Building customisable forms - BETA access only
Closed group beta testing
The functionality explained in this support article is only currently available to a closed group of beta testers. This functionality will be made available to other customers once beta testing has been completed. We are unable to extend the beta-testing group at this time. We expect testing and final development work to be completed in the coming months.
28th April 2021
In this article
Introduction and overview of intended functionality
Forms enable you to collect data for a wide range of purposes. Whether you're creating a questionnaire to gauge interest in volunteering, requesting parental consent for a youth group trip or creating a Gift Aid form for your website, forms provide all the tools you need.
Forms can be created within the Address Book and Children modules and data is collected via a form page. This page can be shared via a URL link or embedded on your website for completion by your members, supporters and members of the public. Invitations can be emailed to contacts and children within ChurchSuite, enabling them to access a form which has been pre-filled with existing data such as their name and contact details. Form overseers are notified as forms are submitted and responses can be viewed within ChurchSuite or downloaded to a csv file.
Several Example Forms are available to help you get started.
Adding a form
To add a form, select the Forms tab in the Address Book or Children modules…
…and then select Add form.
On the Add form pop-up, complete all of the details as appropriate.
Start Date/Timerefers to the date/time after which responses can be submitted and End Date/Time is the date/time after which responses cannot be submitted. If a Brand is specified, it will be used on the form page and invitation emails.
The form's Access must be selected from three options:
- Public - the form has a public URL as well as the ability to send invitations to people, asking them to complete a form which has been pre-filled with some data.
- Private - the form can only be completed by people who have received an invitation. The invitation includes a URL taking them to a form which is pre-filled with the respondent’s details.
- Anonymous - the form can only be completed by people who have received an invitation. The invitation includes a URL taking them to a form which is pre-filled with the respondent’s details but responses within ChurchSuite will not be linked to the invitee.
- Site (required) - the sites in which the form will be visible.
After completing the relevant fields, click Save.
A form can also be added by selecting Duplicate from a form's page...
...or from the Action menu.
This will open a Duplicate form pop-up, pre-populated with the original form's options which can be edited as required.
After clicking Save on an Add form or Duplicate form pop-up, you will be taken to the form’s "View" page which summarises all the information which has been entered. A form is always created in Draft status and cannot receive responses until it has been published by selecting Publish.
Once a form has been published, it can be set back to Draft status if you need to edit the content of the form, as the content of a Published form cannot be edited.
The "View" page includes the ability to customise an optional Success message which is shown on the screen after a form has been submitted. You can also customise the Confirmation email which is sent to a respondent after they have submitted a form or edited it subsequently. The confirmation email automatically includes all of the data which was submitted.
Form Overseers can be added on the "View" page. Overseers receive notifications when a form is submitted for the first time.
A form’s “View” page Form also has three tabs - Setup, Invites and Responses.
- Setup enables you to build a form with a variety of components. This can only be done when a form is in draft.
- Invites shows the contacts and children who have been invited to complete the form and the status of their response.
- Responses details the responses given by each individual, along with a Download csv option.
The order of these tabs varies depending on the status of the form. A form which is in Draft will show Setup followed by Invites and Responses. When a form is Published, the Responses tab shows first, followed by Invites and Setup. For a published form, the Setup tab shows a read-only view of the form as fields can only be added, edited or deleted when a form is in draft.
Once created, forms are listed in a summary table which shows an icon to indicate the form's access (public, private or anonymous), the dates (if any) when the form can be completed, a progress bar showing the number of invitations and the proportion of responses, the number of responses, the brand used on the form and on invitations and the site/s in which the form is visible.
An Action menu offers quick links to view, edit, duplicate and delete the form.
A filter enables you to search for Past, Active, Active & Future and Future forms, with Active & Future as the default.
A Search box allows you to search for forms by name...
...and an Advanced search option includes filters for Access (Public/Private/Anonymous) and Status (Draft/Published).
To edit a form's settings, select Edit from the Action menu...
...or Edit on a form’s “View” page.
This opens a pop-up which enables you to edit the form's settings.
