A Beginner’s Guide to Microsoft Forms

Tablet showing statistics

Microsoft Forms is an application which allows you to create shareable surveys, quizzes and polls in minutes.

Forms tracks participant responses, providing real-time results and analytics for your survey. Forms was originally only available on Office 365 Education, however Microsoft are now rolling out Forms in ‘Preview’ mode to Office 365 commercial customers—which includes Chorus! So, I thought it would only be fair to tell you all what we think of Microsoft Forms here at Chorus and how to use it…

Where to find it

Forms is available to Office 365 Education users and to businesses that have any of the following commercial Office 365 plans: Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Business Premium, and Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, and E5 plans (also E4 for anyone who purchased this plan before it was retired by Microsoft). To find the app, open your Office 365 Home Page and look at your list of apps. If Forms isn’t showing, click ‘Explore all your apps’ and you’ll find it listed in there.

Office 365 Apps Homepage

Creating a Form

Right, let’s run through the basics of creating a form. Inside the app, you’ll be presented with the Forms home page. As you can see, you can choose to create a new form or quiz.

Microsoft Forms Homepage

When you select a new form, you can simply input the form details and add an image.

Microsoft Forms Test Survey

You can easily add questions of a variety of question types to your survey.

Forms question type options

The ‘Choice’ option allows you to add multiple-choice questions and as many potential answers as you wish to include. You can also determine whether the respondent can provide multiple answers and whether completing the question is mandatory by toggling the ‘multiple answers’ and ‘required’ functions on/off. You can also add an image if it gives context to the question – see example below.

Forms example question

It’s easy to simply add more and more questions to your form as you go on.

With the ‘text’ option, your respondents can answer your question with a free-text response - they can write whatever they like in the text box.

Forms free text answer

Date-related questions present the option to select a date from a calendar in response to a question, while ‘rating’ questions allow you to rate something using a scale of numbers or stars.

rating question example

After adding your questions, you can easily change the appearance of your form by adding a ‘theme’. You can simply pick from the different colours and graphics options, before using the ‘preview’ button to see what the final survey will look like to your respondents.

Forms theme preview

Sharing your Form

Sharing your survey is so simple with Microsoft Forms. You can choose whether the survey is only shareable to people within your organisation or just anyone that gets hold of the link. You can also share survey templates and collaborate on survey design.

Sharing options Microsoft Forms

By copying the link, you can paste it anywhere e.g. in an email, on a webpage or social media – the possibilities are endless! Alternatively, you can generate a QR code – which requires someone to scan the code using their mobile device to access the form.

QR Code example

The other two options include ‘Embed’ and ‘Email’. The embed option provides some HTML code which you can paste in a webpage, while ‘email’ is exactly what it says on the tin.

Responses and Results

Once you’ve shared your new survey, you will likely want to review the responses. In your survey ‘responses’ tab, you will find a dashboard with analytics of the data submitted by your survey respondents.

Forms survey response overview

As you can see, you can quickly find out how many people have submitted responses, the average time it takes a respondent to complete the form and the status of the form. Following this, you can see an overview of the answers for each of your survey’s questions. For a multiple-choice question, you will see the number of responses for each option and a pie chart.

results pie chart

Luckily, it seems that including a cat meme in my Chorus blog wasn’t inappropriate after all – everyone loves cats, right?

For any question type, you can see a full breakdown of all the different answers. Note how each respondent is provided with an ID. This allows you to cross-compare answers between different questions. If you share your survey with people inside your organisation, you can select the option to capture their names – otherwise the data is anonymised.

Forms results breakdown

As you can see, 4/5 respondents chose Chorus as their favourite UK-based Managed IT Services Provider! I’d love to say that there wasn’t any bias here – but there was.

With ‘rating’ questions, the overview shows you the average rating from all of the responses.

average rating

Finally, you can open the data in an Excel spreadsheet in case you want to do more detailed statistical analysis – or you could even put the data into Power BI.

Summary

In summary, Forms is a very simple and intuitive application, which is a fantastic solution for businesses that have it included within their Office 365 subscription. The software creates visually attractive forms which provide a superb user experience – including on mobile devices.

Some survey software such as SurveyMonkey or Typeform have free plans, but these typically have limits on what you can do before you need to upgrade to the paid version. For example, you might only be able to add 10 questions and limited to 100 responses. More advanced features such as adding conditional questions or branching are possible with Microsoft Forms, making this an effective survey solution that is worth paying attention to. Even better, IT administrators can retain control and turn off access to users if required – allowing your organisation to keep control of the applications that staff can use.

All in all, Forms is a great option for your business – especially as it’s included with your Office 365 licensing cost. While it is currently still in ‘Preview’, it is expected to be generally available in April 2018.

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