It is entirely possible that Google Forms is the most widely used form builder available today. Given the many benefits of Google Forms, the application’s immense popularity shouldn’t come as a surprise.
However, like any application, there are some notable disadvantages of Google Forms as well. There are certainly drawbacks to Google Forms that you should be aware of before deciding if the application is the best solution for your organization.
In this post, you can discover the most noteworthy advantages and disadvantages of Google Forms so that you can make an informed decision about moving forward with the platform.
Let’s start with the positives, shall we?
Summary: Google Forms Pros and Cons
|Pros ✅||Cons ❌|
|Convenience: Anyone with a Google Account already has access to Google Forms.||
Only capable of building surveys and questionnaires: not versatile
|Super easy to use||
Doesn’t include some of the features you get with paid form builders
Lack of integrations with third-party tools
|Easily collaborate with colleagues with Google Accounts to build forms||
Basic reporting and analytics
Create unlimited forms
Strong features like the file upload element
Multiple ways to distribute your forms
Integrated with other Google applications such as Google Sheets
Possibly the greatest benefit of Google Forms is the convenience factor.
Google Forms is included in Google Workspace, which is basically a suite of free Google applications that includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, and more. To access Google Forms and these other applications you simply need a Google account.
Chances are that you already have a Google account, and if you don’t, it takes about 3 minutes to set one up.
Once you sign up for a Google account, you can access Google Forms from your web browser.
No need to download software onto your computer.
No need to talk to a salesperson or onboarding specialist to get started.
Suffice to say that Google Forms is extremely accessible and convenient to use. Assuming that you already have a Google Forms account, you can start building a form in seconds.
Ease of Use
One of Google Forms’ advantages is the application is incredibly easy to use.
Like most other Google applications, Google Forms is designed to be accessible to the masses. That being said, you don’t need any technical skills such as coding to make the most of Google Forms. If you are technically adept enough to create a Google account, chances are that you won’t have a problem making use of Google Forms.
With such a small learning curve, it can be easy for you and your entire team to get acclimated to Google Forms in no time at all.
Of all the Google Forms benefits, possibly what makes Google Forms so attractive is that it’s 100% free.
As mentioned, in order to access Google Forms, you simply need a Google account, and you can sign up for a Google account completely for free.
Unlike other form builders, there isn’t a paid version of Google’s product. All the features that Google Forms has to offer are included in the free product.
However, to be fair, by getting a paid Google Workspace account, you get some additional benefits that can enhance your Google Forms. For instance, with paid Google Workspace accounts you get extra storage (allowing your to create even more forms, and collect more submissions), brandable themes (allowing you to brand your forms with your company’s logo), and more.
For more information, refer to our post on Google Forms pricing.
Collaboration with Colleagues
The beauty of Google applications is that when you and other team members have Google accounts, you can easy share and collaborate on applications such as Google Forms.
By giving editor access to a Google Form to colleagues, your entire team can:
- Build forms together
- Distribute forms to your audience
- View Google Form submissions
In turn, if you have a team that is interested in building surveys and viewing the results all from one platform, Google Forms is an excellent application for your team to utilize.
This feature also makes Google Forms an excellent choice for educators. Teachers can administer Google Forms quizzes to students and collect their responses for easy grading– simply change your Google Form to a quiz and it will auto-grade scores for you. The benefits of Google Forms in the classroom are numerous.
Most paid form builders limit the number of forms you can create on each paid plan. For instance, with Jotform, you can create up to 5 forms with the free version, up to 25 forms with the bronze plan ($24/month), up to 50 forms with the silver plan ($29/month), and up to 100 forms with the gold plan ($79/month).
You can probably imagine that if you want to create numerous forms or surveys with a paid form builders solution, you may have a shell out a good amount of money to do so.
Not with Google Forms though. Unlike most form builder solutions, with Google Forms, you can build unlimited forms completely for free.
Google Forms has numerous features that you would expect to get with most paid form builders.
A few Google Forms features include:
Multiple question types: Google Forms allows you to create multiple question types including multiple-choice, check boxes, linear scale, short answer, paragraph, multiple choice grid, and checkbox grid. The numerous options allow you to truly customize your form as you wish.
File upload field: Allow respondents to upload documents or images through your Google Forms. This can be a powerful feature for collecting resumes, job applications, essays, tests, or other documents
Conditional logic: Conditional logic allows you to design your form so respondents get served certain questions based on their responses to previous questions. For instance, if a respondent chooses option A, they will get served question 2 but if they choose option B they will get served question 3.
