Adding Notifications to Google Forms

January 26, 2015 by Staff Writer
Adding Notifications to Google Forms
In a recent article, "Using Google Forms as an Email Form Solution for Your Website", we looked at how Google Apps' Google Forms solution can be used to create an email form for your website.

As we learned, it is possible to quickly and easily create a form and add it to your website using an iFrame which the system generates. We also learned that data submitted by users in their emails is conveniently added to an Excel-style form which puts everything in related columns and is just perfect if you need to isolate specific data (location, interests, etc.) for a mailshot or other purposes.

Although this is a great free of charge solution, we also learned that there are a few limitations to the system. Your visitors can't, for example, add attachments to email forms created using Google Forms. But by far the biggest downside is that you do not receive a notification when an email is sent, rather, you have to regularly look at the data in the 'Responses' sheet to see if anyone has sent you an email or not. Fortunately, there is a workaround for this that makes Google Forms an even better alternative for email forms.

Go to the form you created in Google Forms and open it. From the 'Add-ons' menu, click on 'Get add-ons'.

You will see this:

Click on 'Form Notifications' and click on the 'FREE' button:

You then see this interface requesting permission to take data from various sources within Google Apps. You need to click on 'Accept':

Once the Add-on is installed, click on 'Form Notifications' and 'Configure notifications':

You will see two tick boxes: 'Notify me' and 'Notify respondents'. Click on 'Notify me' and you will see this:

Add all the email addresses that you want the add-on to send a notification to when an email has been received. Separate each with commas. If you want the person who is sending an email to receive a notification, click on 'Notify respondents'.

Choose the field that requires your visitor to add an email address, and the system will automatically send a notification to any email put in that field. You can also add your own notification message. By default the system sends a notification out after every 10 responses (or emails). Change that to "1":

The system is now set to send you, the user, and any third-party you designate an notification when an email has been sent. However there are limitations. Here is an email I sent myself:

Unfortunately, none of that information is provided in the notification email. This is what you get:

Obviously, it would be better if the content of an email is in the notification, but it isn't - you have to go into the 'Responses' sheet connected with the form to see the message. Obviously not ideal, but neither is a mass of coding or paying a monthly subscription for email forms!

We think this is a solid solution that gets round lots of issues like spam. It is pretty robust, but it also has its limitations. However, for the price you are paying we think this is a pretty good value solution. As with everything Google, expect more functionalities added as the solution matures.

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