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Forms are incredibly versatile tools. Whether you need a 3-line contact form for your website's about page, a 2 page survey about your products, or a secure order form for your store, most online form apps can get the job done. The only problem is, you may need to pay if you need a powerful form tool—especially one that lets you accept payments.
That's what makes Cognito Forms unique. It's an online form builder that lets you accept payments even on a free form, as long as your forms aren't being filled out more than 500 times per month. All you'll need is a Stripe account, and you'll have to pay Stripe's fee plus an extra 1%. That's a reasonably priced way to start out your online store with just a form.
Whether or not you're selling stuff, Cognito Forms has the tools you need to create full-featured online forms. Instead of dragging and dropping each form element into the designer, just tap on an existing element in your form then select the Insert Above or Insert Below button and choose the form element you want from the menu on the left. You'll find the normal form elements from other form tools, including rating scales and page breaks to make surveys.
If you need to collect files in your form—perhaps so customers can upload their documents or graphics—Cognito Forms' file uploader will come in handy. You can accept files in your forms, and set it to only allow specific formats and limit file sizes. That way, you'll be sure your images are uploaded correctly, ready for you to use immediately without any additional back and forth with your clients. There's also calculated fields—perfect for figuring out the total order amount before sending them to the checkout screen.
Once you've published your forms and have data coming in, Cognito Forms' Entries page makes it easy to find the data you need. You can view each form entry in a spreadsheet-style list, and filter or search for the entries you want. Then, select an individual entry, and you can print it or download a PDF of the form data as a simple way to turn your orders and sales into receipts. Or, you can connect Cognito Forms with Zapier, to send your form and sales data to hundreds of other apps.
One of the greatest problems in using a form instead of a shopping cart for orders is that many customers may consider buying your products or services, then leave before they've finished the checkout process. With a paid Cognito Forms plan, though, that won't be a problem—each entry will be saved automatically, even if it's not quite finished, so your customer can jump back in where they left off whenever they visit your site again.
There's so many form builder apps, it can be incredibly tough to pick the best one for your team. But if you're selling products through a form, and want an affordable tool that'll also let you create PDF receipts in a click, Cognito Forms is a good option to try. With so much in its free plan, you can give it an extended try and see if it works for your needs before upgraded.
Originally published September 23, 2015; updated June 26, 2018 with new screenshots and feature details