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How to Save Forms and Continue Later

How to Save Forms and Continue Later

Got lots of form pages? Make JotForm save submissions on each page. Let's say you have a survey which includes over 10 pages - Your user starts to fill out your forms but suddenly something happens. Maybe the computer shuts down or the user had an urgent call and closes your form without submitting it. To avoid losing progress, JotForm has an amazing feature that saves the form for each unique user. This way, your users can continue to fill out your forms whenever they are available. But, the tricky part is you have to keep a SESSION ID.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This method requires two forms and PAGE BREAKS in order for it to work. Submission sessions that have been pending more than 3 months are being automatically deleted. So please be aware of it, before you implement this method.

This is not applicable for Card Form users. If you're using the new Cards Layout, follow this guide instead.

You need to create two forms:

FORM 1 (FIRST FORM): The first form where the user will need to fill out the name and email field. The SESSION URL will be created here and we will use the email field as the SESSION ID.

FORM 2 (MAIN FORM): This is the main form where all the necessary and important fields will be collected. The main form needs to have PAGE BREAKS. Please also note that the progress on each page will only be saved when the NEXT and BACK buttons are clicked.

STEP 1. Create a form to get the NAME and EMAIL. This will be referred to as the FIRST FORM from now on.

FIRST FORM example:

STEP 2. Create another form where they will be redirected to. This will be referred to as the MAIN FORM from now on, which will contain the PAGE BREAKS.

MAIN FORM example:

A. You can change the BACK and NEXT button labels by clicking the GEAR icon for each PAGE BREAK then change the text from the GENERAL tab.

B. You can choose from a variety of BUTTON STYLES.

C. You can also change the VISIBILITY of each button. This option is under the ADVANCED tab.

STEP 3. When the MAIN FORM is finished, click PREVIEW FORM at the top right.

STEP 4. Copy the FORM URL. Here's the PREVIEW window where you can copy the FORM URL.

STEP 5. Turn off the preview mode and go back to your MY FORMS page by clicking on the JotForm logo.

STEP 6. On the MY FORMS page, click the FIRST FORM then EDIT FORM.

STEP 7. On your FIRST FORM, create an AUTORESPONDER, that will be sent to the form submitter. Head over to this guide if you don't know how, then jump back here as soon as you're finished.

STEP 8. On the EMAIL tab of your AUTORESPONDER, erase everything in the EMAIL CONTENT area and write something meaningful for the user because this will be sent to his/her email.

STEP 9. Paste the MAIN FORM's URL here (the one you copied from STEP 4). At the end of the URL, add the following "?session=" (without the quotes). While your mouse cursor is right beside the equal sign, click FORM FIELDS > then the EMAIL field to place the Unique Name of the email field at the end of the URL. Afterwards, it should look something like this:

https://www.jotform.com/XXXXXXXXXXXX?session={email}

(where XXXXXXXXXXXX is the form ID and {email} is the email field's unique name)

STEP 10. Then format the URL as a clickable link using the toolbar above. Highlight or select the custom form session URL, copy it, then click the INSERT LINK icon. Paste the URL then hit OK.

STEP 11. Don't forget to click the SAVE button to save your changes.

STEPS 8 to 11 can be summed up on the screencast below.


We've covered the part where our MAIN FORM session URL will be emailed to our users when they submit the FIRST FORM. They can now complete their forms whenever they want from their e-mail. However, it's worth mentioning that you should also do these on the THANK YOU PAGE.

STEP 12. On your FIRST FORM, click SETTINGS at the top, then THANK YOU PAGE on the left.

You will then be navigated to this part where you can edit the thank you message of your form. In my case, I will compose the same message I have in the AUTORESPONDER and tell the user to use the SESSION URL to continue to the MAIN FORM.

DEMO: https://form.jotform.com/60873864629975

If you would like to pass the name and email field from the FIRST FORM to the MAIN FORM, that is easy as well. Follow the guide on Prepopulating Fields to your JotForm via URL Parameters to learn more on how to setup the URL parameters.

In our example, to pass the name and email we would add &name={name}&email={email} at the end of the URL:

https://www.jotform.com/XXXXXXXXXXXX?session={email}&name={name}&email={email}

As you can see, we still need to include the session parameter and only appended the name and email parameters.

Comments and suggestions are welcome below. If you have a question, post it in our Support Forum so we can assist you.

