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How To Create a Fillable Form in Google Docs (Easy Guide)

Making your forms digital offers numerous benefits, including cost savings on printing materials and simplifying the survey process and file management. Using platforms with live sharing features, such as Google Docs, is essential for creating easily shareable, fillable forms.

To get started, simply insert a table into your document and add your form fields in the table cells. Include a blank cell for each field where respondents can provide their answers. Finally, share your document via email, a link, or a PDF.

Join us as we discuss how to create a fillable form in Google Docs in this article.

How To Create a Fillable Form in Google Docs

There are multiple approaches you can take when creating your Google Docs fillable forms. For example, you can type the categories of information you want to know about (e.g., name and contact), then add underscores after them to create blank lines.

How to create a fillable form in Google Docs—sample form with blank fields

 

But this can be inefficient and easily messed up since you manually lay out the blanks and questions individually. That’s why we suggest a better way you can create your fillable forms in Google Docs: By using a table.

To get started, simply follow the steps outlined below:

Step 1: Set Up Your Google Doc

  1. Open your browser, then head over to docs.google.com.
  2. Click on the “Blank” option, represented by a colorful plus sign under the “Start a new document” section.
How to start a new document in Google Docs

 

  1. If you have an existing document, you can choose to open that instead.

Step 2: Insert a Table

  1. On your Google Doc, click on “Insert” in the menu bar.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select “Table.”
  3. Configure your preferred table size. (In this demonstration, we’ll begin with a 4 x 2 table.)
How to insert a 4 x 2 table in Google Docs

 

  1. Type the fields of your form in separate cells.
  2. Make sure that you leave a blank cell beside (or under) your placeholder, as illustrated below.
Table with form placeholders in Google Docs

 

  1. To add another row, hover your mouse over the left side of the table and click the plus (+) button.
Where to find the plus (+) button to add a new table row in Google Docs

 

  1. If the plus button doesn’t appear, right-click on the last row of your table and choose “Insert row below” from the context menu.
Where to find the "insert row below" option in Google Docs

 

  1. Repeat steps one to six as many times as necessary.

Step 3: Adjust the Formatting of Your Table

Ensuring that your respondents can understand your form clearly is a must, as it helps keep their answers accurate. Here are some options you can use to customize the appearance of your table:

  1. Highlight the placeholders in your table and click on the “B” option in the toolbar.
  2. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + B for Windows (or Command + B for Mac).
Making form categories in bold letters in Google Docs

 

  1. Select the cells containing your placeholders.
  2. Click on the vertical three-dot icon in the toolbar, then adjust your table formatting options as necessary.
  3. If you need to make more extensive edits to your table, you can open “Table options.”
Table formatting options in Google Docs

How To Share or Print Your Google Doc

Your Google Docs form should now be all set. Normally, you would go ahead and print hard copies of your document to distribute to your respondents. But since you want to make it directly fillable, you can share it online instead.

When sharing your form, you want to retain the formatting of the original version. This way, you can reuse it and send it to other respondents. Here’s how to make a Google Doc fillable but not editable using the file-sharing options of the platform.

Option 1: Sharing Using a Force-Copy Link

If you’re distributing the form to a large audience, this method is your best choice. Here, you can generate a link that leads your respondents to make a copy of your document. This way, you can preserve your original document while allowing others to edit their own version.

  1. Click the “Share” button in the upper-right corner of your screen.
Where to find the Share button in Google Docs

 

  1. Select “Anyone with the link” from the provided menu under the “General access” section.
Adjusting access to "Anyone with the link" in a Google Doc

 

  1. Choose “Viewer” from the drop-down menu on the right.
Where to find the Viewer role in Google Docs

 

  1. Click the “Copy link” button.
Where to find the copy link button in Google Docs sharing panel

 

  1. Paste the link anywhere you can edit the text, then replace “edit?usp=sharing” with “copy,” as demonstrated below.
Modifying the Google Docs link for forced copying

 

  1. Send the modified link to your intended recipients. These recipients will be your fillable form respondents.

Option 2: Sharing via Email

Sharing the document via email can be a great option if you want to make your form more exclusive. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the “Share” button.
  2. Enter the email address(es) of your recipient(s) in the “Add people and groups” field.
How to share a Google Doc by email

 

  1. Ensure that the access permission is set to “Viewer” in the drop-down menu provided.
  2. Hit the “Send” button to finish.
How to set access to Viewer in Google Docs

 

Once they have opened the shared document, instruct your recipient to click on “File” and then select “Make a copy.” This way, they can generate and edit their own version according to their needs.

Where to find the "Make a copy" option in Google Docs

 

Your recipient can also go to “File,” select “Download,” and then choose “Microsoft Word (.docx)” to get an offline editable copy.

How to download a Google Doc as a word file

Option 3: Saving Your Doc as a PDF

Another way to preserve your original form while sharing it with others is to save it as a PDF. There are plenty of PDF editing tools available on the web that your respondents can freely access. This allows them to fill out the form with ease. To save your document as a PDF, simply follow the steps below:

  1. While in your document, choose “File” > “Download” > “Portable Document Format (.pdf).
How to download a Google Doc as a PDF

 

2. Alternatively, you can opt to print your document manually:

  • Click on “File” > “Print.”
Where to find the "Print" option in Google Docs
  • You can also click on the printer icon in the toolbar for the first step.
Where to find the printer icon in the Google Docs toolbar

 

  • Set your printer to “Save as PDF.”
  • Click the “Save” button.
Printing interface in Windows

 

  • Give your PDF a name and select your preferred file destination.
  • Hit the “Save” button to finish.
File-saving interface in Windows

Note: The interface may vary depending on the brand and model of your computer.

RelatedHow To Save a Document in Google Docs: A Quick Guide

Can You Fill Out a Google Docs File Using the Responses to a Google Form?

Yes, it is possible to create a fillable form in Google Docs using form responses. However, it’s important to mention that this process can be complicated and time-consuming.

If you’re not working with large data sets, it may be more efficient to skip this step. However, if you have a significant amount of data to manage, this approach can be incredibly helpful in automating a substantial portion of your work.

Here’s a general concept of how to make a fillable form in Google Docs using form responses:

Final Thoughts

Online fillable forms offer the convenience of streamlined surveys while reducing costs associated with printing resources. In case you need to make one in the future, be sure to keep this guide on how to create a fillable form in Google Docs in your bookmark list.

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