Building a form with doForms can take just minutes once you learn how.

This will provide a few basic starter tips, as well as, a few more advanced tips to help you build really nice looking and super functional forms.

How do I want it to look? Setting your forms appearance can have a dramatic impact on the look of your form. Form appearance settings are found in build forms under settings. Once you like how your forms look, you can make your setting your standard defaults so that all your forms will have the same appearance. You can always customize the appearance of any individual question.

Appearance Settings

Open versus special. Special allows you to make many changes to your form without having to republish it. Change colors, captions and make almost any other change with the exception of adding or deleting fields in your form. Any form saved as draft can be opened and changed at any time until published.

Providing your user with the ability to enter data. doForms has several input tools designed to make entering data easy and fast for the user. Since there are many way to solve the same problem, let’s look at how to enter an employee name.

Data List

The first option is simply a text box. The next is based on the choose one tool. One is configured as down and the other as simple dropdown. Let’s say you have a few hundred people in an Excel spread sheet or CSV file. You can upload your file into doForms and use the data lookup tool. Typing into the data lookup will start to filter the list making finding your name quick and easy.

Down or Across? With doForms it’s easy to build forms that work on any size screen from a small phone to a large desktop monitor. doForms are highly responsive and will stretch, shrink and rotate as needed. With that said, a form that looks perfect on a large device might not work as well on a really small device and a form designed for a really small device might not look as good on a really large screen. First let’s determine our options.

Basic Layout Pattern Placing tools one by one into the form causes them to appear stacked like the picture on the right. Layout Grids allow you to place tools side by side. You simply select the number of columns and start adding tools into the grid. The goal is to build your form in such a way that your user is not constantly having to pan from right to left to view all the questions. Fitting your questions on the screen is optimal in most cases. With tables that may not be the case as tables tend to require a lot of columns. Trying to force a table into a small space may make it unusable so not using fit to screen with a table in some cases works much better. Besides tables and grids other tools can be configured to take up more horizontal space on the screen. Questionnaires put questions, answers and comment all on the same row and radio button and check boxes can be listed down or across.

In version 4.0 a feature was added to assist form builders that needed to support both large screens and small screens at the same time. Grids, radio buttons and checkboxes have a parameter that allows you to take advantage of wider screens but if the screen is smaller than a predefined size the form will convert across to down and will stack all questions in a grid one by one in the order in which they were placed into the grid. This allows you to build a form that will look great on large screens and in PDFs but will still function well on small devices.

Adding data for lookups. doForms offers several ways to get critical data into a form that is needed by users when filling out a form. Let’s use the company’s price sheet as an example. It contains the product category, name and price.

Upload – in the build forms section you can simply upload the data using the lookup data manager found next to the settings tab.

Use a form – Any form in doForms can be used as a data source into another form. To use doForms to manage your price book on an ongoing basis do the following:

  1. Build a form. Use a text box for category and Name and a numeric field for price configured as a decimal with a currency symbol.
  2. Create a project called Data. It is a good practice to keep all your data source forms in one place.
  3. Publish your form and put it in the Data project.
  4. Open your form in View Data.
  5. You can now enter data manually record by record or you can import your existing price book. Each row in your Excel spreadsheet or CSV file will become a doForm record. From this point on you can add, edit and or delete records as your prices change and you add or delete products. Using this method, if you make any changes to your data in the View Data section, your changes will automatically by updated on all of your mobile devices.
  6. In Build Forms click on Lookup data and add a lookup data source. You will be prompted to pick upload or use form. Pick use form and point to the form you just created and populated. Click on the update automatically checkbox and you are all set. Just add a data lookup tool and set its data source to the form you just added.

Integration - doForms data sources can be programmatically uploaded using web services or you can configure our integration tool to look in a directory or data base periodically to check for a new file and upload that file. doForms does not support delta changes so the entire file will be replaced when new data is available.

Only display this question if. Making a form easy to use means making your form intelligent. Something a piece of paper surely can’t do. Relevance allows you to hide questions until they are relevant. If a choose one question asks if there was damage to an item, you might only want to ask for the user to take a picture if the answer was equal to yes. This means that you can build complex forms with lots of questions but present a very short form to your user that expands as they answer certain questions hiding what could be confusing questions that are not related to the function they are performing.

Record names. This is quickly becoming one of the most important requirements when building a form. Record names are used throughout doForms to uniquely identify a submitted form. Record names allow you to pick several fields from your form that have meaning once the form is filled out and submitted or dispatched. With a record name your jobs list on your mobile device will show the users information for each job they received versus you have 5 work order forms. When viewing data it is faster to lookup data by record name. When you save a PDF it uses the record name and you can even use record name in the subject line of an email when you send a PDF to someone. It is highly recommended that you use this option. You can set the record name at the time you publish your form or by going into Settings in the Build forms section.

