When you need to collect information, learn people’s preferences or gather feedback, there’s nothing better than a form. Sure, forms can be boring, but that depends on what tool you choose and how you use it. You can make a form interesting, simple to fill out, and then, with the help of Zapier, automatically put the results to work for your team.
But what form builder is the best for you? A broad sweep of a dozen-plus popular tools today shows that just about all form editors are the same. They give you a blank form in the center of your screen and a list form elements on the side. Their price tags and features, such as uploading attachments or creating reports, are what differ most.
There are more form apps than we could ever cover in one chapter or article, so we’ve picked the ones possessing features that stuck out to us. Each of these are form apps, not survey apps: the latter are great for surveys, while the former let you make any type of form, from a survey to a simple contact form to an advanced order form or training quiz. They have the basics you’d need to make any type of form you want, with enough unique features in each app to make you want to try out several.
|Icon:||App||Best for:||Free for:||Plans from:|
|Google Forms||free forms||Free||—|
|Wufoo||robust reports||Free for 3 forms & 100 entries||$14.95/mo.|
|JotForm||fast form making||Unlimited forms & 100 entries||$19.95/mo.|
|Typeform||a new take on forms||unlimited forms with core features||$20/mo.|
|iFormBuilder||mobile forms||10 forms & 100 entries||$86/mo.|
|Formsite||billing features||5 forms & 10 entries||$24.95/mo.|
|123ContactForm||lead generation||5 forms & 100 entries/mo.||$14.95/mo.|
|Formbakery||simple, self-hosted forms||—||$9/form|
|Formdesk||doing more with your database||3 month trial||~$5/mo.|
|Gravity Forms||advanced WordPress integration||—||$39 per site|
|Formidable||free WordPress forms||unlimited forms with basic features||$47 per site|
|Device Magic||interactive mobile forms||basic features on 1 device||$17/mo./device|
|Cognito Forms||simple payments||standard forms||1% of all sales via form|
|Ninja Forms||customizable form layouts in WordPress||Unlimited basic forms||Extensions from $19|
|PlanSo Forms||simple multi-column forms||Unlimited basic forms||Pro Edition from $29|
|Zoho Forms||Zoho Apps integration||3 forms & 500 submissions/mo.||$10/mo.|
for Free Forms
We all know the Google Docs suite is a great free alternative to Microsoft Office, but did you know it also includes a great form tool? Google Forms is one of the very best form tools since its free, and can link your form results to a Google Sheets spreadsheet for advanced analysis. It's also incredibly fast—editing form fields in the Google Form editor is noticeably faster than using almost any other form app.
Google Forms includes all the basic form fields you’d expect—there’s no options for payments or uploads, but there are text, multiple choice, drop-down menus, and more—and basic themes to help you get started quickly. Then, you can use the power of a spreadsheet to validate your form entries, add extra features with scripts, and put your form data to work with customized reports and lists, if you don’t mind taking the time to put them together with spreadsheet tools. Plus, in another nice option, you can share the form—use Zapier to set up new entry notifications—and let your team help you edit it just like you can any other Google Doc.
There’s so much goodness here for free, it’s really hard to argue against choosing Google Forms as your first option for making online forms.
Google Forms Price: 100% free
For a deeper look at Google Forms, see our Google Forms review.
See Google Forms integrations on Zapier
for Robust Reports
Wufoo was one of the first form tools to make online forms look really nice, with a form designer that was so slick you’d want to use it. But good looks don’t make a great tool on their own, so Wufoo also brought some of the best features to the table, as well. It’s got the great form features you’d expect to let you add anything you need to a form, including payment fields from a variety of sources and a file uploader tool that’ll let people submit images, documents, and more through your form—use Zapier to automatically save the files to Dropbox, Box or Google Drive. You’ll also find over a hundred form templates and themes to help you get started quickly.
Then, once you’ve got the results you want, Wufoo has an incredibly powerful report generator that lets you turn your form data into customized charts and more. You can pick a data range of your choice, add the graphs and reports you want, and share the info with your team, without ever having to open a spreadsheet. That alone is a great reason to try it out.
For a deeper look at Wufoo's features and pricing, check out our Wufoo review.
See Wufoo integrations on Zapier
for Fast Form-Making
If there was a competition for the app that’d let you make a full-featured form the fastest, JotForm would win hands-down. Just go to jotform.com, and you can immediately start making a form without so much as signing up for an account. Add the fields you want, then add your email address to get your form responses, and you can copy the embed code and put the form in your site. That’s it.