When editing a form, all field values can be changed, with the following caveats:
- An anonymous form which has responses cannot be made public or private. This is to protect the anonymity of the invitees who have completed the form.
- If a user changes the Visible in value and de-selects the module in which they are currently working, they will be sent to the Forms page and a permissions error will be shown. For example, if a user is in the Address Book and edits a form so that it’s no longer visible in the Address Book, an error message will alert them that they need to go to another module to view the form.
Building a form
To build a form, first ensure that your form is in Draft as it is not possible to add, edit or delete fields when a form is published. Selecting the Setup tab displays a list of the items which can be included in a form. There is also a search field for finding a specific item.
The following items are available for forms:
- Standard fields
- Elements - These create sections within the form using Divider, Heading and Text. Text is an html field meaning that you can include images and videos.
- Person fields - Any fields present for both Address Book contacts and children
- Contact fields - Any fields present for Address Book contacts but not for children
- Contact custom fields - All custom fields present in the Address Book module options
- Child fields - Any fields present for children but not for Address Book contacts
- Child custom fields - All custom fields present in the Children module options
Embed a video in a form
You can easily embed a video in a form, surfacing it as a playable video within the public-facing Form Page. Here's how...
When viewing a video, such as on the YouTube website, click the "Share" option on the YouTube video preview, and then select Copy embed code. You can also access this menu option by right-clicking on the video.
Now, back in ChurchSuite, add Text to your form and click on the Action menu to surface the second row of HTML tools. Select the "Source code" tool designated by a <> icon.
Paste the embed code for your video into the "Source code" viewer, pasting it into the appropriate place within the source code view and click Save. Next, use the Go to form option on the form's "View" page to preview how the video displays.
The pasted embed code will usually include a parameter for setting the video's frame width and height. So in this example…
<iframe width="894" height="503" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fViYK_Xb3Wg" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
...notice the width="894" and height="503". If the original width and height are not appropriate, these can be altered to fit within the form page’s available space.
The fields available to a user vary based on the form's Visible in setting (modules), the Access setting of the form (public/private/anonymous) and the fields already present within the form at the time. The following rules apply to the available field list in the left hand column and the Add item dropdown button at the bottom of the right hand column:
- Anonymous forms will not offer any Person, Contact or Children fields - only elements and the standard fields will be available.
- Forms which are not visible in the Address Book will not show any Contact fields.
- Forms which are not visible in the Children module will not show any Child fields.
- Any Person, Contact or Child fields already included within the form will not show in the list of items as they cannot be added more than once.
In summary, a public or private empty form which is visible in the Address Book and Children module will show every field as available. A form can have any number of Standard fields but Person, Contact and Child fields will disappear from the 'available' list as soon as they are added to the form.
Signature fields show on a form as a white box into which a respondent can either use their finger or mouse to provide an interpretation of their signature.
This creates an image which is shown to the respondent on submission, in their confirmation email and in the Responses tab on the form's "View" page. The signature is not shown in a csv download as this is not possible.
Each item has an icon, a name and a '+' icon which is visible when you hover over it.
Items can be added to a form in the following ways:
- Double clicking on an item will add it to the bottom of the form.
- Clicking the + icon will add the item to the bottom of the form.
- Dragging an item will place it into a specific place in the form.
When an item is added to the form, it will show initially in edit mode. Some items simply ask for a Name...
...whereas others give you the option to write some Help text and select whether or not a respondent is Required to answer the question.
When adding items such as Checkbox list, Dropdown list and Radio list, you can specify Options which will be presented to the respondent.
Complete the relevant fields and click Save to add the item to the form.
It's possible for forms to collect data from multiple modules. This means that it's possible for a user who only has Address Book permission to see fields from the Children module if a form is visible in both the Address Book and Children modules. It is the responsibility of the ChurchSuite user who creates a form to set the Visible to and Visible in controls appropriately to ensure that data is appropriately protected.
As you add items to your form, on the right hand side you will see the form as it will look on the online form page. A drag handle enables you to reorder items and a drop down menu enables you to Edit, Delete and View changes to an item (if changes have been made).
