let you order the spreadsheet any way you'd like. You can then hide Sheet 1, and anyone looking at your document will just see the imported values in the correct order. This has an added benefit of putting another step between someone and accidentally erasing the source data. This is likely confusing - let me know where I run into trouble here and I'll try to explain a bit better.
     

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