Building Forms with Functions- 5 Cool Tools to Create Online Web Forms

The internet may be a paperless world, but when it comes to doing business online, it’s a world filled with forms. The challenge is to make sure that your site offers the forms you need to effectively communicate with customers while obtaining the kind of information that can help grow your business. Although professional site builders already have form options built in, there are many free and easy options for the DIY entrepreneur. Here’s a look at 5 very reliable tools you can use to create online web forms.

1. Google Docs:  – Face it. Aside from being free, Google Docs “rocks” on many levels. And the “forms” function of Google Docs—which started out as a feature of the Spreadsheet app and has now become an app on its own—is no exception. What’s not to like about creating a form that’s automatically connected to a corresponding spreadsheet upon which all the incoming response data is collected? As far as form integration goes, once you’ve created your form —in Google Docs—and saved it, you can access a designated link from the drop down menu that will give you a special URL to embed the form directly into your website or blog.  

2. JotForm: Another very user-friendly form creating tool is JotForm. Although originally designed for use by professional web builders, the program has evolved to the point that web-building skills are not a prerequisite. Requiring no downloads or sign-ups, JotForm facilitates form creation via a simple and straightforward drag and drop user interface. The free basic program—which is refreshingly free of annoying ads and distracting directions to the JotForm website—provides 100MB of storage and allows your account to receive 100 form submissions per month, which may be all you need if your business does not highly depend  upon form users. Another great feature of both the free and paid programs is the ability to create and display post response, thank you messages or send automated emails to users, acknowledging receipt and appreciation of their submissions.

3. FormSite: Starting with a limited “Free forever” plan which allows for the creation of 5 forms per month—with up to 50 items per form and 50MB of storage and a maximum of 10 submissions—FormSite offers another simple solution for creating and embedding forms into your website, blogsite or email. With very affordable pricing, you can take advantage of plan upgrades which give you the ability to integrate e-commerce tools such as PayPal and  Google checkout. With FormSite you can create web forms for any use, complete with images, graphs, logos etc. You can even create forms to reach users on mobile phone platforms.

4. Acrobat FormsCentral: Free to try and easy to use, Adobe Forms Central will help you design, customize and preview forms that can be accessed by any user on the platform of their choice, be it desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile. Much of FormsCentral’s appeal lies in the simplicity of creating forms using pre-made templates. Custom forms may also be created via a simple drag and drop editor. Other features include a very well designed text editor which makes it easy to add text, create single or multiple choice options, paragraphs and date and drop down options. Forms are also customizable as to images, logos and color schemes, a nice feature to keep your logo prominent and consistent throughout your site. Finally, for ease of analysis, the data collected from your form can be sorted, tabled, formatted and exported to formats such as XLS and CVS.

5. WuFoo: With a name that sounds more like a choice on a Chinese take-out menu than a form building program, WuFoo is another solid option that has managed to take the code writing credentials out of the form creating process. Starting with a free trial that gets you started with a maximum of 3 forms, one user account and a total of 100 responses per month, WuFoo offers plan upgrades that can be tailored to your needs, including the popular “Bona Fide” plan that allows for up to 5 user accounts and unlimited forms and reports. Once a form is created it can be incorporated into your website in a number of ways, such as downloading and integrating the HTML, embedding the form into the site as an iFrame, placement on the page via JavaScript, or simply providing a link to the form. To track form entries and activities, custom reports are also very easily created.

Derrick Lewis is a freelance writer for Acrobat.com.

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