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Instructional Design and Technology in Education

Add file attachment to Google Forms

Here’s a third party application that works with Google Forms for added form functionality. One feature that is missing from creating forms is the ability to have viewers upload a file. This is where Forms+ comes in. Tied to your Google account, you can create a form from Google Drive by connecting Forms+ to your account so that it appears as one of the applications. Use Forms+ to create your form using these text options: prepended and appended text  well as a regular text box and larger text area (multiple lines). Selections tools include the option for a drop down menu as well as checkboxes and radio buttons. Forms+ also has inline checkboxes and inline radio buttons so these types of questions don’t take up so much screen real estate. But the best feature is the ability to add a question type where viewers can upload a file. Files that are uploaded are automatically added to your response spreadsheet as well as a new folder in Google Drive.

If you create a form for individual assignments and included a file upload option, all of the assignments uploaded would automatically go into a unique Google Drive folder. How cool is that!

When I first read about this application, I assumed that it wouldn’t work with our UA Google Applications, but it does!

Now for the drawbacks. If you use Form+ to create a form, you don’t get all of the features that you do in Google Forms. For example, there are no themes to distinguish your form from one another. You just get a default form look which is basic and lives on a web page that is populated with Forms+ advertising. On one of the forms I created, I got advertising from backcountry.com featuring a sale on underwear (of which I recently purchased) and the header was from cardstore.com of which probably fit best with an online greeting card service that I use.

Another pretty big difference is in the responses spreadsheet. When you create a form using Form+ you do get an automatic spreadsheet created for collecting the responses but it is missing the Form menu. The big drawback of this omission is that you can’t get a graphical representation of the summary of results. For some form-use, this is critical feature.

Googleform-formmenu

Missing from Form+

  • themes
  • scale, grid, date and time question types
  • adding section headers
  • inserting image or video
  • branching
  • automatic authentication for UA user ids
  • form menu from responses spreadsheet

All of your forms create dwith Form+ go into the same Form+ folder.  You can fix this by adding folders if you use Forms+ for multiple classes or projects.

As the following video suggests, there is a work around for using the File upload option from Form+ and adding it to  your regular Google Form but it is pretty clunky and might not work for every type of user.

Possible Solution:

  • create your form in Google From
  • create a single question in using Form+ that has a file upload question. Save the form and copy the form URL.
  • in your original Google Form, create a section header telling the user to go to the additional site by clicking on the URL to upload their file. A new feature to Google Forms creates clickable links from any full URL added in a form so you don’t have to worry about adding html coding.

It might look something like this:

formplus-fileupload for Gform

So you get an idea of the possible difficulties with this solution: making sure users submit the original form AND go to the link to upload a file on a separate form. Another downside is that with two forms you get two spreadsheets and it might be very hard to align the responses on the Google Form submission with the file upload Form+ without very specific directions.

Here’s a video tutorial to get you started:

There is a lot of potential here…I’ll be keeping an eye out for more on file uploads in Google Forms!

Author: Heidi Olson

Heidi enjoys working with content experts in developing eCampus courses to provide alternatives for students. Her other interests include faculty training in best practices for eCampus and researching eCampus tools to help fulfill learning outcomes. Having worked in the distance education arena for over 20 years, she has a wide range of experiences in supporting students and faculty as technology and pedagogy evolve.

7 Comments

  1. Heidi,
    I am new to Google forms and this looks like the exact information that I need. I am creating an evaluation form for an academic conference. I want the participants to be able to upload letter of nominations for awards.

  2. Unfortunately I have found that this app is junk. It crashes all the time and is unreliable. Anyone else had more luck?

  3. Great review and great suggestion on adding an upload link to the google form! Thanks for that!

  4. I really need this tool but it doesn’t work! The back end is difficult (you click add a field and sometimes it ends up at the top of the form and sometimes at the bottom), I cilcked to edit a field and it went all the way to the bottom of the page about 15 times, this is a form with about 70 fields.

    Every time I tried to save I got a 500 error, though it was actuallly saving.

    When I finally got the thing finished, i went to test and every time it says

    An error occured while trying to submit your response.

    I’ve retried about 10 times and the same thing.

    This is exactly what I need, and I’m disappointed that it doesn’t work 🙁

    • I’m really sorry that it hasn’t worked for you. I only created short less then 10 question forms. Have you tried a different browser? I was using Chrome on my Mac for my testing.

  5. I have tried many times but it does not respond as I want.
    Every time I tried to save I got a 301 error. When I finally got the thing finished, i went to test and every time it says: An error occured while trying to submit your response.
    please check out where I want to show this thing:- http://www.journalofzoology.com

  6. Do you know what types of files it will accept for upload?