How to use Google Forms to create an approval workflow
Robert Gagliano, Customer Success Manager
Mar 1, 2021
We all have mundane processes that we complete every day, many of which still rely on paper based forms. Google Forms gives you the ability to capture information in a structured way, so you can immediately digitize your processes.
Google Forms is probably the most unknown and underutilized of all Google applications. Google Forms is included Free with every Google account and is super easy to use, so can be used by just about anyone. Despite it's ease of use and simplicity, Google Forms is a powerful tool used by organizations big and small. Google Forms natively stores your form response data in a Google Sheet, creating a new row for each form submission made, so you can report on the information at any time.
Things you can do with Google Forms
Google Forms can be used for just about anything. Capturing Time Off Requests, Purchase Requisitions, Expense Reimbursement Requests, Personal Development Requests, IT Service Requests, and so much more.
Google Forms provides a easy to use form builder so you can create professional looking, mobile ready forms in minutes.
Like all Google products, Google Forms can scale with your business. Google Forms can handle as much data as Google Sheets, and Google Sheets can currently handle 5 million cells of data.
Even if you don't use Google as your core collaboration tool in your domain, only the form administrator needs a Google account (i.e form respondents do not need a Google account).
Things you can do with Google Forms + Form Approvals
What if you wanted to make your form a little more interactive?
With the Form Approvals add-on, you can turn your Google Form into an interactive approval workflow! As an example, you could turn a simple Time-Off Request Form into an approval workflow, where it routes to an employee's Line Manager for approval and notifies the employee once it has been approved.
To do so, follow these easy steps (or watch the video below):
- Create a new Google Form, enter a title for your form, and add questions that captures information relating to the Time-Off Request.
- Install the Form Approvals add-on from the Google Workspace Marketplace.
- From your Google Form, click the 'Settings' tab, then click 'Responses', then enable Collect email addresses. This will capture the email address of the requestor with each form submission. The add-on will automatically send the requestor a confirmation email when the request is first made. In addition, the add-on will send them an email at the end of the workflow (once all approvers have responded).
- From your Google Form, click the puzzle piece icon (in the top right corner), then click 'Form Approvals', then click 'Open the add-on'. If you don't see the puzzle piece icon, make sure to install the add-on first.
- Once the add-on opens, click the 'Add dynamic recipient' icon and select the question that captures the Line Manager's email address.
- Click Save.
- From your Google Form, click the Preview icon to submit a test form submission. Once submit, the add-on will send a confirmation email to the person who is completing the form, and send an email asking for approval to the email address entered as the Line Manager.
The above steps demonstrate a very basic example of how to use the add-on. However, the add-on can support the most complex workflows. For detailed instructions, refer to our support articles.