For anything beyond that, you can signup for an account and even integrate it with Zapier. You’ll find most of the advanced features you’d expect from other form apps in JotForm, in a simple to use interface that’s only a bit more dated than the one in the other form apps on this list. And, surprisingly enough, JotForm is one of the better options if you want to sell products through your form, since it supports eight payment processors including PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and more.
For a deeper look at JotForm's features and pricing, check out our JotForm review.
See JotForm integrations on Zapier
for Professional Features
Formstack is perhaps the most professional form option on this list, and is also the most expensive. Far more than just a form, though, you’ll find advanced workflow features that let your team members approve or deny form submissions through the app or with a simple email. Formstack also offers smart routing to send specific form responses to particular people on your team—or to custom apps with its many integrations, including Zapier. It also supports file uploads, advanced payment processing with calculations and coupon codes, email encryption, and even digital signatures—all features that make it far more business-ready for core tasks than your average form app.
If every other form app has turned out too basic for your needs, or you’re wanting the most secure ways to process business data through forms, Formstack is the app you should check out.
For a deeper look at Formstack's features and pricing, check out our Formstack review.
See Formstack integrations on Zapier
for a New Take on Forms
There are forms, and then there are Typeforms. Every other form app shows you the entire form at once, and fills the screen with small text-boxes and bullet points. Typeform throws the convention away and instead only shows you one question at a time in a beautifully modern and mobile-first interface. You’ll tap on pictures to select multiple-choice options, and type to sort through drop-down menu options. It’s the one form app that’s so different, you’ll have to try one of its demos to see how fun it makes forms.
It might not work for every form, but you’ll find new ways to use forms with Typeform, since forms can include paragraphs of text and multimedia along with traditional form fields. And when entries starting coming in, you can use Zapier to automatically add submissions to a Google Docs spreadsheet. It’s a great option if you want to use an unconventional form, and if you want your forms to work great on mobile, it’s one of the best options.
Typeform Price: Free with core features; $20/month with pro features (logic jumps, payments, and more)
For a deeper look at Typeform, including features and pricing, see our Typeform review.
See Typeform integrations on Zapier
for Mobile Forms
Designed as a mobile data collection solution instead of just an online form app, iFormBuilder forms are made to live inside of mobile apps that you’ll then use for on-the-go data collection. The online designer even shows how your form will look on mobile, using native iOS and Android form designs to style your forms. Your team can fill out those forms online or offline, and then sync the results back to the server at a later time, at which point you can take advantage of app automation with Zapier. It’s fully HIPPA compliant, with security features like remote app-level data wipe and complete client and server-side encryption.
Put all that together, and it’s a great solution for hands-on forms that your team will use to ensure code compliance in your business, fill out medical and other sensitive forms during work, and anything else you’d need a secure, offline form that’d work great in the hands of your team.
For a deeper look at iFormBuilder, including features and pricing, see our iFormBuilder review.
See iFormBuilder integrations on Zapier
for Billing Features
When it comes to selling stuff through a form, FormSite offers billing features that you won’t find in any other form app. In addition to integrating with Paypal and Authorize.net, you can directly accept credit card payments and even let customers pay by cheque. You’ll also find that it includes over 40 objects you can include in your forms, including an option to embed parts of a one form into another form. Its workflow features are also something you’ll find in few other apps: you can link multiple forms, bring responses from one form to another, and even combine results of your forms to view data together.
Its form builder is a tad more complicated to use than many, but it makes up for that with core features that’ll let you do far more advanced things with your forms.
For a deeper look at Formsite, including features and pricing, see our Formsite review.
See Formsite integrations on Zapier
for Lead Generation
There are forms for everything imaginable, but most forms end up being a contact form of some fashion. That’s why 123ContactForm is designed to be great for contact forms—albeit contact forms that can also let you sell products, get feedback, and more. Each form in this tool is first and foremost a contact form, so you won’t have to add those elements manually to every form. From that base you can then add any other form elements you’d like. But then, it's also got the templates you need to create great lead forms, surveys, orders, and even quizzes—everything you'd need from forms beyond just contact forms.
It’s another form app that’s very simple to use, and even integrates with Facebook and Blogger in addition to traditional CMS, so you can embed your form anywhere. Sending submissions anywhere is easy, too, since 123ContactForm is connected to the hundreds of apps on Zapier.
For a deeper look at 123ContactForm, including features and pricing, see our 123ContactForm review.
See 123ContactForm integrations on Zapier
for Simple, Self-Hosted Forms
If you want something really simple and self-hosted, it’s the app to pick.