Changes to an item are shown in a pop-up.
As well as the Edit option, a form item can be edited by double clicking anywhere on the item itself.
At the bottom of the column is an Add item button. When selected, it presents a dropdown list showing all of the available items for quick form building.
When you have completed building your form, click Publish.
A published form will continue to show the Setup tab but it will be 'read only', showing the form items without the ability to edit them. A message will alert you that you need to click Set as draft in order to make changes to the form.
When a form is published, the options at the top of the "View" page change.
- Send invite enables you to send an invitation to respondents (see related support article).
- Set as draft changes the form from Published to Draft. A form must be in draft mode in order to work on the Setup of the form, editing or deleting items.
- Go to form takes you to the form's online page. Potential respondents can be sent an invitation to complete the form or the URL of this page can be emailed to them.
A form's page respects the form's Start and End dates. If a form page is visited before the form's Start date, the form will not allow responses and a feedback message will state the date and time at which the form opens for responses.
If a form page is visited after the form's End date, the form will not allow responses and a feedback message will state the date and time at which the form closed for responses.
When someone clicks on a Public form's URL, the fields will be empty, awaiting completion. After completing the form and clicking Submit, the respondent will see a Success message and a record of their responses.
Clicking Back will take the respondent back to their previously submitted form so that they can make any desired changes. Their completed form will have a unique response URL which can be visited at a later date if changes need to be made. The fields on a response URL are always pre-populated with the values which were submitted when the response was either created or last submitted. Submitting this form will edit the existing response and create change logs.
When a respondent submits a form for the first time, a Notification email is sent to form Overseers, informing them that a new response has been submitted. A Confirmation email is sent to the person who submitted the form (if an email address is provided). This includes any confirmation email content added within ChurchSuite as well as an automated summary of the submitted data. A confirmation email is also sent if a form is edited at a later date. If the respondent is known within ChurchSuite because Send Invite was used, the confirmation email will be logged in the person's communication.
Responses are only created when a form has been successfully submitted via the form page.
Selecting the Responses tab shows a table with a row for each response. The table has a Search box for filtering by Person name and an Advanced Search with a filter for every field on the form. Responses cab be downloaded using the Download CSV button.
For public and private (non-anonymous) forms there is a Person column, a Responded column showing the date and time of the response and columns for each of the fields on the form. Submissions from a public form URL are shown as Unlinked to any person within ChurchSuite. It is up to the ChurchSuite user to link them to an existing contact or child or to add them as a new person within ChurchSuite if appropriate.
At the right hand side of each response is an Action menu.
The Action menu options are:
- Add contact - launches a pop-up which is pre-populated with completed Person and Contact fields from the form. Note that the option to Add contact is only shown for Unlinked respondents who have completed a form which is visible in the Address Book.
- Add child - launches a pop-up which is pre-populated with completed Person and Child fields from the form. Note that the option to Add child is only shown for Unlinked respondents who have completed a form which is visible in the Children module.
- Link to person / Edit person link - this launches a pop-up which enables you to link the response to an existing contact or child. The same pop-up can also be launched by clicking on the word Unlinked in the Person column.
If an attempt is made to link a response to a contact or child who is already linked to a response, an error message will appear.
A response can be unlinked from a Person or Contact by clicking the cross at the right of the contact's name to clear the Person field and then selecting Save.
Note that Edit person link only shows for responses which are not linked to an invitation.
- Delete - deletes the response.
- View changes - this option only shows when a respondent has edited their response after initial submission.
Selecting View changes launches a pop-up with a change log for the response.
When a response has been linked to a contact or child (either manually or because invitations were used) a Forms section shows at the right hand side of their record.
This shows recent form activity, whether or not the person has responded to the forms. The oldest form is listed first and the date shown is either the invitation date or the date on which the form was submitted. The status of the person's response is also shown. Clicking on the name of a form in this list takes you to the form's "View" page in the Address Book or to the "View" page in the Children module if the form is not visible in the Address Book.