Creating Visual Reports with Formstack & Google Drive

Written by Lance Padgett on October 16, 2012

Posted in Form Hacks

Did it ever occur to you that you could use the power of an online form to help streamline your marketing reports? Well, let me show you an easy method for using Formstack & Google Drive to create quick, custom marketing reports that are sure to impress your boss.

Formstack has an integration with Google Drive that allows you to pass submitted form data into a spreadsheet in your Google account.

Step One
The first, and obvious step you need to take is figuring out the numbers you want to collect in your report and building your Formstack form to collect those values. This will of course be tailored to your business, but we’ve built a general template for you in this post.

View the Form Here

visual report form

Step Two
The next step is building a Google spreadsheet that corresponds to the form you just built. Keep in mind that when building your spreadsheet, the top row must contain your field values, as the submitted info will populate in the rows below. Here, we have places our form fields in the top row on the spreadsheet. In the next step, we will set up the Google integration to map the fields on our form to the columns in our spreadsheet.

visual report spreadsheet


Step Three
Third, you must set up our Google spreadsheet integration on your form. While doing this, set up each field so that it corresponds and populates the appropriate row in your spreadsheet.

spreadsheet integration

After you have the integration set up, you can enter a few trial submissions to make sure the data is getting passed through and the proper rows are populating.

Once you start collecting data for real, you can highlight data in your Google spreadsheet and quickly create customizable charts and graphs inside your spreadsheet. Quickly save these charts to insert into your marketing report. Google gives you lots of customizable options for charts and graphs, so play around with the advanced options to change colors, titles, fonts, etc.

insert chart

Step Four
If you have a design program like Adobe InDesign, we recommend using that. If not, even Microsoft Word can can be your vehicle to nicer reports. With the images from your report, you can start to build a more visual report that is sure to impress your team. It doesn’t take fancy software to create great looking reports. See our finished marketing report created in Microsoft Word!

marketing report

This process comes in handy when you are collecting report data from multiple departments or multiple individuals. Let’s say you have four departments that you need important data from every month in order to complete your report. You can build 4 forms (one for each department) that all filter back into one Google spreadsheet. This way all you have to do is pass the form URLs to these departments. You don’t have to worry about someone messing up your spreadsheet or placing their data on another department’s tab area. This makes sure your data is consolidated in one location. From there you can start creating your charts & graphs for your report.