Formbakery Price: $9 one-time fee per form
for Doing More with Your Database
Most form apps let you almost forget about the back-end database that’s powering your form, but not Formdesk. This European hosted form app lets you use lookup tables to autofill info in other form fields based on one field. You can autocomplete addresses with just a postal code, simplify country selector lists based on continents, and even lookup info based on what the user has entered in other forms. Along with that, you can import results from other surveys, or turn your form into an offline PDF that you can distribute in paper, then quickly add those entries back to your form’s database with barcodes. Users can even come back and edit their form submissions, and you can verify their info via SMS.
Formdesk might not look as slick as other newer form tools, but it has a solid data focus that might be perfect for business use. And you can automatically send that data to your other business apps, too, since Formdesk is on Zapier.
For a deeper look at Formdesk, including features and pricing, see our Formdesk review.
See Formdesk integrations on Zapier
for Internationalized forms
Building forms for an international audience? FormAssembly has the features you need to build advanced forms, along with support for over 30 languages. Your forms themselves can be smarter than most, with form scheduling, calculated fields, and even options to let your users edit their form submissions if needed mean that your forms can work for you without any extra effort.
Then, if you want to run a form app on your own servers, but want something more customized than a WordPress plugin, FormAssembly’s the app for you, as it has a self-hosted option as well that can run behind your company’s firewall.
FormAssembly Price: $28/month for basic features; from $59/month for API access and advanced integrations; from $250/mo. to run on your own server
for advanced WordPress integration
There’s a good chance you have a WordPress-powered site, as it’s increasingly the most popular CMS online for everything from company sites and newspapers to personal blogs and one-page sites. If you’re already used to spending your days in WordPress, it’d make the most sense to get a form tool that works great in it. Gravity Forms is exactly that. It’s a form plugin for your WordPress site that includes everything you’d expect from a form app, right inside of WordPress.
Gravity Forms lets you make forms inside your WordPress admin pane with the drag-and-drop simplicity of any other form app, but with more controls than you’d find in most. You can make multiple page forms to keep those long surveys manageable, limit form entries to, say, only let a dozen people enter your giveaway, and even make a form that can generate new WordPress posts. Gravity Forms also connects to Zapier, allowing you to send submissions to Google Docs spreadsheets, Salesforce or Podio. It’s a seriously powerful form tool that’s a great option if you want tight WordPress integration.
Gravity Forms Price: From $39 per site, with 1 year of upgrades and support
For a deeper look at Gravity Forms, including features and pricing, see our Gravity Forms review.
See Gravity Forms integrations on Zapier
for free WordPress forms
WordPress users have another great form app to check out: Formidable. Similar to Gravity Forms, Formidable is a WordPress plugin that lets you make forms right alongside your blog posts and other site content. It offers a free basic version that’s great for making most forms, with six standard form elements that you can use for as many forms and responses as you want.
Its paid option, though, is even more interesting, as it adds over a dozen more form field types, along with notifications, custom styling, reports, and more. You’ll even find advanced features such as field calculations that you’d rarely find outside of a spreadsheet-powered form tool. Like Gravity Forms, Formidable hooks up to Zapier, too, allowing you to quickly do more with form submission.
Formidable Price: Free with up to 6 form element types; $47+ for unlimited forms, features, and a year of support.
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Formidable review.
See Formidable integrations on Zapier
for Interactive Forms That Work Anywhere
Most form apps are designed around the web, but not Device Magic. It’s instead focused on the devices you have with you most—your smartphone and tablets—and lets you make forms specifically designed for them. It includes custom mobile apps for iOS and Android that’ll let your users fill out forms from the apps.
You’ll design forms online, just as with any other app, but your forms can include features that make most sense on a mobile device including geolocation, uploading an existing image or taking a picture from the form, and even letting users sign their name on your form. Then, once the form’s filled out, Device Magic can turn the data into document templates to give you an easy way to make invoices, work orders, and more. It's a great way to make forms that'll help your team get work done on the go.
Device Magic Price: Free for basic features on one device; $17/device/month Standard plan for unlimited forms and basic features; $23/device/month Advanced plan for custom branding and integrations; $28/month Enterprise plan for dispatch and full API
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Device Magic review.
See Device Magic integrations on Zapier
for Simple, Cost-effective Payments
Need to collect data from your potential customers, and then sell your products to them? Cognito Forms just might be what you need—for free. You can make detailed forms, with repeating sections that let you collect as much data as responders want to share. There's calculated fields, file uploads, conditional logic, and more, all to help you make the advanced forms you need.
