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    Google spreadsheet: Is it possible to create place holders through hidden fields, to enter data later on?

    Asked by tillmaj on October 01, 2014 at 02:26 PM

    I really like your form software and would love to launch it for our College, but I have an issue:  any form I create has to feed results into a Google spreadsheet.  Your forms do allow for this: however, our Google spreadsheets are then shared by multiple users.  These users will require the ability to modify the spreadsheet (i.e. add a column).  Since modifications to the spreadsheet break the integration w/JotForm, the result is I can't use your product.

    Is there any workaround for this?  I have a form set up in JotForm that I would love to be able to start using, but unless/until I can solve this issue of modification breaking the integration w/Google, I can't proceed.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what might help in this situation?  This is probably more of a Google question, but might there be a way to have data land in a spreadsheet and then somehow autopopulate a 2nd version of the spreadsheet that would then allow for modifications?  (This seems like a dicey question to ask in a Google forum since I'm trying to find a way to make their product accommodate a rival's form process).

    workaround form set form software JotForm style
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    Answered by Ben on October 01, 2014 at 03:49 PM

    Hi,

    I was about to recommend making a copy of the spreadsheet as well, but you have mentioned it first ;)

    Now what I found it seems that there will be something possible along those lines:

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-import-data-from-other-google-spreadsheets/

    Unfortunately for now, it is only possible to do this on the Google side, not on jotform side because if the layout is broken in a spreadsheet there would difficulties updating it (depending on the actual issue).

    I will make some checks myself regarding this and will notify our developers if the smaller changes break the integration.

    I am not sure how versed you are with programming, but to add to the above link the Google API might help to achieve the same: https://developers.google.com/google-apps/spreadsheets/

    This one is more like the first one and offers the same end result, but has a video guide as well:

    http://davefoord.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/how-to-automatically-pull-data-between-different-google-spreadsheets/

    and this might be needed: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/docs/MqN9hHkwblA

    I do hope that I have helped you with these. :)

    Can you please tell me which changes on the spreadsheet caused the integration to break so that I can repeat the steps?Best Regards,
    Ben

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    Answered by tillmaj on October 01, 2014 at 04:22 PM

    Hi Ben - unfortunately, I am not well versed with programming, more's the pity!

    I've looked at the info you've presented, but I don't believe it will accomplish what I need, as it relates to a static range of cells.  i.e. if I use this process and I have updates in rows 1 through 100 in spreadsheet 1, those changes will reflect in spreadsheet 2.  However, if I have 30 new rows created every day, I can't ensure those will come over to spreadsheet #2 because of the growth of the spreadsheet (unless I can create an enormous initial range of something like 1000 rows).  

    As for changes that break integration, a probable scenario would be that our JotForm would gather X types of data and then the end user of the Google spreadsheet would input that data into our College's main student database.  This user would likely want to add a column to the Google spreadsheet to indicate a date they completed the task and another column for their initials.  This is the kind of modification we'd need to be able to make to the Google spreadsheet.

    A thought - is there any possibility of creating hidden fields in the form that are placeholders for this data that would then enter blanks into the columns I'm describing? If so, would you then be able to enter data into the cells created in the Google spreadsheet after the fact without this breaking the integration?  

    i.e. I add a field in my form that is called "Entered By".  It is hidden so the person filling the form leaves it blank, and thus it enters a blank cell in my integrated Google spreadsheet under the column titled "Entered By".    My end user would then enter info into this cell in the Google spreadsheet.

    If I'm remembering correctly, altering data in the cells in the Google spreadsheet also breaks the integration . . .

     

     

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    JotForm Support Manager

    Answered by Jeanette on October 01, 2014 at 07:25 PM

    Actually adding a hidden box should sort out what you are looking for.

     

    Here is how my spreadsheet looks

     

    -I added the Hidden Box which created a new column "Entered by"

    - I submitted this form, then manually added my name in the sheet.

    -Made some more submissions, and the integration did not get broken.

    In light of that, your scenario can be done through this workaround.

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    Answered by tillmaj on October 02, 2014 at 08:00 PM

    The hidden box seems to be the perfect answer.  Thank you so much.  I am hoping to launch my beautiful form next week.  


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    JotForm Support Manager

    Answered by Jeanette on October 02, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    I'm very glad to know the hidden box sorted your requirement out.

    Cheers!