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Google Drive Form Report Generation

by on Jan.22, 2013, under programming

Printing form responses in Google Drive is an awful experience.

That’s a strong statement, but it’s the truth. Forms in Google Drive are used for so much more than simply numerical responses, with some being used for surveys, sign ups, and other data that just doesn’t fit properly in a spreadsheet. Yet, that’s the only format Google presents this data in. While spreadsheets are fantastic for numerical data analysis, they do little for analysis of open-ended survey responses.

And this statement even makes the assumption that you’re attempting to read the data off a computer screen. Want to print out the data to keep a hard copy (or just to reduce eye strain from your computer’sback light)? Forget it! You can attempt to print the responses in landscape, but you’ll end up with an unorganized mess of papers which doesn’t really solve the original problem.

So, how can we get the data from the Form into a format that’s pleasant to read, and easy to print? We use a script!

The Google Apps scripting engine is amazing. I’ve previously used it to create rudimentary conditional formatting in Google Docs. Now, I wanted to play around with it more and generate single page(-ish) reports of individual responses to a Google Drive Form. I say “-ish”, because the script doesn’t guarantee a single page. The end length is simply based on the response length and number of questions.

So, how do you use this script? Just find it in the script gallery! Searching for “Report Generator” should find the script and allow you to install it easily! Once installed, a new menu — “Report Generation” will pop up on your spreadsheet. Simply select the row you want to generate a report for, and choose “Generate Single Report” (or generate all at once!). In a few moments, you’ll have a new folder in your document list, and a doc and/or PDF of the report.

The script has a few configurable options, which are for the most part self-explanatory. I’m working on getting some documentation up at the script’s help page, but that may take me some time. I also plan on adding more features to the script: the ability to change the folder name, change the resulting document names, change the formatting of the output, etc. I’ve never published a script to the gallery before, but I’m hoping I’ll just be able to update the script when I have new features ready.

So, if you’re looking for a good solution to printing out responses to Google Drive Forms, check out “Report Generator” in the script gallery!

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