How to Collect and Store Uploaded Files with Formstack

Written by Amy Jorgenson on January 9, 2014

Posted in Form Hacks

By adding a File Upload field to your Formstack form, you can easily collect and store files with any of the following file extensions: jpg, jpeg, gif, png, bmp, tif, psd, pdf, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, txt, mp3, mp4, aac, wav, au, wmv, avi, mpg, mpeg, zip, gz, rar, z, tgz, tar, sitx. That’s a lot of extensions!

Note, in general, there is a maximum of 25 MB of data that can be uploaded per form. The server can typically handle uploading between 10-20 MB of data without any problems. This limit is not something that can be increased, as we use browser-based file uploads that will time out with larger files. Also, the maximum number of File Upload fields allowed on a single form is 20.

When files are uploaded to a form, they can be stored in the form database. All of our paid Formstack plans offer file storage. Of course, the amount varies based on the plan level. This allowed storage amount is not the same as your number of submissions. Likewise, deleting submissions may or may not actually decrease your allotted storage – it depends on the file sizes associated with the submissions.

By allowed storage, we mean all uploaded files stored in the Formstack database. For example, if you have a File Upload field on your form and end-users upload files with their form submission, that data counts towards your allowed storage limit. You can view your available/used storage space on the Dashboard in your Formstack account. You will find a box similar to what is shown below in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 1.57.53 PM

One of the big questions we get in Support is, “What do I do if I have met my storage limit?” First, if you are nearing the submission limit, you will receive a warning email from us indicating so. Once you have met your storage limit, all file upload fields will be deactivated on your forms. You will not be able to receive any file uploads at that point. But don’t worry, you have a few options!

1. Upgrade your Formstack plan
The easiest solution is to upgrade your plan. Since we have no contracts, you are free to upgrade and downgrade your plan as needed. You can do this under the My Account > Billing > Form Plans tab. Simply click the “upgrade” button under the plan level you’d like to upgrade to and the additional storage space will be available immediately.

Also, if you are already on our Max plan, you can add 5GB chunks of additional storage at $19.00 a month each if you are not yet ready to upgrade to the Enterprise plan.

2. Integrate Box/Dropbox
It is also very easy to integrate Box/Dropbox with your form. You can bypass our storage limit when you integrate Box or Dropbox because the files are stored in that app, not Formstack, with an access link still available in each submission. Both of these applications are free at the basic level (unless you need a larger plan) and files are automatically uploaded to your Box/Dropbox account upon submission of the form. Conveniently, these applications let you bring your uploaded photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Either of these applications can be added from inside the Settings > Integration Hub > Documents tab. You can read more about the those applications in our support docs linked above.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 1.58.48 PM

3. Delete uploaded files
This process can be time consuming. Currently, there is not a way for us to tell which form in your account is collecting the most data. So, if you have multiple forms with File Upload fields, you’ll want to start searching for the largest uploads. Also, unfortunately, you cannot mass delete uploaded files. You will have to go into each submission record and delete the file. That being said, the first two options above are your best bets.

Still have questions? Don’t be afraid to email us at