Google Forms – Types of questions

Google Forms contain lots of different types of questions which should match most of your needs.

1) On the form edit page, click on “Multiple choice”.

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2) You will be presented with all the options. Click on the one that best suits.

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Here is a summary of what the questions look like in both the form edit and on the final form. Plus, some tips as to when to use them.

Short answer

When you want the form-filler to write a short answer. They can write a longer answer, but the box is small so they can only see a few words.

E.g. Typing their name; A short opinion

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When you want the form-filler to write a longer answer. The box is bigger than a Short Answer so they can see what they’ve written.

E.g. Leaving comments; A longer opinion; Offering suggestions

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Multiple choice

When you want to give them limited options. These are easier to analyse afterwards as these standardize the answer format, i.e. no room for interpretation or misspelling. However, in tests these are usually easier than answers which require the form-filler to write in an answer.

You can open up the options by offering the “Other” option, where the form filler writes in an alternative response. This can be usual in questionnaires, where you don’t always know all the possible responses that the form-fillers will come up with.

E.g. Tests; Questionnaires (feedback & opinions)

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Similar to multiple-choice questions but here form-fillers can select more than one option.

E.g. Questionnaires; Tests where there is more than one right answer

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Basically the same as multiple-choice questions, except that the form-filler doesn’t see the options until they click on the drop-down menu.

This is useful if the question has a lot of options, so you save space on your form, or where you have a lot of questions and what to save space on the page, to make the form look smaller and therefore, look quicker to fill out.

E.g. Tests, Questionnaires

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Linear scale

When you want to collect someone’s opinion numerically on a scale. You can change the scale, but it must start with either a 0 or a 1, and can go up to 10.

The scale runs from the lowest on the left and the highest on the right. You can give the extremes a label, e.g. Poor / Excellent. Despite this, we’ve had times where people have misread this and assumed the left-hand side was the best, so resulting in a 1 rather than a 5.

As this records a number, it can make analysing a bit easier than with text comments.

E.g. Opinions in questionnaires

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Multiple-choice grid

The rows are the different questions or areas, and the columns are usually the opinions, but you could set it up for other uses too. It’s like having lots of multiple-choice questions joined together.

You can also make the form-filler add a response for each row, by clicking on the “Require one response per row” slider button.

E.g. Questionnaires – rating various criteria on a topic

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When you want to record a date, this option is usual as it controls the format of the date, e.g. DD/MM/YYYY (the most common format). The date format will depend on where you live, e.g. in the US it will be MM/DD/YYYY, and will depend on your Google account settings. The form-filler will be able to either type in the date or select one from the calendar by clicking on the inverted triangle.

E.g. Recording someone’s date of birth, recording start and finish dates

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Similar to the date, this is usual when you want to control the format of a time question. It’s in digital format, i.e. XX:XX, but the form-filler can enter the time using the 12h or 24h clock.

E.g. Referring to a specific timetable

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My final tip is not to include lots of different types of questions in your form. It confuses the form-filler and makes the form harder work to fill out than it needs to be.

The general rule for forms is that they need to collect the information you need in the quickest time possible, as no-one likes filling in forms! That said, you also need to think about what you’re going to do with the data that it produces and how it’s going to be analysed, as this could influence your form design.

eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Flipboard / Twitter / Google+)


5 thoughts on “Google Forms – Types of questions

  1. I just posted a google doc and had a really hard time making the “responses” private. After each person would submit their information all of their private information was posted for all to see(Very stressful). Each time I went into edit my form it would go back to displaying their private information on a public website! I would also like the “request edit” off the google form and I can’t figure out how to change it. Peoples responses should be hidden on default not the other way around….I am confused as to why that option is not very easy to change??

    • Hi-if I understand your situation right, I think there’s two problems here:
      1) Once someone submits a form they have access to the responses. This is controlled in the Form edit, under Settings. Uncheck the box next to “See summary of responses”. This is normally unchecked by default, unless you’re using a template.

      2) To remove the edit possibility when sharing a form, you need to go into the Sharing options by right clicking on the Form in your Drive, and making sure it’s set to Private, I.e. Not shared with anyone. This doesn’t affect the sharing of the View version of Form (the one people fill in), it just stops the Edit version being shared.

      I hope that helps.

  2. Is it possible to use two types of questions for the answer choices? (i.e. Using the date type for “When is your pregnancy due date?” but having the other choice as N/A so it would be a multiple-choice type question.

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