GFormIt help page & FAQ (updated May 2016)

What is GFormIt?

Auto-generate Google Forms from Google Docs

GFormIt is a Google Docs add-on. It lets users create Google Forms based on the content of Google Docs. Originally written for teachers to create assessments with, it can be used by anyone who wishes to auto-generate Forms without having to edit them directly with the Google Forms editor. GFormIt creates both the Form and the Google Sheet which hold the responses. If non-blank answers are provided for each question, GFormIt will also submit all of those answers as the first response, priming the Sheet to be processed by Flubaroo, another teacher tool (see demo video). GFormIt is written in Google Apps Script, JavaScript which runs on Google servers in the cloud providing access to Google Apps data.

Installing

You can install GFormIt by going to any Google Doc then selecting "Manage add-ons" in the Tools menu. A quick search through add-ons should lead you to it, and then the installation process occurs. You can also jump straight to the GFormIt product page in the Chrome Web Store. Once you’ve installed it, you should see the “Generate Form” menu pulldown for that Doc where you requested the installation (see Figure 4 below).

If you’re installing it into a Google Apps domain, it will only be enabled for the Google Doc where you initiated the installation. For your other Docs, you’ll see a menu item asking you to “Enable GFormIt”, as shown here in Figure 1:

Figure 1. Enable GFormIt for other Google Docs

Using GFormIt

Basic questions & answers

After installing the GFormIt add-on for Google Docs, open a Google Doc where you'll start by writing one question on a single line -- it's okay if the line wraps. Press RETURN/ENTER to move down to the next line where you'll optionally enter the answer. In any case, make sure you enter one blank line before more question-and-(possible) answer pairs. It may look something like what you see below in Figure 2:

Your name[ENTER]

[ENTER]

How many colors are in Google’s logo (number please)?[ENTER]

4[ENTER]

[ENTER]

What global problem(s) do you want to see Google (or Alphabet) tackle?[ENTER]

[ENTER] (no answer, 1-line text field) or [SPACE][ENTER] (no answer, multiline text field)

Google headquarters is located in which California city?[ENTER]

Mountain View[ENTER]

[ENTER]

Figure 2. GFormIt single-line text field Qs & As

We put an "[ENTER]" where you would press RETURN/ENTER to show how many line breaks there are and their location to be more precise. Your Doc should be formatted in a similar way. Notice that in the example above, the second question does *not* have an answer. (Neither does the student's name.) Answers are always optional -- they're the most useful when grading using another tool like Flubaroo, a Google Sheets add-on.

Single-line text field vs. Multi-line/paragraph text field (new in Jun 2016)

Whether you provide an answer or not, GFormIt assumes you want a single-line text field in the Form. If you wish to have a paragraph/multi-line text field instead, place a single space as the “answer,” as in the 2nd case of the 2nd example above in Figure 1.

Multiple choice (new in Jun 2016)

User feedback is important, and you have spoken: you want multiple choice. GFormIt supports both single and multiple answers. The format for answer(s) is to prefix it(them) with an asterisk, such as in the Q&A below in Figure 3. The first question has a single answer while the other has multiple answers.

Google has approximately how many employees globally? [ENTER]

20,000 [ENTER]

45,000 [ENTER]

*60,000 [ENTER]

85,000 [ENTER]

[ENTER]

Google has offices in which of these largest cities in the USA? [ENTER]

*New York [ENTER]

*Los Angeles [ENTER]

*Chicago [ENTER]

Houston [ENTER]

Philadelphia [ENTER]

[ENTER]

Figure 3. GFormIt multiple choice (single & multiple answers) Qs & As

Title required

Finally, be sure to give your document a title, as this will be the filename for the Google Doc as well as the Google Form (representing the assessment) and Google Sheet (to hold responses from submitting the Form) that are automatically created for you by GFormIt.