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  • Mark Smith

    I created a form with multiple pages. I want users to be able to return to the form and work on it. I created a starter form.
    https://form.jotform.com/83462967927171

    Only problem I have is that pages on the main form are only saved if all required fields on the page are completed. I began this as a clone of a form that worked ok last year. Users had to complete all required fields on the first page, but after that any data on any page was saved, even if all required fields were not completed.

  • marxmyth

    Oh please find a way to simplify this. Adobe Forms Central had a very easy way for users to return to forms. Surely JotForms can do this too.

    Why not a widget that sends a session ID to the user in an email.

    I've used your method for a number of years, but I'm always afraid I'll make a simple mistake and applicants will lose their data.

    No need to write me back. This is just my yearly suggestion about how to make a very good product great.

  • cel_rod

    How do I integrate both forms in Wordpress.

  • Kalpana

    When students are attending IIT online exam suddenly if the power goes off all the answers selected is lost. The answers should be retrieved and the exam should be continued. Is there any possibility? Pls let me know

  • Elissa

    I am needing the forms to be linked with something other than an email. As multiple forms will be filled out by the same person (i.e same email address)

    I created an additional field called Unit ID. So they could enter a unique ID for each session. But this doesn't seem to be working. I tested it with three random ID's 555, 3430, 2222

    and I then partially filled out one form and closed it down, now no matter what email I return to the info is the same prefilled data. Is there a way to create separate sessions so this form can be filled out separately based on the Unit ID?

    Thanks

  • sharmilaburman

    Hi,
    I actually wanted to know whether this feature is there in jotform where if I have a form of 10 pages and after filling 5 forms I close the form accidently. So next time when I open the link, the 6th form should be visible and not the first form again.
    Is this possible in jotform.

  • LoveitaM

    This isn't working. I'm filling out the first form and I'm not receiving any emails to give me the link to the main form. What am I doing wrong?

  • crecos

    Would you please tell me how ONE user can save and edit MANY entries in the same form?
    Thank you
    Nikos

  • Robert

    Will this method work on a web page where I have pasted the necessary JotForm code?

  • Victor Dane

    Hi,
    I am looking to create a form which will require a user to fill portion of it, then when submitted to go to another user to fill portion of the same form then when submitted by the 2nd user to be send to 3rd user who will complete the form.





  • visasguadalajara

    Thank you for this post, it is working great. I do have one question:

    I have placed a RANDOM VALUE GENERATOR WIDGET at the beginning of the second form and I ask the user to write down the 6-letter-code (let’s call this the Access Code) on a piece of paper to access the form in case they want to finish later.

    Whenever they pass the first page, the RANDOM VALUE GENERATOR WIDGET will be hidden and a SHORT TEXT ENTRY will be shown.

    Let’s say the user decides to close the browser and continue later. When the user access the SESSION URL for a second time, the first page fields and PAGE BREAK are hidden. Only a SHORT TEXT ENTRY is shown and when SHORT TEXT ENTRY contains exact value (Access Code) from RANDOM VALUE GENERATOR WIDGET (which is now hidden) then the form shows the first page fields and PAGE BREAK so they can continue.

    --- UP UNTIL HERE EVERYTHING IS WORKING GREAT ---

    Let’s say the user continues to fill in the form but decides to close the browser again and continue later. When the user access the SESSION URL for a third time, the SHORT TEXT ENTRY with the Access Code is saved and displayed and they can continue to fill in the form and have access to the data, without the need to type in the Access Code. I don’t want the Access Code to be saved because I want the user to be required to type in the Access Code again.

    Is there a way to CLEAR the value from the SHORT TEXT ENTRY so every time the SESSION URL is accessed the user is required to write the Access Code again to access the data and continue the form?

    Any other suggestions to work around this idea?

    I am doing this to provide a safety measure for the user’s data in case someone else has access to the SESSION URL (SESSION URL is saved on the browser’s history)

    Thanks!

  • Advking

    Hi there,
    I have set up the two forms so that I can give each respondent a unique link, which should allow them to save and complete their forms later. However when I test the system by completing a form part way and then hitting submit, and then go back to the unique link and click on it (to simulate going back to the form later) the form is completely blank. Am I doing something wrong? thanks!

  • KathyZenios

    I am trying to send the email link to Asana so that that each project has its own unique form attached. I have set it all up but all that happens is that asana opens a project with the name I have chosen but there is no link attached for form 2.

