Have you seen the new Microsoft Forms? One of the most popular articles on my blog in the last 12 months was related to its predecessor – Excel Surveys. Not only did that post get a lot of views, but it also got a lot of comments from people with questions about the features of Excel Surveys, or more importantly for some, the features it did not have. You can still use Excel Surveys, but Microsoft are in the process of transitioning to something better – Microsoft Forms. This version includes automatic grading and built-in student feedback. Here’s what you need to know.
You can find the homepage for Microsoft Forms by going to forms.office.com, or you may see Forms listed in the Office 365 App Launcher. Both links go to the same place. Technically, Forms is still in Preview but you can sign in with your Office 365 Education account today and start creating surveys and quizzes. The new Microsoft Forms work on desktop and mobile browsers.
Once you are logged in, click the New button to create your first form. Replace Untitled Form with a title of your choice, and add a description underneath if you want to provide any directions or information for students or parents who are filling out your Form.
Building a Form
Tapping the Add Question button gives you access to the question types that are available to you in this new version of Microsoft Forms. The options include:
- Choice: for creating multiple choice questions! Tap or click the slider to allow people to select multiple answers. You can also tap or click the ellipses button to shuffle answers.
- Quiz: a multiple choice question that you allows you to select a correct answer for automatic grading. Tapping the comment icon on each answer choice lets you add student feedback for each selection. Multiple answers and shuffled answers are also available to you when working on Quiz questions.
- Text: to collect short (or long) text answers use the Text question type. Tap or click the ellipses button to include number restrictions like greater than, less than, equal to, and more.
- Rating: for adding a star or number rating. Could be useful as part of an exit ticket or for voting on class favorites. Ratings can be out of 5 or 10, and tapping the ellipses button will allow you to add a label at either end of this Likert scale.
- Date: a question type that only allows for an answer in date format.
More Tips & Tricks:
- Any question type can be marked as a required question by sliding the Answer required switch to the right. This means students can’t submit the Form until they have answered all of these questions.
- You can rearrange questions by clicking on them and tapping the up and down arrows to move them to the order you need.
- Deleting questions is as simple as clicking the trash can while editing a question
- Create a duplicate of any question by tapping the copy icon to the left of the question order arrows. This is ideal for adding similar question types, (E.g. Q1. First name, Q2. Last name).
Preview and Themes
You can see a live view of your Form at any time by clicking the Preview button on the toolbar at the top of the page. This will show you the view that students or parents will get when they access your survey. Clicking Back in the top left-hand corner returns you to the question editor.
Use the Theme button to choose from a variety of colorful designs that you can use to add more personality to your Form. The current selection is a little limited but I expect this will be expanded before too much longer.
Sharing Microsoft Forms
When you are ready to share your survey or quiz with others, click the Send Form button in the top right-hand corner of your screen. This opens a sidebar on the right-hand side of your screen with a variety of sharing options. These options include:
- Copy and Paste the Link: This is the public facing URL for your Microsoft Form. This is the link you will want to share with students, parents or whoever else might be filling in your Form. It is a pretty long link, so if you are not using anchor text, I would suggest sharing with a URL shortener like tinyurl.com or bit.ly.
- Email the Link: Click this button to open a new email in your default Mail client (e.g. Outlook) with the link to your form pre-pasted into the compose window ready to send.
- Download & Send the QR Code: In an age of mobile devices I especially like the inclusion of this option. It generates a QR code that links to your Form. You can download the QR code as an image and print it or add it to a website or electronic document.
- Embed in a Webpage: If you want to put your Microsoft Form directly on to a school or classroom webpage, you can use this option to generate the HTML code you need to allow people to fill out the Form on your website. You can even add a Form to a Sway and it works great with an LMS too!
The remaining option, Who can fill out this form, is an important one. Make sure you get this right before you send the Form to other people. These options let you choose the visibility and privacy for your Form. If you leave the default option selected, only those with an Office 365 account at your school will be able to fill in your Form. Users will need to log in with those credentials to even see the Form. The advantage here is a modicum of privacy and accountability because it will automatically collect the names and email addresses of those filling in your Form unless you uncheck Record the names of responders.
The other choice is Anyone with the link (sign-in not required). This is ideal if you are sending a survey to parents or collecting data on a more public scale because you do not need an Office 365 Education account in order to access this kind of Form. Note that this option has no way of automatically collecting user identification so if that is important you will need to add questions in your Form for names and email addresses.
Finally, make sure you check out the additional options under See all settings. From here you can apply a deadline that shuts the Form down on a given day and time. You can shuffle questions so no two Forms look alike. You can choose to display the correct answers to students after the Form has been submitted, or to close the Form so it is no longer accepting responses. Regardless of whether you want to use these options or not, you will want to check these settings because some are on by default, and they may not be the ones you want.
All the data you receive from people filling out your Form is stored in the Responses tab. You can view all your results here, or click the Open in Excel button to view the results in the desktop version of Excel. In the Responses tab there is a summary of all the data collected as well as a visual breakdown for each question. Clicking the Details link next to each question will show you a more in-depth view of how each individual student answered the question.
Managing Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Forms are not stored in OneDrive like Excel Surveys are. They live on the Microsoft Forms website. Your Forms are sorted by date with the most recently created Forms at the top and older Forms further down the page. Right now there is no facility to group them into folders, but this would be a useful future addition.
On the Forms homepage, clicking the ellipses button on the thumbnail of a Form will let you copy or delete a Form. No response data is copied when you duplicate a Form, only the questions in the order that you built the original survey or quiz.