Google Forms for Noobs
April 26, 2014 12:50 PM   Subscribe

I want to be able to input a form's worth of data/information into a Google form I have created and still be able to export and view the data in individual readable forms, even for long paragraphs of text. I have failed at Googling this issue. Am I asking the impossible, or am I just failing at search? If I'm asking the impossible, what program or not-crazy kludge would make this possible?

The form is for feedback for about 150 students and I'm trying to replicate what I have been doing inefficiently and illegibly by hand for 15 years. I'd like to be able to enter their name, period etc. as short answers and then write a few longer sentences about their performance in 7-8 categories. For this to be useful for the students and for me I need to then be able to get the data OUT of the spreadsheet in a format they can read, and in a way that doesn't include the data of other students.

I'd ideally like to end up with separate, filled-out forms to distribute to each kid that look like what was on the form before I pressed "submit." I have been playing around with this for a while, and I can enter students and get the data in spreadsheet form. I can't even get the text to wrap, however (yes, I have selected the text and pushed the button), which makes my long answers useless to them and even to me, and I don't see any good options for data export besides the spreadsheet.

What am I missing? It *seems* like something I should be able to do, but maybe I am crazy. Am I crazy? Is Forms the wrong tool for this? If so, is there a free or relatively inexpensive program (Mac, 10.7.5) I should be using to do this instead? Is there an obvious kludge I'm missing?
posted by charmedimsure to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am not sure if anything new has come along in the last few years, but the only work around that I could find to this issue when I did a reader survey with an English Teacher at the middle school I used to work at, was to do a mail merge in Microsoft Word- so export the spreadsheet to excel and then do a mail merge in a document that I created in word. Not ideal, but it is a lot easier then copy and pasting! I'll be watching this thread to see if anyone has a better solution! I just searched this and realized I asked this question way back when and someone here told me to mail merge!
posted by momochan at 1:04 PM on April 26, 2014

Okay, that's a reasonable if not ideal kludge. Thank you! Still kind of obnoxious, though- it really feels like it should be easier than that.

I'll add that I used to do this in some sort of weird ClarisWorks database thing, but that disappeared from the district's machines ages ago. Then I downgraded to doing it by hand. Oh, technology! How frequently you fail me.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:19 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do they all use email? I use a Google Spreadsheet mail merge plugin called FormEmailer that could do this-- assemble cells of text into paragraph text form. Or you could email them all to yourself.

There's probably a much simpler Google Spreadsheet-> text document plugin out there.
posted by supercres at 1:45 PM on April 26, 2014

This is the solution that I've used: Merge info from Google Forms to PDF document and send via email. It looks harder than it is. If you can wrap your head around minor scripting - it has all the parts you need to solve this problem
posted by Brent Parker at 2:06 PM on April 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I could just e-mail them all to myself if it is a one-step, one-email process; will investigate. A lot of the kids don't have e-mail/computers at home, and if I used the ones we have on file the vast majority would bounce anyway- at least they do with parent e-mails.

I am pretty sure that I can't wrap my head around minor scripting.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:27 PM on April 26, 2014

You don't have to mail the pdfs. You can remove that instruction and the pdf forms can live in your google drive.
posted by Brent Parker at 9:47 PM on April 26, 2014

Welp, mail merge it was. Ugly/inconvenient, but it worked. It is insane that this is not on a drop-down menu within the forms/spreadsheet app itself.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:21 AM on April 28, 2014

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