As surprising as it may be, Cognito offers all of that for free. You can make as many forms as you want and collect up to 500 entries without paying anything. Then, you can add products to your forms and use them to sell your stuff, and Cognito will charge you just 1% of your sales price. That makes it incredibly effective to start out and then scale up the price as you sell more stuff. And, if you used Adobe FormsCentral, Cognito can be a great service to switch to since it can import your older FormsCentral forms.
Cognito Forms Price: Free for unlimited forms with 500 entries and 1% of sales for forms with payments; from $10/month for 2,000 entries per month
Currently works with Zapier via Webhooks; full Zapier integration coming soon
for Hand Coded Forms
Coding your own forms can be incredibly difficult, since you'll have to make sure your form works the same everywhere, build a database to store your info, and make your own ways to integrate your form elsewhere. But, it's the only way to make a form that looks and works exactly the way you want—that, or FormKeep. FormKeep is a new form endpoint tool that lets you easily code your own form, but use its backend to manage your data and integrate with Zapier and more.
You'll copy a code snippet and add it to your site, then code in the form elements you want with standard HTML name fields and style the form with your site's existing CSS. FormKeep will do the rest, storing your records on its server where you can easily look through them. Or, you can use its webhooks or Zapier integration to have it send your form data to other apps automatically. It's the perfect middle ground between hand-coded forms and using a pre-made form service.
Formkeep Price: from $29/month for 4 forms
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our FormKeep review.
See Formkeep integrations on Zapier
for Customizable form layouts in WordPress
For WordPress forms that are more customizable, Ninja Forms is a great option to consider. It's a free form plugin with paid extensions that let you add integrations with popular apps, add customized notifications, and more. There are even extensions that let you tweak your form layout, to make multi-page forms or forms with multi-column layouts. You can then customize forms deeply with CSS themes.
You can use your forms to do more with Ninja Forms, too, with its front-end posting tool. Instead of just letting you create posts from forms, it lets you integrate your forms deeply into your site to customize pages and posts without opening WordPress admin. It's a great choice if you want to deeply integrate forms into your WordPress site.
Ninja Forms Price: Free for unlimited basic forms; add-on extensions from $19 each
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Ninja Forms review.
See Ninja Forms integrations on Zapier
for simple multi-column forms
Most form apps make it simple to drag-and-drop in the form elements you want, as long as you want each form element listed one after another. Making a multi-column form is often much more difficult, so that's what PlanSo Forms focused on simplifying. Just drag the form elements you want side-by-side, and they'll organize into a perfect multi-column layout automatically.
You can make forms directly from PlanSo Forms' website without signing up for an account, then once you're done you can make an account and embed the form into your website. Or, you can install its WordPress plugin to create forms directly from your WordPress-powered site just as easily. And, with a Pro upgrade, you can make purchase forms with PayPal or WordPress account signup forms, along with more advanced forms that include conditional logic and more.
PlanSo Forms Price: Free for unlimited basic forms; Pro Edition from $29 for support, PayPal integration, conditional logic and more.
For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our PlanSo Forms review.
See PlanSo Forms integrations on Zapier
for Zoho Apps integration
One of the newest form apps comes from Zoho, the team behind so many popular apps for CRM, email, accounting, document editing, and much more. Their latest app, Zoho Forms, is a full-featured form builder that works with your existing Zoho account—and is deeply integrated with Zoho's other apps. You can use form rules to create tasks and send emails from Zoho when forms are filled out, or used its integrations to add form data to Zoho CRM, Zoho Creator and more.
As a form builder, Zoho Forms includes all the features you'd expect—drag-and-drop form fields, customizable themes, and field rules to route data and display conditional fields. Then, it's built for teams, so you can work on form responses together. You can even approve form responses or view stats right from the Zoho Forms mobile app. With its Zoho Apps integration, it's a great form option if your team already uses other tools from Zoho.
Zoho Forms Price: Free 3 forms and 500 submissions per month; Paid plans from $10/month for unlimited forms, 10,000 submissions per month, and payment integrations
With all the form builder apps here, and more that work with Zapier, it’s rather hard to pick the perfect form app. Each app we’ve included has its own attractive features, they all work great, and will all let you make a wide variety of forms with ease. If one of their unique features stuck out to you, give that one a try and see if it works well for your needs.
Otherwise, it’s hard not to recommend Google Docs’ built-in form tool. For the majority of use cases, Google Docs Forms has the tools you’d need, for free, and it makes it easier to do more with your form results by default just by being a spreadsheet app. With almost every other form app, the first thing you’ll want to do is send your entries to a Google Docs spreadsheet via Zapier—but here, that’s already done by default. Google Docs Forms is the first form app you should try out.
