Microsoft Forms and Live Spreadsheets

MSFormsI used to use Google Forms and as such when Microsoft introduced Forms I was very excited about being able to use the Office 365 platform for my form based needs however I quickly found one big limitation.

In google I could create a form which for example gathered budget requests.  I could then make this available to all staff.    I could then create a spreadsheet into which the data went but into which I then started to add my own comments regarding each request indicating whether I felt they should be accepted, declined or needed further discussion.  This spreadsheet was then shared with other budget decision makers for their comments.    As such the budget decision makers were able to make notes on a live spreadsheet which instantly updated with new requests as and when they were submitted.    It sped the whole process up significantly.     The issue was the in Microsoft Forms when you accessed the data in a spreadsheet format this was via download facilities meaning the resulting data spreadsheet did not update as new requests came in, and therefore couldn’t be used to keep running notes.

Thankfully, thanks to twitter and my PLN, I have now found that Microsoft have built the exact functionality I need, it is simply that the process is a little different.

Now I need to create a spreadsheet which can be stored in either OneDrive, Teams or Sharepoint.    The spreadsheet just needs to be blank.     Once the spreadsheet has been created you then need to open it up in Excel Online, the web version of Excel rather than the desktop application.    Easiest method to do this is to visit in a web browser and open the file from the appropriate OneDrive, Teams or SharePoint app.

Once in Excel Online simply go to Insert > Form and select the New Form option.


You should now be presented with the familiar MS Forms interface where you can build the form you want, adding whatever questions you need.     Once you have your form completed try the Preview option, enter and submit some sample data.    Now revisit your online spreadsheet and the data you have entered should now be visible.   You have now created a live spreadsheet which updates as data is submitted via the form.   You can also easily add your own additional comments to the spreadsheet as needed.

For me Microsoft Forms has now become a much better resource and I am looking forward to sharing the above info with colleagues over the coming week so that they too may start making greater use of Forms.



Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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