How to set time limits in Google Forms

Online forms let you easily collect large amounts of information. But there are also times when you might want to stop collecting submissions to a form. You can manually close the form on a specific date, but it’s inconvenient and impractical when you have a busy workload.

Fortunately, you can automatically control your form submissions by setting time limits for your forms. That way, you don’t have to worry about gathering and then sorting through more information than you wanted. Whether you’re using Google Forms or Jotform, you can set time limits to better control the form’s functionality.

There are a number of reasons you might want to close submissions to Google Forms automatically after a certain point. For example, you might only want to collect survey data spanning a certain period. If you’re using Google Classroom, you might want to set a deadline for students to submit their homework. Or when you’re hosting an event, you’ll need to end your event registration by a certain date.

With Google Forms, you can accomplish this by setting time limits. Once you reach that time limit, the form will automatically stop accepting responses.

The steps to set time limits on your forms

While Google Forms doesn’t automatically allow you to put a time limit on your forms, you can accomplish this by installing a Google Forms add-on. Here’s how.

  1. Sign into your Google account.
  2. Open the form that you want to add a time limit to.
  3. Click on the menu icon in the top right and choose Add-ons.
  4. Search for the formLimiter add-on and install it to your account.
  5. You’ll receive a notification asking if you trust formLimiter. Click Allow.
  6. Once formLimiter has been installed, click Done.
  7. Close the add-ons window.
  8. You should now see a small window to the right of your form. (If not, click the Add-on puzzle piece icon at the top of your form and choose formLimiter.) Under the Limit Type heading, click on the dropdown menu and choose date and time.
  9. Choose the due date and time when you want the form to close. Click Set.
  10. Add a custom message that your respondents will see once the form is closed. This message should explain that the form is no longer accepting submissions. Once you’ve drafted the message, click Save and Enable.

The form will now close to submissions at the date and time that you’ve specified.

Setting time limits with Jotform

While it takes a little extra work and an add-on to set time limits with Google Forms, Jotform offers this functionality without requiring you to download an add-on.

  1. Start by logging into your Jotform account.
  2. Open the Form Builder.
  3. Create or open the form that you’d like to add a time limit to.
  4. Click on Settings and select Form Settings.
  5. The Form Status dropdown will give you several options, including “Disable on date” and “Disable on submission limit.” 
  6. Choose Disable on date and enter the time and date when you want the form to stop accepting submissions. The dropdown calendar makes it easy to choose the appropriate time and date. The time is displayed in a 24-hour format and is in Eastern Standard Time.

Jotform offers other time-related options, too, like adding a timer to your form. The timer will limit the amount of time respondents have to complete the form. It’s ideal for timed tests or surveys when you want to encourage respondents to quickly give their initial reactions. The timer displays on all of the form pages, so respondents can keep an eye on how quickly they’re progressing through the form.

  1. To add a timer, start by logging into your Jotform account.
  2. Open up the Form Builder.
  3. Create the form that you’d like to add a time limit to.
  4. Click Add Form Element on the left. 
  5. Select the Global Countdown Jotform widget.
  6. Add the widget to your form.
  7. Choose the amount of time that you’d like respondents to have.
  8. Save your form.

Using time limits to create a sense of urgency

When you set time limits on a form, you can generate a sense of urgency in your audience. When you share your form, note the fact that time is limited and the form will stop accepting submissions at a certain date. This sense of urgency can encourage your audience to fill out your form right away, rather than putting it off until later and likely forgetting about it. This strategy may help increase form submissions.

This article is originally published on Apr 07, 2022, and updated on Apr 28, 2022.
AUTHOR
A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked for TV, newspapers, radio, and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for Inc.com, Fast Company, NBC, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and Business Insider, among others.

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