How to use QR codes to track attendance with Google Forms

Taking attendance is a necessary but time-consuming task, whether it’s for an event, a classroom, or a work training seminar. As with most processes, though, there’s a better way to do it than simply jotting down attendee names with pen and paper.

Automating attendance doesn’t require any special skills. You can do it using QR code attendance tracking with Google Forms. Google Forms allows you to create online forms to send to attendees, and they can mark themselves present when they arrive.

But does that mean you’ll be responsible for sending out each and every invitation?

Not if you use QR codes. QR attendance tracking with Google Forms allows you to generate a code that attendees can scan using their smartphones to access your attendance form. Here’s how to do it.

What are QR codes and how are they used?

QR attendance tracking with Google Forms relies on QR code technology. While this may sound complicated, it’s not really any more complex than your standard grocery store barcode. QR codes are just barcodes that store information horizontally as well as vertically.

Those extra dimensions mean you can pack more information into a QR code than you can in a barcode. What’s more, modern smartphones almost always come with the ability to read these codes as part of the camera function. That’s why so many businesses have turned to QR codes as a cost-effective way to interact with their customers in recent years.

During the pandemic, when restaurants had to nix physical menus due to health concerns, they started using QR codes to give their customers access to their menus without requiring direct contact. All guests had to do was scan a QR code at their table and scroll through the menu on their phones. This strategy was so effective that many restaurants have continued to use it instead of returning to physical menus.

Using the same technology, QR attendance tracking with Google Forms allows you to provide a custom QR code that attendees can scan to directly access an attendance form in seconds, letting them skip the hassle (or health concerns) associated with a physical sign-in sheet.

QR attendance tracking with Google Forms: A step-by-step process

Now that you understand how you can use QR codes for attendance, here’s how to do it with Google Forms.

1. Create your form

Go to the Google Forms homepage and create a new form. You can choose from some of the templates there or simply craft your own form with fields for contact information like name, email, and ID number.

With Google Forms, each person will be able to submit their answers individually without seeing responses from other participants.

Click the Send button at the top of the form and then the link icon. You’ll automatically get a link that you can copy.

Find a program that can turn URLs into QR codes (Google Forms has an add-on you can install) and generate a code that links to your form URL.

4. Display the code where attendees can see it

Now that you have your QR code image, you just need to distribute it to your attendees. You can display it on a large screen in the room where you’re holding your event, on a sign at the event entrance, or you can even print handouts to put into swag bags.

5. Collect your attendance data

Once the event is over, you can check attendance using the Responses tab in your Google Form. Then, you can export the data to Google Sheets or download it to a .csv file by clicking the green spreadsheet icon at the top of the screen.

An alternative to QR code attendance tracking with Google Forms

Services like online form builder Jotform make attractive alternatives to Google Forms if you’d like to use a different platform or want to simplify the process even further. Jotform offers hundreds of form templates you can work from to make attendance tracking even easier.

Whatever the occasion, chances are Jotform has a premade template to fit your needs, from form templates (like student attendance and employee time sheet templates) to spreadsheet templates (like class attendance, employee attendance, and daily attendance table templates) and more.

What’s more, you can use the same steps listed above for Google Forms to track attendance with Jotform — without having to install an add-on or find a third-party QR code generator.

Simply click the Publish tab in the Jotform Form Builder. You’ll see a link to share the form, as well as the option to download a QR code with that link or copy a snippet of code to embed it on a website. Jotform even has a widget that can easily add QR codes in your forms.

There’s a reason Jotform is one of the most popular Google Forms alternatives around. Once you’ve mastered attendance, you can also explore how to integrate Jotform forms with Google features like Google Drive and Google Calendar. You can even allow attendees to pay for things using the same form you track attendance with.

However you decide to do it, automating your attendance tracking process can help you save time, stay organized, and focus on creating great events, trainings, and more.

This article is originally published on May 10, 2022, and updated on Jun 13, 2022.

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