  • nycpetersen

    I have employees filling out the same form on behalf of many different prospects. The email address entered on the form will be the prospects not the employees. Is it possible to make this work in this situation?

  • mediatrium

    Hi

    Your demo doesn't work fine. I tried to do the steps but doesn't work as well.

  • Upravlenie_kachestvo

    When I filled out the demo you have shown above I got a notification email but slightly different from the one I do when I fill out my forms. My questions is do the participants get an email with a PDF attachment if they do this type of forms I mean the ones they can save and continue later?

  • chuyang

    Right now when I link back to the main form it starts again from page 1 - is it possible to get it to start on the last page that was open in the main form?

  • eroussel

    What are the risks of Session ID's being viewed by other users? Is it possible for a user to see other user inputs? I have had two complaints regarding this issue and wondering if it is more widespread.

  • ntk_larry

    I think You can hash the email field or create another field data in random hidden... . Just pass the session id that you created.

  • big12champ

    I seem to be having similar issue to below comments but I can't quite find the right answer. I have the two forms and seem to be functioning fine but after I completed a test form, I clicked on the received link from Form 1 on a different device and the Form 2 information was blank. I have the AUTOFILL enabled so I don't know if that's the only reason why it works with the same browser/device. Also, the comment below worries me that once one person enters the information, everyone can see it? Is that true? Like others, I'm trying to develop a system whereby individuals can go back and edit their responses and would only want the individual user to see his/her individual information. Thank you.

  • smoulec_good360

    I have 2 concerns with the method:
    1) The URL variables are not obfuscated in any way so by filling out the form with dummy data, it is not very hard to figure out the URL structure and spoof it.
    2) I tried to fill out the demo form ( https://form.jotform.com/60873864629975 ) which gave me a link to https://form.jotform.com/60874096771971?session=jdoe@aol.com . Just by changing jdoe@aol.com to test@test.com, I was able to see another form entry made under that email address.

    What are best practices to introduce some level of security in the process?

  • mschuurmans

    This didn't seem to be working for me, but from another post by a JotForm staff member it appears this method of assigning a session ID only works BEFORE the user submits the form. Key phrase from that response:

    QUOTE - "This is not the edit link - the session is active only until the form is submitted, so as soon as they make a submission, they can not longer use it."

    So it's a way the responder can continue working on a long form BEFORE they submit it, but not a method to edit a submitted form. Once the form is submitted, they'll no longer be able to access it at the ?session=whatever URL.

    That was the missing piece for me and I thought I'd clarify given the number of people who, like me, found that this didn't work as I expected it to (before and after submission). Hope this clarification helps. The reply that I referenced above is found in this thread:
    https://www.jotform.com/answers/650286-Edit-link-is-not-working-for-our-customers

  • jschmidt_landis

    I have tested this and found that if you start to fill the from from the Thank You page link, and then try and go back to re-enter through the e-mail link, the saved information does not appear. Any thoughts?

  • jschmidt_landis

    Works great! My only question is what if the same person is filling out the same form more than once? I tested this and saw that it just overrides the old information with the new information. Is there a way around this? Thanks!

  • arlettuca

    I followed the instructions. However the when I close the browser en open it again with the link in the e-mail nothing seems to be saved.
    What have I done wrong?

  • azusa website design

    I love very much because it helps much more always. azusa website design

  • mitchum01

    I've followed the instructions and when I go to the email and click on the link to get back to my saved survey, it's not saved. What am I doing wrong?

  • Sarah_MWG

    Hi,

    I've followed the instructions but can't get the info to save.

    I have created an auto responder email however, have set up so an email is sent but the user is redirect to the main form once the session id is created.

    Thanks in advance,
    Sarah

  • mraiz

    I followed the steps above and made 2 forms however, the data I put in the main form won't be saved. Where did I go wrong? Please help...thanks!

  • agilo

    If I understand this feature correctly, we should be able to access any form by appending an arbitrary session string to the url:

    https://form.jotformeu.com/71235149364355?session=AnySessionString

    Then when this form has been submitted, we should be able to access the form and pull up previously entered data just by appending the same session value to the url:

    https://form.jotformeu.com/71235149364355?session=AnySessionString

    ...but this is not working on our forms. It doesn't pull up existing data.

  • Primasia

    Hi How can I redirect the user to the main form after they submitted the contact form? Thanks.

  • Highred139

    I have followed these instructions perfectly. However, when I visit the form that I completed, there is no information. Here is the link from the email I received back to my form: https://form.jotform.us/70926562926162?session=caldwelldevelopmentagent@gmail.com

    Please help.

