While building out forms within our Online Forms app, there are a few tricks you can apply to reduce time spent on building the form and reduce the number of triggers that can cause performance issues.
In this article
Updating Live Forms
There are often times where changes need to happen to a live form. One thing to consider is how the changes you make today will impact previous form submissions. For example, you have a form collecting expense submissions for traveling employees and something needs to be added. Previous submissions won't reflect any new fields added.
What Changes Can I Make?
Some changes are ok, here are some examples that shouldn't cause any issues with your data:
- Adding fields - additional fields can be added but they won't be seen on previous responses
- Workflow changes - this will cause current workflow adjustments to be made, see below for how to handle this
- Form Security changes
- Adjusting Views - this can be done while editing the form
What Changes Should I Not Make?
While the above changes are ok, they won't be reflected in the form. Our forms are dynamic which means they will update the fields to reflect the current fields for new submissions. For previous form responses, this means fields will be shown based on the currently available fields and deleted fields will no longer be available.
- Deleting fields - Deleting a field will wipe out the data for this field from both the response and the database
- Moving fields - While the data shouldn't be deleted, this can break connections for things like 'triggers' used in hiding fields and conditional workflow, especially between similar sections
Ideally, it's best to clone a form and make changes to the cloned form.
Once happy with the new form, simply decommission the old form as a 'draft' (edit form > click 'move to draft' from the top area of the form), this will prevent users from submitting new responses to this form.
Note: Before publishing the new form, be sure to match the workflow and security settings of the original form as these won't come over with the cloning process.
Reduce the number of fields needed for calculations by applying hidden values to your multiple-choice fields (e.g. Checkboxes, dropdowns, radio buttons). While editing your form, click 'more properties' from the build tool pop-up and select 'Hidden Values' as shown below:
Once 'Hidden Values' has been enabled, select one of the options from the multiple-choice field to add a hidden value. Click the save icon (next to the red X) and repeat for each multiple-choice option.
Here's an example of what it may look like once the form has been built and the hidden values have been applied:
The above example uses hidden values for the dropdown field and formula fields for the 'Item Total' and 'Total Amount' fields.
It's not possible to calculate more than one multiplication at once. For this, it's recommended to do subtotal calculations first (value * quantity) and then have a tax field that calculates the results of that field * tax, followed by a total field that combines both. This also works great for breaking items down when you need to split these values up in reporting.
Here's an example of how the total would be setup using formula fields:
Note: Before you'll see field names in the 'insert field' dropdown, you'll need to save your form's progress.
This is an example of once you've selected the fields and how they are calculated:
Need information calculated but not visible to submitting users? You can utilize a private field for this. Private fields are only visible to users with the following permissions:
- Super Admins
- Administrators (unless the form has 'ignore global folder permissions' selected)
- Form Owner
- Form Builder (Edit form > select Security tab)
- Users/Groups granted permissions to view private fields (Edit form > click Security tab > Users who can view form responses > checked boxes under the 'Private' column:
To mark a field as 'private', edit the form > click the field > click 'more properties' in the build tool pop-up > check the box next to private:
Once selected, the field will have a lock symbol as shown above.
Once you have marked a field as private, you can now grant permission for users to see private fields. From the edit view of the form > click Security tab > scroll down to 'who can see the form responses':
Note: Only Form builders, users with private field permissions, and Admins on the intranet will be able to see these fields when filling out the form. For regular users or users with granted private field permissions, the form response will need to be submitted before their permissions will allow them to view the private field.
We recommend trying not to exceed more than 10 triggers as over this amount will start to cause performance issues with forms. One way to get around this is by grouping fields into a specific section and putting the trigger at the section level rather than individual fields.
For example, instead of having Subtotal, Tax, and Grand Total be triggered individual when option A is selected, the entire section can be hidden unless that option is selected (see below):
It's not possible to apply multiple triggers to the same field. For example, in the above example, if Options was a Checkbox field that allows multiple selections, and you wanted to have this section appear if A or C were selected, you would need to recreate the section and trigger it based on option C. In this case, you would have 2 Order Summary sections but each one would trigger based off one of the options selected from the Options field (see below):
In the example above, Order Summary - C was created with the same subtotal selected, however, now that you have 2 taxes, it's important for the fields to be renamed as well so that the calculations show up as expected. In this case, you have 2 Subtotal fields, 2 Tax fields, and 2 Grand Total fields.
