Smartsheet is a popular cloud-based work execution platform used by organizations to plan, track, automate, and report on work. A key capability it offers is the ability to easily create forms to collect information from various stakeholders.
Forms are an invaluable tool for streamlining data collection and simplifying data entry. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through the step-by-step process of building and customizing forms in Smartsheet using best practices.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Using Forms in Smartsheet
- Step 1 – Create a New Form
- Step 2 – Customize the Form Layout
- Step 3 – Configure Form Rules and Options
- Step 4 – Customize Form Style
- Step 5 – Share and Distribute your Form
- Best Practices for Effective Forms
Benefits of Using Forms in Smartsheet
Here are some of the key benefits of using forms in Smartsheet:
- Efficient data collection: Forms allow you to gather consistent, structured data from both internal and external stakeholders in a standardized format. This saves time compared to collecting information via email, phone calls, spreadsheets etc.
- Simplified data entry: Information submitted via forms can automatically populate into Smartsheet sheets, eliminating the need for manual data entry which is error-prone.
- Increased data accuracy: By using forms you can configure rules, validations, and conditional logic to ensure higher quality data is collected.
- Flexible distribution: Forms can be accessed directly via links, embedded into web pages or dashboards, and even accessed offline on mobile devices – allowing information to be submitted easily from anywhere.
Step 1 – Create a New Form
Creating a new form in Smartsheet takes just a few clicks:
- Open the sheet you want the form responses to populate into.
- Select Forms > Create Form from the top toolbar.
- By default, all visible columns from your sheet will be added as fields in your new form.
- Give your form a name and click Create to build out your form.
All the columns from your sheet are automatically available as fields you can add to your form. You can also add new custom form fields as needed.
Step 2 – Customize the Form Layout
The key to an effective form is a simple, easy-to-use layout. Here are some tips for customizing the form layout:
Structure Content into Sections
Use page dividers to visually separate your form into logical sections. This makes longer forms easier to complete.
Ensure a Logical Field Order
Structure your fields in an order that makes sense to the person completing the form. Group related fields together.
Use Descriptive Labels and Help Text
Well-written field labels and descriptive help text provide clarity for those filling out your forms, improving data accuracy.
Set Required Fields
Mark any mandatory fields as “Required” to prevent incomplete submissions. Smartsheet will prevent form submission until all required fields are filled out.
By spending time structuring your form layout, you can make your forms intuitive and easy-to-use.
Step 3 – Configure Form Rules and Options
There are a few key form settings you should configure:
Add validation rules to ensure submitted data meets formatting requirements you specify. Common validations include enforcing numeric values, dates, email addresses, etc.
Show or hide fields based on previous responses using conditional logic rules. This displays only relevant fields to each submitter based on their answers.
Configure where new submissions will appear in your sheet, whether they should receive a copy, and other preferences.
Spending time on these form rules and options will ensure you gather high-quality information.
Step 4 – Customize Form Style
To brand your forms, you can customize:
- Colors: Set background colors for the header and body.
- Logos: Add a logo to the form header to match your brand.
- Other styling: Choose custom text colors, add background images, and more.
Custom styling allows your forms to share branding across your organization.
Once your form is ready, you need to share it so it can start gathering submissions. There are several options to distribute forms:
- Share a direct link to the form
- Embed into webpages or dashboards
- Access forms offline using the mobile app
- Email forms directly from Smartsheet
Enable offline mobile access to allow field workers without internet connectivity to still submit information from anywhere via mobile devices.
Best Practices for Effective Forms
Follow these best practices when creating forms in Smartsheet:
Keep forms short and simple – Long, complex forms lead to drop-offs. Use concise, focused forms.
Structure for ease-of-use – Logical field groupings and clear labeling ensures forms are easy to complete accurately.
Validate data quality – Validation rules and conditional logic improves data accuracy.
Customize branding – Consistent branding improves familiarity and trust.
Simplify field mapping – Minimize formulas on intake sheets to accelerate form processing.
Test extensively before launch – Fix usability issues and verify automated sheet updates.
By following this comprehensive guide, you can leverage Smartsheet forms to streamline how your organization gathers information from both internal and external stakeholders.
Well-designed forms that are simple, easy to complete, and map data directly into Smartsheet can transform efficiency and data accuracy across your processes.
The time invested in customizing forms and sheet mappings pays dividends through reduced manual effort and improved data quality once forms are launched.
Start leveraging forms today to simplify core business processes like field inspections, customer feedback, lead capture processes and more to boost productivity across your organization!