Auto-generating your Google Form

Once you've confirmed the format of your Google Doc and have given it a name, go to the "add-ons" menu, choose GFormIt, and select "Generate Form", as in Figure 4 below:

Figure 4. GFormIt for Docs menu

You'll get a “running” message that shows GFormIt hard at work creating your Form and Sheet. When it's done, you'll get a dialog box (see Figure 5 below) pointing to the Form and Sheet that were created and multiple links to accessing those resources.

Figure 5. GFormIt completion dialog

You can then create other assessments in different Google Docs. Running GFormIt will create different Forms and Sheets for each. Look for the auto-generated files to appear in your Google Drive folder.

In addition, GFormIt also takes the answers you provided, and "submits" them to the Form programmatically, as if you or someone else took the assessment in order to provide an "answer key." You can then distribute this assessment to your students to take, and when you're done, you can choose to use another tool, Flubaroo, an add-on for Google Sheets, to grade the assessment... you would only need to point Flubaroo at your answer key.

To learn more about GFormIt or Flubaroo, visit EdCode.org. Any feedback or ideas? Please forward to wesc at edcode.org.

FAQ (frequently asked questions)

Q: I only see "Help" in the "GFormIt for Docs" menu... what gives? (Nov 2014)

Figure 6. Unauthorized GFormIt for Docs menu

A: This is should be fixed in the next release (Jun 2016). Thanks for letting us know! The root cause is that the authorization lifecycle wasn't fully-implemented. For those of you writing similar tools with your users facing the same problem, take a look at this section in the developer documentation: developers.google.com/apps-script/add-ons/lifecycle#opening

Q: Does GFormIt support multiple choice? (Oct 2014)

A: This is a highly-requested feature will be available in the next release (Jun 2016). As stated above in the Help section, both single and multiple answers are supported.

Q: How do we deal with student's names, IDs, or email addresses? (Oct 2014)

A: You can add students' identification as a (commonly first) question without an answer.

Q: Can I manually number the questions, say if I have a multi-part exam, perhaps I want the questions to start at #10?  (Oct 2014)

A: Google Forms itself does not number questions, so if you want numbering, you'll have to add them as part of the question.

Q: Can I create a "question bank" of M questions-and-answers from which I can choose N questions (and answers) for an exam where the questions themselves are randomly distributed in the quiz?  (Oct 2014)

A: What a great idea, but as you can imagine, this is a major feature that will require some effort. Patches considered (go toedcode.org to start)! Find the issue tracker and add it if it's not there, or "star" it if it is (the equivalent of a "Like" or "+1").

About GFormIt and Flubaroo

GFormIt is a tool whose purpose is to simplify and automate the creation of Google Forms based on the content of Google Docs. Using Forms itself isn't difficult. However, if it's something you do fairly often, a bit of automation can't hurt. Because Google Docs is fairly flexible in the formats it accepts, users can create polls, quizzes/exams, or assignments in most document formats in addition to Docs natively: plain text, Microsoft Word, RTF, and others.

Flubaroo is a well-known tool known for helping teachers grade assessments (exams, quizzes, assignments, etc.) built using Forms and submitted by students into a Google Sheet that accepts responses for that Form. It not only performs the grading process, but also creates reports based on the outcome, sends students and/or parents their individual results, and even shows the teacher the questions which may be problematic (i.e., questions in which <60% of the students answer correctly). In short, it's a wonderful teacher tool. However, there hasn't been a tool to simplify the creation of assessments... until now.

Enter GFormIt, another tool for teachers (and other working professionals) that give them a new option for how assessments are created, and in addition, automating this process so users don't have to spend extra time editing Forms. Create questions-only double-spaced or question-and-answer pairs on adjacent lines delimited by blank lines in a Google Doc. Then create a Form based on these questions (and optional answers) by selecting "Generate Form" from the menu.

If users provide answers along with the questions in the originating Google Doc, GFormIt will submit those answers as the first Form response (row), setting up the response Google Sheet to be processed by Flubaroo, which requires users to select one row as the "answer key" for the assessment.

Both tools were created by developers who also happen to be teachers after-hours, and find building this tools fun and fulfilling, bringing some much needed support for teachers and their classrooms.