These are all powerful features that you can, fortunately, access for free.
Multiple Distribution Options
Creating a form is one thing, but distributing your form to respondents is another, and it’s just as important.
Fortunately, Google Forms gives you multiple options for distributing your form to an audience. Google Forms allows you to email your form to respondents, copy a link to share your Google form, embed your Google Form on web page, or share your Google Form on social media (Facebook and Twitter).
Part of Google’s Ecosystem
Keep in mind that Google Forms is just one of the many applications in Google workspace. Not only that but in many ways, Google Forms is interconnected with many of the other applications in Google Workspace.
For one, you and your team members can access and collaborate on all your Google Forms through Google Drive.
Additionally, you can export data on respondent submissions via Google Sheets. In Google Sheets, you can get a run down of who submitted a form, as well as the responses of each respondent.
Not only that but you can also get notifications via your Gmail account whenever a teammate suggests an edit to a Google form or when a respondent submits a form.
Google Forms Disadvantages
Not Super Versatile
One of the biggest Google Forms drawbacks is that the types of forms you can build out are relatively limited.
Google Forms is really good for surveys and questionnaires. It is designed for you to add a series of questions one after the other.
However, Google Forms isn’t the best tool for creating applications, lead generation forms, payment forms, or other types of forms. Google Forms simply doesn’t have the functionality to build out a variety of forms.
That being said, if you are interested in building out more than just surveys, consider moving forward with a paid form builder.
For a free solution, Google Forms has a lot to offer. Nevertheless, compared to paid form builder solutions, Google Forms’ features are lacking. A few of the features that you get with most paid form builders that you don’t get with Google Forms include:
A wide variety of form templates: While Google Forms has a few templates to offer, the selection is not super extensive.
Payment gateway elements: A staple feature of paid form builders is the ability to accept online payments through forms. This is not something that Google Forms offers.
Advanced conditional logic: While Google Forms does have conditional logic, it is extremely basic compared to the sophisticated conditional logic capabilities of paid solutions. With other solutions, you can take advantage of sophisticated branching logic.
However, this is just scratching the surface. There are certainly other features that most paid form builders offer that Google Forms lacks.
Limited Design Customizability
With Google Forms, you have very limited control over the design of your forms.
You can change the color scheme of your forms. However, beyond that there isn’t much else you can do. You cant change the layout, or style of the forms at all.
This might not be such a bad thing if you are content with the look of Google Forms. After all, these forms have a nice minimalistic and modern feel. However, the design is very recognizable. Anyone who knows of Google Forms can recognize one of these forms from a mile away.
That being said, in order to make your form unique, stylistic, and perhaps a bit more professional-looking, consider moving forward with a paid form builder solution.
Lack of Integrations
While Google Forms fits right in with all the other applications in the Google Workspace ecosystem such as Google Sheets and Gmail, it doesn’t have native integrations with third-party applications.
Now to be fair, Google Workspace add-ons allow you to purchase third-party applications that can be used in conjunction with Google Forms. However, these add-on are merely extensions that aid or enhance Google applications in one way or another.
To integrate with an email marketing platform or analytics tool, you would need to use a third-party tool like Zapier. Using a connector like Zapier may suffice, but most people prefer the security and simplicity of a direct integration.
For direct integrations to other marketing tools you might be using, a paid form builder might make sense.
Limited Reporting and Analytics
One of Google Forms’ limitations is the reporting and analytics. While Google Forms gives you a nice breakdown of the responses to questions in your survey, the reporting is not nearly as comprehensive as that of other software like SurveyMonkey.
With many paid solutions you can see the breakdown of how long it takes respondents to answer questions, where in the world respondents are from, and much more. Often you can customize charts and graphs to visualize data collected, which is something you can’t do with Google Forms.
Not only that but many solutions allow you to export prebuilt presentations of all the data collected from a survey.
Taking an honest look at the advantages and disadvantages of Google Forms is critical when deciding if the application is best for you.
However, while it’s important to understand the benefits of Google Forms, it’s particularly important to know about the limitations of Google Forms. Perhaps the most glaring downside of Google Forms is how relatively simple the form builder is.
For those that aren’t particularly technically adept, or for those that simply want a simple, free form builder without all the bells and whistles offered by paid solutions, Google Forms is a great choice. However, for those that need more advanced features, integrations, design customizability, and more control in general over the form building process, a paid solution may be your best bet.
Nevertheless, free is free. Test out Google Forms at no cost at all to see if it will work for your purposes.