How to Create Free Surveys with Google Forms

If you’ve ever had a desire to create a questionnaire, quiz, or a survey for coworkers or for members of a team, the Google Forms survey app eliminates the need for sending out a set of questions by email or breaking out the pen and paper. With Google Forms, receiving feedback in a survey is an easy process, helping you stay on top of issues affecting your organization.

Some businesses use Google Forms to send surveys to customers too. Responders do not have to have a Google account to fill out the survey.

Anyone with a Google account may create a Google Form, including G Suite/Google Workspace subscribers. You do not have to pay extra for Forms. It’s part of a free Google account, and it’s part of whatever G Suite/Google Workspace subscription tier you are using.

To help you make the most of the Google Forms survey app and all of its features, we’ve put together information and tips to aid in the process.

Where to Find Google Forms

To begin using Google Forms, you will need to sign into your Google account from the Google home page. (If you are a subscriber to G Suite, now called Google Workspace, or if you have a Gmail address for email, you already have a Google account.)

If you see a Sign In button on the Google home page, you’ll need to enter your information to access your Google account. If you see a picture of yourself or an icon identifying you on the Google home page, you do not need to sign in again.

Click the grid of 3×3 squares in the upper right corner to see all of the Google apps. Scroll through the list to look for the Forms app. If you don’t see it, click on the More From Google button to see additional Google apps that will be new to you. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of apps. Click on the Forms button (marked with a purple piece of paper icon).

Choosing Personal or Business Forms

On the Google Forms page, you can click on Personal or Business to begin creating a survey or questionnaire. If you are a subscriber to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), you can use the Business version. If you use the free version of Google instead, you can use the Personal version.

How to Create Your First Survey

Creating your first Google Forms survey is an easy process. From the Google Forms page, you’ll see a list templates for creating surveys across the top of the screen.

Click on the Template Gallery button at the upper right to see all of the templates that are available. Each template has a theme, giving you some ideas and a starting point for creating the survey.

Once you find a template that you want to use, click on it, and Google Forms will help you start. (Understand that when you select a template, you still can edit or add to the text that Google Forms pre-enters, allowing you to customize the template.)

If you’d prefer doing your own template from scratch, you can click on the New button, rather than selecting a template.

Entering Sections

Here are the various sections you’ll need to complete to create the basic framework of the survey or questionnaire.

  • Title: The title area is at the top of the page. Click in this section to enter text or to edit the existing text. The title area will consist of a title and a description section to explain the type of survey or to provide instructions.
  • Section: Use a section to split up the survey and introduce a new set of questions. The section area has the same features as the title area. To add a new section within the survey, click the Add Section button, represented with an icon with two stacked rectangular boxes on it in the popup menu along the right side.
  • Question: A question will be the primary aspect of the survey where you ask questions or request information. Click the Add Question button, marked with a plus sign icon with a circle around it in the popup menu along the right side.

Editing Questions

When you add a question to your survey, you will have quite a few options for tailoring it to the type of information you need.

  • Type of question menu: The drop down menu at the upper right corner of the question box will have a number of options for the type of information you want to request, including short answer, paragraph answer, multiple choice, checkboxes, and dropdown answers.
  • Question line: Enter the text on the line in the upper left corner of the question box to explain the type of information you’re seeking or to list the question you’re asking.
  • Options: Underneath the question line, you can add the potential answers that the survey responders can select. Click on Option 1 to enter new text here. Click Add Other to create additional options.
  • Image: To add an image to the question box, click the Image button in the upper middle of the question box.
  • Required button: If you want to require that the responder has to choose an answer to this particular question, move the Required slider button to the right in the lower right corner of the question box.

To delete a question box, click the trash can icon at the bottom of the box.

Add questions and sections until you finish creating the survey. As you add the different items, Google Forms will automatically save your changes every few seconds.

Sending the Form

Once you’re finished, click the Send button in the upper right corner. In the Send Form window, you’ll be able to enter the email addresses for those who will receive the survey. You also can embed the survey in a web page.