    Rob Caldwell

  • salvarez

    Tried this option, however, the save option only seems to work when I click on the link the first time. When I close and try to edit, all the information I filled out is missing from the fields.

  • cathywong

    The form link that send to users for them to fill in the form later, can the domain be my own domain?

  • ss

    I'm new to development. This is the function i want to do in asp.net with vb.net. But i'm not sure how to do this. Please help me to guide how to do in asp. Thanks in advance.

  • jamie_loonam

    I've been trying this for hours and each time, when I get the auto-response email and click the link, the form is blank: everything that I filled out is gone.

  • BCfoundation

    I am still having problems with people not being able to save their work and continue later. When they use the link to go back to their application, nothing is saved. Am I doing it wrong? Help please!

  • dlaro2222

    is there a tutorial for this in jotform V4? it's hard to follow with outdated screenshots.

  • MusicNB

    This was working well, or so I thought, but I'm now creating a new form, and not only is it not saving, my old ones (which are currently in the hands of clients) don't seem to be saving as well. What is going on?

  • brandon.carlson

    I was using this to great success for a couple years, but now it seems like all my email fields are getting autofilled and overwritten with the email in the session URL.

    So, the person fills out the form, submits, and we get 4 of the same emails when they didn't intend for that to be the case.

  • pamelaerich

    If my form has required fields, is this option viable?

  • ForesightPrep

    i.e. is the form host allowed to access the data saved on to jotform's servers by folks who have saved an incomplete form??

  • ForesightPrep

    Heya,

    Is there a way to check in on the progress made by the application accounts set up by the folks filling out our form? Now that we have the page save option set up, I would like to see how much of the form has been completed and saved by the folks who have not yet submitted.

  • davidvm

    Hi, is all this process still necessary with the current "Continue Forms Later" option enabled in settings?

  • websiteteam

    I have completed this How to Save Forms and Continue Later modifications to the two required Forms and deployed Form 1 to my website: http://www.temptestsite.net/jot-form-test.

    This is a Test site and the below forms are meant to test what I may accomplish for my client before I build the "Real" forms for use in the permanent site.

    When testing, I am not able to get any entries in the Form to save after using the "Next/Page Break" button. After I have clicked on Next, closed the form and then return to Complete, any of the prior entered data is not there?

    Everything is working except the pre-filled information is not saving when Form 2 is viewed again?

    These are the two Forms -
    Form 1: https://form.jotform.com/63334772877165 & Form 2: https://form.jotform.com/63275744442156.

  • ForesightPrep

    Would it be possible to get the correct code (or code structure) for having it prepopulate into the correct fields for first and last names? With the one you supply above, it puts both first and last in the first name field—I tried a bunch of different things using the instructions on the prepopulate page but none have worked.

  • WorldLearning

    Hello,

    Thank you for the step-by-step of this work around - very helpful! I'm wondering if there is any limit to how long the form is saved. Our form is an application that is open once a year for several months, until the following year. If the same applicant goes back into the application a year later, will their original responses still be accessible?

    If yes, what happens if the form is edited for the following year?

    Thanks for your help!

  • pfarrell

    Please help... I have a form that I need to save progress. I have tried working through the walk-through but I am getting balled up somewhere. I seem to be going in circles. My goal is that you when filling the form which is long if you take a break you will not lose all progress.

    Here is my pages so far
    Form 1 https://form.jotform.com/62644814155154

    Form 2 https://form.jotform.com/62704647427157

    Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

  • Nwakelam

    Hi There
    I have followed the instructions at the top to link the 1 form to the other and that works however when they are submitted they are 2 seperate submissions. Is there a way to get these all on 1 email. My form is for a blood bike organisation and we have the following.
    form 1 - Rider information and job number from co-ordinator
    form 2 - Collection note from hospital 1 which includes a signature and email back to collection point.
    form 3 - delivery note to destination hospital which includes signature & email back to delivery hospital (and ideally collection hospital).
    I tried having this on 1 form with the save later option but the signatures were not saving. And for legal reasons we need signatures.
    Can you help at all?

  • apolsky

    There's one problem here. When I auto populate the Name (first and last) on the follow up form, it takes the first and last name submitted in Form 1 and combines them in the First name box in form 2. I'm sure there's an easy fix I just don't know how to myself. Thanks.