Collect Data Better with Zapier's Free "Ultimate Guide to Forms and Surveys" eBook
The 14 Best Online Form Builders for Every Task
If you've used one form app, it could easily feel like you've used them all. They all work so much alike. You drag form elements from a list of options into the form editor, arrange them as you want, and rename them to fit your needs. Each editor will look somewhat different, but they all do the same thing.
And then, there's Formdesk. Its free-form editor is more reminiscent of a publishing app, with a blank page for you to add your form elements and an option to export your form as a printable PDF. And its list of form entries is actually a database that you can filter through or reuse inside subsequent forms, or import new entries that you've added yourself from printed copies of the form.
Formdesk's editor will take a bit more time to get accustomed to using than the average form editor. You'll select if you want to add a new element above, below, or on the sides of your current element, and then will be able to pick one of a number of standard form elements from a popup. Then, you'll be able to select that form field's options, including setting sample text or accessing existing form database fields to reuse in the form.
There's fewer field elements than you might expect in other form apps, but that's because they're often grouped together. Select the Predefined Items option, for example, and you'll find everything from standard submit buttons to a Google Maps widget or a date selector. Then, you can link elements, create dependencies and workflows, use fields to lookup elements from the database, and more. And, back in the editor screen, you'll see your form laid out in a grid, and can cut and paste items to the places you want them.
Once your form is laid out, you can make it behave the way you want in the Settings section. There's options to require people to verify themselves via SMS or email, so you can be sure each form entry represents a real person, along with options to send a followup message once they've finished the form. You'll also find publishing options to share your form results online, and webhooks integrations along with its Zapier connection to send your form data to any app you want.
Formdesk has some other tricks up its sleeve. It includes barcode scanning apps for iOS and Android, and an option to generate a unique barcode in your form once it's filled out. That way, you could let people—say—sign up for an event with your form, and then save the barcode to their phone. At the registration table, your team can scan their barcodes with the Formdesk app, then print out their registration info on an attendee badge.
It also has an option to export your forms as PDF, so you can print them out and fill them with a pen. Then, you can compile your offline entries, and import them back into the Formdesk database so you can reference them along with the rest of your form entries.
Formdesk is a bit more complicated to use than other form apps, but it includes professional features like these that let you use it for unique business use-cases. It's a good option if you need more freedom in laying out your forms, or if you'd rather have better access to your database inside your for fields.