Triggers only have the ability to equal the options selected from the field that causes the trigger to occur, this is why replicating the fields is required as shown above.
You can copy fields and drag them from one section to another. This is done by adding a new section > add a field to that section (i.e. text field) and then you can drag fields into that section.
Workflow plays an important role within online forms as this informs the intended recipients of the form submission, or what they need to approve. Depending on the need for the individual form, you can set up conditional workflow.
Declined Vs. Rejected
Approval managers are given 3 options when reviewing a response that requires their approval; Approve, Decline, Reject.
Decline allows submitting users to make changes to their responses and re-submit for approval. What happens next depends on your needs:
- Option A - Changes are submitted and the approval manager who previously declined the form needs to review it once more. (Default option)
- Option B - Changes are submitted and the form response starts over at the beginning of the workflow. (Optional from the Workflow > Advanced Options screen > Restart Entire Workflow on Decline)
Note: If changes have been made to the form response, or the approval manager, select this option and decline the response. This will require the user to re-submit their response and it will reflect the changes to the workflow (i.e. workflow triggered by a field, and changes to an approval manager).
Reject prevents any further updates to the response and all workflow is stopped. Users will be required to resubmit their responses as a new response. The user will see the below message showing their form submission was rejected, along with any reason (if provided).
Grant Additional rights to Approval Managers
Users who are Approval Managers don't have edit rights over form responses by default. If this is something that is required for your form, you can do this at a stage level. This prevents approval managers from being able to edit all responses and only those they are approval managers for:
To do this:
- Edit the form
- Click the Workflow tab
- Select the Approval Stage that you need to change this security for
- Click the wrench icon which appears where the small form icon shows in the image above
- Check the box next to the required security options
Note: If you're looking to allow users or groups to edit ALL responses, click the Security tab while editing the form and scroll to the bottom of the screen to grant permissions to selected users or groups:
Changes to Approval Managers
This is one of the most common changes that occur within Online Forms, and can cause issues with pending responses. It's important to note that changes to approval managers will only be reflected on new form submissions.
Examples of this could be:
- Approval Manager is gone - If they were the only approval manager within the workflow, you may see the response is stuck without an approval manager
- Approval Manager is unavailable - This typically comes up when an approval manager is on vacation and someone else is stepping in for them temporarily
- Groups instead of one Approval Manager - Where possible, utilize groups for approval managers as changes to their account status, or bringing in someone else can be handled at a higher level.
- If this group is used in various areas of the software, you only need to update the users within the group (either within the group in the intranet, or within the AD group) and it will be updated across all areas where this group is used.
- HR example - If you have 1 person in HR and they are included within multiple workflows, it's best to have an HR group with that 1 person. If they leave the company, you'll be adding someone else to this group which will update all workflows within the intranet automatically - this is especially helpful as it's not possible to transfer permissions or copy permissions from one user to another.
Note: Having a Group selected with 'Single Decision' marked as the decision type means only 1 user within the group is required to approve/decline the response.
- Admin Approval Override - Super Admins are able to override by default. Administrators can also be given this permission to individual forms (edit form > click workflow tab > advanced options > Admin Override > Save changes)
The ability to trigger workflow stages based on a field helps reduce redundant approval requirements for your form workflow process. Each workflow stage can have a single trigger applied to it.
Note: All workflow stages are applied to a form response once a user submits the response. If a form response is modified, workflow stages applied to the form response won't be changed. This will ONLY occur if the following conditions are met:
- All triggers have been met for the workflow stages prior to the form response being submitted
- For modified form responses: Workflow > Advanced Options > Restart Entire Workflow on Decline is enabled
- Form response has been declined to restart this workflow process
Due to the above reasons, it's recommended to enable 'Restart Entire Workflow on Decline' when you have conditional workflow.
- Wrench icon - this allows you to modify the workflow stage which includes adding a trigger
- Trigger requirements - Informs what causes the trigger to occur for this stage
- Red Asterisk - Indicates this stage has a trigger
- Field - Select the field you want to trigger this stage on
- Value - Select greater than, equal to, etc. based on when this stage needs to be triggered. Options will be limited based on the type of field selected.
- Number fields will give the option of equal to, not equal to, greater than, greater than or equal to, less than or equal to, less than.
- Multiple choice (i.e. dropdown, checkbox, radio button) will give the option of equal to, not equal to