Customize your menu. Click on the Manage tab and pick account settings. From here select customize mobile interface and you will be presented with a suite of options that will allow you to set colors, backgrounds, security and determine what your user will see or won’t see. The form icons are set in the build forms section for each form you create. You can pick an icon form the list or upload a custom icon. Pin based security is based on the pin you assigned to your mobile user when they were setup in the system.

Mobile Screen Capture     Mobile Screen Capture

Web Client. While doForms supports Android and IOS, which has the lions share of the mobile market today, many mobile users still use laptops and hotspots and several new Windows based tablets and convertibles have hit the market creating some demand for support of these devices. doForms now offers a web based client that functions just like the mobile client, requires a mobile license and has most of the functionality the mobile client has. This client requires an internet connection to use. Two benefits to using this client are that you can easily print a form and you can access very large datasets without having to pre-distribute the data.
Form links. While buying a doForms mobile license is still the most economical way to go, not everyone in your world will have a license or need one for that matter. Customers, third parties you have no control over or anyone with a browser can now be sent a doForms or access a doForms from your own website. Simply build your form and ask doForms for the link or code and your all set. Send the link to your customer in an email, embed it in a marketing campaign, put an employee application in a job search add, send out a registration form for an event or email your customers a satisfaction survey. It easy and affordable. Unlike other survey type tools with doForms you don’t pay a fee per form to send out a million forms. You only pay if someone submits a form. This makes doForms success based and opens up a world of opportunities. Remember all of the forms submitted can be integrated with your systems, used as data sources into other forms and with a few exceptions have all of the features of our mobile forms.

Your customers can even print the form before they submit it or you can auto email them a copy of the form: https://mydoforms.appspot.com/webclient?SID=FANCY&id=ag9zfm15ZG9mb3Jtcy1ocmRyGAsSC1Byb2plY3RGb3JtGICAoMv606ULDA

PDF versus Excel Template. While 4.0 has drastically improved how PDFs are automatically created simply by building a form, some customers may require the ability to convert their form back into an existing document before it is distributed. With doForms you can download all of your data elements and caption to Excel by simply selecting create report template under the File tab in Build forms. Once your data is in Excel you will notice that your data names are wrapped in brackets {data_name}. When your form is submitted, doForms will replace these fields with the data placed into that field in the form. In Excel all you need to do is move everything around until your template looks like the document you are trying to recreate. Once this is accomplished you save the spreadsheet as a template type. In the Build forms section click on report templates to add your template into the system and then configure your report setting to use the template versus the standard PDF. You can select to generate a PDF from this template or you can leave the spreadsheet as a spreadsheet. Either option can be automatically emailed from the email tool in your form. It is possible to combine multiple forms into a single Excel template as long as all forms have a common key field. This allows you to breakup very large forms into smaller forms yet still consolidate all of the data collected in to a single spreadsheet.

The instructions on how to combine forms is below.

{"project"="Project_Name","form"="Form_Name","common-field"="Data_Name","field"="Data_Name"}

Where:
- Project_Name is the name of the project that contains the data; - Form_Name is the name of the form that contains the data; - Data_Name is as previously described; - Common-field is the Data_Name value of the common field.

So for example, assume that I have two forms in a project named "Insurance" for which I want to aggregate the data from two different forms. The first form is named "Car", which contains data about a customer’s car. The second form is named "House", which contains data about a customer’s house. Both forms contain the common-field called "Customer_ID", which is a unique numeric number to identify each customer. If we wish to create {…} tags in the aggregate report to display the customer’s {car_make} and {house_construction} we would use:

{"project"="Insurance","form"="Car","common- field"="Customer_ID","field"="car_make"} {"project"="Insurance","form"="House","common-field"="Customer_ID","field"="house_construction"}

Note that you only need to use the long format of the {…} tag above if data is being read from a form that is different from the form that the report is being generated for. So for example, if we were generating reports for the House form, we could simply use the tag {house_construction}. But if we want to include data from the Car form in the report for the House form, then we would need to use the long format of the {…} tag. Similarly, if you wanted to use the same Excel Report Template for generating the same report for both the Car form and the House form, then you would need to use the long form of the {…} tags.

Common-Field Restrictions:
* All values inside the {…} tag are case-sensitive and cannot contain any special characters, including \ / : * ? " > < | = { }. * Common-fields are restricted to text, numeric-integer, lookup and barcode question types. * Common-fields must be unique. So, in the example above, no two customers can have the same "Customer_ID". * No single form can contain more than one data record that has the same value of the common-field. So, in the example above, the Car form and the House form can NOT contain more than one record each with the same value for the "Customer_ID" field. * If any of the restrictions above are violated, an error will occur in the report that is generated.