Basics for creating polls in Microsoft Forms

When it comes to creating surveys or polls, there is just one thing to head out too in the Office 365 universe – Microsoft Forms! It is the tool you want to use for easy to medium complex surveys. As you will learn in this post, it is pretty easy to start using Forms in your day to day life, and the benefit of Microsoft AI implemented in it. I want to explain to you some basic knowledge and some bumps you do not want to run into.

When opening Forms for the first time, you will see a pretty decent and clean interface. There is not much to talk about. On the top, you can see “My forms” which will display all forms belonging to you personally. Clicking on “Shared with me” you can see all forms someone shared with you and last, but not least you can see “Group forms” based on the Office 365 Groups you are a part of!

You now have two different options, where we focus on the first one, creating a new form. You can give your first form a personal name which also is the display name in case other people are going to fill it out. I would highly recommend writing a short description in which you pick up the peoples minds on the goal of these questions and why you want them to answer it. For yourself, it might be obvious but trust me. Some people won’t even know what is the goal after filling everything in if they not already left the form before doing this!

Microsoft AI is helping you out…

… well, most of the time. Depending on how you name your form, there are different recommendations by Microsoft AI for your questions, as you can see in the screenshot! I love this feature because it can save you a couple of minutes and provide you some ideas on how you can ask and what information you may want to get. In addition to the questions provided by Microsoft AI, it also helps you out with theme ideas customized to the title of your form, which is pretty cool too.

As you can see in your interface, you can edit and add questions on the left and also view your responses on this specific form on the right. Forms takes care of the answers and shows some – most of the time – pretty good graphics and first insights to you within this tab. Of course, you can also open all the answers in Excel and do your magic to them!

First things first

I highly recommend you to take care of some “global” form settings at the very beginning of designing a new form. You can find them in the black bar on the top. Besides a preview option showing the computer and mobile version, you can change the theme, share and click on those magic three dots.

This is where you want to start every new form to make sure the “framework” for the form is right. You now have basically two tabs to make changes to. Starting with “Settings”, you get why it is that important to set up this framework because otherwise your results can be messed up pretty fast, good luck digging through the excel sheet and sort things out – been there, done that, not much fun!

In the first part, you can now decide who you want to take that survey, everyone getting the link or just people in your organization. Also, you can set if the names should be recorded and if there should only be one answer per person. This option is only available in case you have chosen to ask only people in your organization.

In the second part, you can set up some different things around your survey and also determine what you want to get notifications for. In case you only want people to answer the poll in a specific time range, you can set the start and end time here. Also, you can choose to shuffle the questions and customize the “thank you message”, which will appear after someone filled out the form. For example, you can add some information about the further procedure and avoid queries.

As already mentioned, you can manage some notifications regarding this specific form. Due to the limitations of these notifications settings, you can use Microsoft Flow to get more particular notifications if you have questions on that feel free to reach out to me!

After you set up your “Settings” area, you can hop over to “Branching”. Over there you can bring some more logic in your questions and add jumps and leaps in case one specific answer is given. For example, if the customer says he is extremely satisfied the survey ends just right here because you won’t bother him with more questions because he is already extremely satisfied. Practically this branching options are not possible to set in the beginning, and you should come back here at the end of the creation process again.

Enter your questions

After you set up the “framework”, you can start entering your questions or select the ones Microsoft AI is providing you. In case all suggested items do not fit your needs, you have to add yours manually. To do so, click on “+Add new”. You then have some options regarding the style of your question or rather the style of answer you look for. When clicking on those three magic dots again, you can get even more options

Share your survey

After you finished setting up your survey, it is time to get your poll among the people!

You can do that by clicking “Share” in the top black bar. To be honest, it is maybe a bit misleading — you then have again some options on how and what for you want to share your survey.

Again it splits up in a kind of different sections. The top is about sharing your poll to ask people to answer it, the bottom part is about to collaborate on that specific survey with a colleague, and in the middle, you can use your form as a template for yourself or a colleague to create another one based on this one.

When it comes down to sharing your survey to ask for answers, you can again edit if you want everyone to answer it or only people of your organization. In addition to this, you can select one out of four options how you want to share it (link, QR-Code, embed, and mail)!

Watch the outcomes

After the first answers are dropping in, you can see the counter in your Microsoft Forms home going up.

In case you want to have a look at your responses, you have to click on your form card again and then switch to the responses tab.

On the top, you can see some essential information about your form speaking of the numbers of responses, the average time to complete, and the status. In case you want to share this summary, you can find that option again behind the three magic dots. For a more in-depth analysis – or in case you messed up your framework – you can open your responses in excel and brush them up manually!

If needed, you can also click on “View result” to get through every response one by one and see the answers given by one responder.

That’s it! I hope this little “guide” helps you create your first forms and achieve the outcomes you are looking for! Microsoft Form is a little bit underestimated in my opinion because there are a lot of use cases where Forms can help you out in your daily work!

As always, feel free to reach out to me for questions!

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