Click the Collect Email Addresses if you would like to see exactly who responded to the survey.

Viewing Responses

As people respond to your survey, Google Forms will collect and display the responses.

From the Google Forms home page, you’ll see the surveys you’ve created listed in the Recent Forms area. Click on the survey for which you want to see responses.

At the top of the survey page, you’ll see two text links (Questions and Responses). If you’ve received responses to your survey, the number of responses received appears to the right of the Responses text link.

Click on Responses, and Google Forms will show the statistics from your survey answers. Click the Sheets button in the upper right to create a spreadsheet in Google Sheets with the survey statistics listed. Click the three vertical dots to see more options for using the survey data.

If you’d like to stop receiving responses, move the slider button next to Accepting Responses to the left.

Is Google Forms Good for Surveys?

Google Forms does a nice job in helping users create simple surveys, especially considering it’s free. With some of the templates and other add-on features, your surveys can have a professional look too.

However, how does Google Forms stack up against other survey software?

Google Forms Vs. Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey represents a popular type of survey creation software, and its paid version does offer quite a few more features than Google Forms, including:

  • Availability of pre-created questions
  • More question types than in Google Forms
  • Dedicated customer service team for help
  • Can help with finding people to take surveys

There is one major difference between Google Forms and Survey Monkey that gives Forms a significant advantage — price. Google Forms is completely free, while Survey Monkey requires a subscription that starts at $25 per user per month (with a minimum of three users).

Google Forms Vs. SoGoSurvey

SoGoSurvey has a free version, but for additional features, you’ll have to subscribe to the pay version of the software. Some of the advantages of the pay version of SoGoSurvey versus Google Forms include:

  • Support for mobile devices with a dedicated app
  • Dedicated customer support teams for help
  • A greater level of survey metrics
  • Has more question types than Forms

SoGoSurvey’s pay version starts at $25 per month.

Google Forms Vs. Typeform

In the Typeform versus Google Forms comparison, you’ll find that the free version of Forms has better features than the limited free version of Typeform. But when you subscribe to Typeform (which has subscription tiers that start at $35 per month), you will receive some extra features versus Forms, including:

  • Supports apps for mobile devices
  • Offers advanced reporting features
  • Gives users customizable templates and a more polished look
  • Nicely handles surveys that have complex potential responses

Survey Tips for Google Forms

Here are some tips to help you make the most of the Google Forms app.

Find Some Add-ons

Google Forms has a number of tools that you can add to the app to give it more functionality.

In the window where you’re creating a Google Forms survey, click the three vertical dots at the top right corner. Select Add-ons to see the additional tools that Google has certified to work with Forms.

Collaborating on Forms

If you’d like to have other people help you develop your survey or make comments on a survey before you officially send it out to recipients, collaborating in Google Forms is an easy process.

From the Google Forms survey page, click the three vertical dots. Then select Add Collaborators. In the popup window, add the email addresses of people who can add comments or make edits. Click the Settings icon (marked with a gear) to give the collaborators permissions regarding how they can change the survey.

Personalize the Look

Before you send the survey, you may want to change the color scheme or add an image that reflects your organization or that reflects the topic of the survey, which may encourage a greater level of participation.

From the survey page, click the Theme Options button (marked with a paint pallet board icon) at the top of the page. You then may change the primary color, the background color, and the font of the text. Click the Choose Image button to pick an image from your hard drive or an image from the Google library to add to the top of the survey.

Preview the Survey

Before sending out your survey, it’s a good idea to preview exactly how it will look to those who receive it. You can ensure that it’s easy to use, it flows like you want it to, and it’s free of typos.

Click the Preview button (marked with an icon of an eye) at the top of the page. Google Forms will open a new browser tab and allow you to work through the survey in the same manner as a recipient would, so you can test everything. (During this Preview phase, understand that Forms will count any responses you make if you complete the survey.)

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Bryan Wise
Bryan Wise,
Former VP of IT at GitLab

Incredible companies use Nira