Are you looking to streamline your workflow and gather information from others more efficiently? Using forms in Coda.io can help you do just that! In this blog post, we'll walk you through how to get started using forms in Coda.
Why use Coda.io to make forms?
The answer is simple: the flexibility and control you have with the data that gets submitted. Most dedicated form providers require that you export, download, or transfer the information to actually use it. But if your information is in Coda, you can use it intentionally RIGHT IN CODA. For example:
- Need a sign up form to gather names and emails? → Make a form, get the info, and send the newsletter using a pack right from your Coda doc.
- Want to collect customer reviews? → Make a form, get the info, and analyze the rating or testimonial with tools right in Coda (including AI!).
- Have to get customers to submit bug reports? → Make a form, get the info, and get notified of their needs right from your doc.
Seeing a pattern? Simplicity.
Forms in Coda are also easy to create because they’re just a view of a table. You can start by creating either the table or the form and after a few clicks to show or hide columns and publish the form, you’re on your way to collecting data.
Downsides of Coda forms
There are a few cons to using Coda forms.
- If you need some major conditional logic when creating forms, Coda is going to struggle. Small tweaks are certainly possible with a bit of formula wizardry, but big conditional logic requirements are going to be better in a different, stand-alone form tool.
- There’s less UI/UX control with Coda than dedicated form makers. Here again, however, formula knowledge can come in handy if you want to change some colors, but if you want something to really blend in or match with your branding, it’s going to be tricky getting it there.
- Finally, there’s no option to redirect to a different link after the user submits their response.
For the typical user, these downsides aren’t going to outweigh the benefits of using Coda for forms, but if you’re a power form user and want help making Coda’s forms work for you, please contact me!
Build a Coda form with me!
Ok, let’s build a Coda form. First, make sure you’re signed up for Coda. If you don't have an account yet, click here to get one.
There are two ways to create a form in Coda: from an existing table or as a brand new table.
Starting from an existing table
Let’s say you have a list of team members already built showing varying days of availability for a team meeting. In just a few clicks, you can turn this into a form to collect info directly in Coda.
Hover on the table, click Options, click ..., then choose Form.
Presto change-o, you’ve got a form! The current and any new responses will live in the table view with which you started.
Building it as a new table
Everything in Coda starts with a / (forward slash). In your doc, simply type /table , and follow the steps above. Or you can type /form, and edit the fields in the form view. In the latter case, creating the form view directly also creates the connected table in which the results will populate. As you edit the column names and types, the form view will automatically update, and vice versa.
How to publish a Coda form?
There are two main ways to use Coda forms. If your users all have Coda accounts, you can create a view of the form in the doc and allow them to fill out the options from there. But the most common way you’ll probably use a Coda form is to publish it so someone who doesn’t have an account can respond.
Hover on your form, click Publish form, and then choose Create link. From here, you can Preview form to check it over, Copy link to send it, and even add some Privacy options. Allow submissions is toggled on by default. It MUST be on to collect data from users. The other options here are more advanced - stay tuned on how to use them!
Now with your published form link you can share it to an email list, embed it on your website or even in a different Coda doc! Basically, share it however you would normally share a link to a form!
Editing form layout and options
Right now, your form is certainly usable, but it probably looks a bit ugly, right? Let’s fix that. Hover on the form view and click Edit layout. There are many options for customizing your Coda form from here. The first is that you will want to add a title (otherwise it will display to the user as “Untitled Form”). Everything after that is purely optional but can really enhance the UX/UI of your form:
- Add a title
- Add a cover image by uploading a branded image, or something from Unsplash
- Add a form description
- Show/Hide columns for the form view (they can still be visible in your table view)
- Choose questions that are required (indicated by a red *)
- Add a question prompt (without changing the column name)
- Add question instructions
- Edit the layout by hovering over the question, click + hold, and drag it to where you’d like it to be, including into columns
- Change question style (select lists, for example, can be radio buttons / checkboxes or drop downs)
- Edit the form submission message
- Show/Hide Coda branding
Notice in my example below, I’ve changed quite a few things from the above list to make this form a bit more user-friendly.
Video tutorial step by step
If you’d like to see how this all comes together step-by-step, check out my YouTube video, Coda Forms 101!
Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics of making a form in Coda, you may be interested to go a bit more in-depth. If you have questions, we’d love to hear from you - reach out to us by clicking here or check some of our other resources below.
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