For more features than that, Wufoo’s a great option for awesome reports, and JotForm is great for an easy to use form tool. Typeform’s great if you want mobile-ready forms that look beautiful, while iFormBuilder and Device Magic's mobile apps make them great for hands-on data collection. Formstack and Formsite’s business features make them appealing, while Cognito is great if you want a cheap way to sell stuff. Formdesk is a good option if you want to work with PDF forms, or want to add results to your form response database later, while Zoho Forms might be perfect if you're working on forms in a team.
If you love to have your forms on your own site, without needing another app, Gravity Forms, Formidable, PlanSo Forms and Ninja Forms are great for WordPress sites, 123ContactForm is great for other CMS, and Formbakery and FormAssembly are great for any other site. Or, if you'd rather hand-code your form—or want a pay-what-you-want solution—FormKeep is a great new option to consider.
It can be tough to pick between all the options, but don’t fret: all of these options work great, and they’ll all let you make forms and put your form results to work. That’s what’s really important.
Once you’ve got a form app and have put together the questions you need in your form, there’s one more thing to think about before releasing your form into the wild: putting your form results to work. You could just wait for all of your entries to come in, then download the results spreadsheet and analyze the data, but the potential of making your own “apps” of sorts from forms is only realized when you let the data work for you by default.
That’s where Zapier comes in. With a few Zaps, you can get your form data doing a lot for you. Here are some quick ideas of ways to use Zapier with your form, each take just a few clicks to set up and don't require technical skills of any kind.
There’s no need to export your form data manually. Zapier can automatically add every one of your form entries to a spreadsheet or document of your choice. Just add your form to Zapier and have it append a Google Docs spreadsheet or Evernote note. You could even have it save your results to multiple apps if you want, with extra Zaps.
Collecting contact info in your form? Zapier can send that info to your address book, such as Google Contacts or a CRM, and your mailing list, too. You’ll not only have the individual's contact details saved, but that respondent will be signed up to get your next newsletter, too.
Or, perhaps it’s an email right now that’s needed. With Zapier and an email service like Mandrill or Mailgun, you can send an email directly to people when they fill out your form, complete with any extra info you’d like to share with them.
If you’re using Wufoo or Formstack and are accepting file uploads on your form, you can integrate them with your Dropbox account to upload your files automatically. Then, with Zapier, you can get notified whenever any new files are added to that folder, or put the files to work in any other app you want.
If you need to turn your form submissions into a nice-looking document, such as a contract or application, connect a form builder to WebMerge via Zapier. With this integration, information collected in your online forms will be automatically sent to WebMerge and generate a PDF, Word document, Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation.
When you have a form result that requires more action, you’d better make sure you don’t forget to followup on it. Zapier can integrate with your project management or to-do app and add new tasks anytime a form is filled out, complete with data from your form so you won’t have to go look up the info again when it’s time to work.
If your form is for gathering inbound leads, automatically add those new contacts to your CRM as a lead. This ensures your sales team receives the new leads and can act on them right away.
Some forms are more special than others, and when those special forms are filled out, you’ll want to know. Zapier’s great for notifications, since it can send you an email or push notification, or even let your entire team chat room know that there’s a new submission.
Sometimes you only need to learn about the form respondents who replied "yes" to certain answer. For those times, use Zapier filters to scope down when an automation is triggered.
For example, if they replied "yes" to the question, "Would you like a follow up phone call?" Have those "yes" submissions sent directly to your phone, either as a text message or push notification.
Those are only a few of the ways your forms can work for you, automatically. With a great form and integrations with the apps you already use, you can collect the info you need and save yourself the busywork of having to copy and paste the entries to the right place.
Need an easy way to reference the best form apps in this roundup? We've made a PDF cheat sheet that includes each of the form apps in this roundup, complete with their best features and pricing, to give you an easy way to compare the form builders and find the best for your team. Just jump back the index page for The Ultimate Guide to Forms and Surveys, and you can download the cheat sheet along with ePub and PDF copies of this entire eBook.
The apps in this chapter are a great option if you want to collect data on your website, but what about the times when you need to replace paper forms with a mobile form that can work anywhere—even without an internet connection? In chapter 3, you'll find 10 great apps for building mobile forms that can work on your favorite mobile devices.
Or, if you'd rather get started building a form with one of the apps in this roundup, go ahead and jump to chapter 4, which dives into some of the most powerful form features you should use in your form. Be sure to read it before building your next form.
Looking for other great apps for your team? Check out our roundup of "The Best Team Chat App for Your Company".
Written by Zapier Marketer Matthew Guay.
Updated July 9, 2015 to include Zoho Forms; updated June 13, 2016 with Formkeep's new pricing.
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