I’ve talked before about caseload management and data collection with Google sheets and other digital organization tips, but here is a new trick using Google forms to create docs! Let’s use those technology tools to free our minds up for more important things!
Today’s guest post comes to us from Candace Hayden, M.A., CCC-SLP, an SLP currently working in the elementary school setting, who recently learned how to turn Google forms into Docs! Welcome Candace!
I have a really cool technology tool to teach you that you are going to LOVE!
Full disclosure: this is a teeny bit techie. I’m guessing that if you are even considering using Google forms to help you with your paperwork, that “teeny bit techie” is not going to scare you off. You should know how to set up a Google Form, Sheets, and Docs before you try this. It might be a wee bit out of your comfort zone, but this is really SO awesome and will save you SO MUCH TIME that I just had to share!
I promise that this tutorial will hold your hand through the whole process and then you’ll be so proud of yourself. You can do this!
Ok, let’s get started!
Google Forms Become Google Docs
Imagine a world where you fill out a Google form and then your answers magically appear in a Google doc in well-written, complete sentences.
I’m talking about going from this:
To this (AUTOMATICALLY!!):
Amazing! We can convert our google forms responses to a template in google docs!
I’m going to give you a demo on how to make a short statement, but the sky is the limit here!
Step 1: Make a Folder in your Google Drive
Start by making a folder in your Google drive for this project. I’m calling mine “Speechy Musings Template,” but you can call it whatever makes sense to you!
Step 2: Make a Google Form
This is a form that you will fill out for yourself. What kind of information would like to be able to quickly click and have it appear in a sentence?
For this demonstration, I made a Google form based on the the Speechy Musings IEP Cheat Sheet. I used the following questions:
- Student’s Name (short answer)
- Student’s pronoun (multiple choice)
- Area of difficulty? (with the checkbox choices of Expressive Language, Receptive Language, Articulation, etc.)
- Affects the ability to (with checkbox choices for affects like retelling stories, being understood by peers, etc.)
You can use a copy of my Google form here if you don’t want to make your own form!
Make sure your form is saved in the folder you created!!!
Step 3: Link it to a Google sheet
In the top center of your form, you should see the words “Questions” and “Responses.” Click on “Responses,” then click on the green Google sheets icon (see circled in red):
This screen will pop up and you should select “Create a new spreadsheet”:
This will put all of your Google form entries into a spreadsheet. When you hit “Create” it will open the spreadsheet that is linked to your form. Whenever you complete an entry in your form, the answers will automatically appear in the spreadsheet!
You can play with this by going back to your Google form and clicking the eye icon on the top right corner to Preview (circled in red):
Then you can fill out the form and submit. Go back to your spreadsheet. Refresh and you’ll see a summary of your answers!:
You’re doing awesome! Let’s keep going!
Step #4: Make a Google Doc Template
We’re going to make some filler words, like code words to put in our template. They represent what we want to put in from our spreadsheet. They should be surrounded by double brackets like <<this>>. For my example, I’m going to use:
Now create a Google doc (make sure it’s in your original folder!). Type out what you would like to say and put in your filler words where applicable. If you just want to follow my example, you can use a copy of my template here (just make sure to save it in your project folder!!)
My statement for this short demonstration is:
<<name>>’s difficulty with <<difficulty>> affects <<pronoun>> ability to <<affect>>.
Step #5: Add-on Autocrat
On your Google sheet (spreadsheet), select Add-ons from the top menu. Then select “Get add-ons.”
Search for “Autocrat” and go through the menus to install it. When you install it, Google will send you Security notices. Obviously, in order to merge different google docs, forms, and sheets, Autocrat will need to be able to access your files. I’ve done this with loads of Add-ons and never had a problem!
Now open Autocrat by clicking on the Add-ons menu, going to “Autocrat” and selecting “Open.”
Click “New Job.” When you get to the “Choose template” screen, click “From drive” and select your Google doc template. Then hit “Next”:
Now you need to link the columns with your code words in your template. So in my example wherever the template reads <<name>>, I want to match it with the column that titled “Student’s name:”
Go down the list and link up all your code words to your spreadsheet column titles. Hit Next.
What do you want your files to be named? You can put a column heading inside brackets to give each file a unique name. Not a code word!!! It has to be exactly what the column heading is. So in my spreadsheet, the column for a student’s name is called “Student’s name:” So I used that in my file name:
Don’t worry about anything else and just hit Next.
It will ask you where you want to save the documents, which should be in that folder you created. Next.
Hit Next when it asks you about the Dynamic folder stuff.
Next when it asks you about Merge conditions.
Hit next when it asks you about sharing.
Don’t worry about all of that now!
Select “Yes” for “Run on form trigger.” That just means that it will write your report whenever you submit a new Google form. Then hit “SAVE.”
Now it gets really exciting!!
Go back to your form and fill out a trial name (remember to click on the eye on the top right corner to preview). After you submit, open the folder you have been working in.
Give it just a second and your file will appear!!!!
Open it up and you’ll now see all of your input in a nicely worded sentence.
I don’t love that “Intelligibility or Articulation” is capitalized, so I’m going back to my google form and fix those to be lowercase and maybe put a slash between them instead of the word “or.” Also, I’m going to take the period off the end in the Google form so I don’t have two here. (If you made a copy of my form, you’ll see that I made those changes already!)
You get the idea!
Also, if you select more than one affect, then they will be listed out separated by commas. You might need to stick an “and” in there manually.
And of course, we can use templates and automate, but these reports still need to be individualized! As Shannon reminds us with her original IEP cheat sheet, these are not legal statements, requirements vary by state/district, and everything we do should be individualized for our students’ personal needs.
Google forms to docs: What else can we use this for?
Now you might be saying, wait a second Candace, for real?! That’s all!?! We did all that work so Google could help us write ONE MEASLY SENTENCE??!?
Well, this was just a demo to get your creative juices flowing! I actually created a version of this for my district to follow certain guidelines we use when writing present levels statements and our session time recommendations. At the end, it tacks on a statement about remote learning and COVID possibilities that we had to start adding to all of our IEPs.
It takes a little bit of setup time, but then it saves so much time, and I really get excited every time it works!
I would LOVE to hear your ideas on how else we can use Google forms to create docs!
Who knows, maybe I’ll even put your idea in action and share it in a later post!