Online Form Builders

Service Description

Online form builders allow the user to create and deliver web-based forms. Though there are a variety of free or paid tools for creating online forms, CIS supports two main platforms: Formstack and Google Forms (an application in Google Workplace). While these tools are approximately equivalent for simple applications such as satisfaction surveys or RSVP forms, we have specific recommendations based on the purpose and design of the form.

In general, we recommend using Google Forms for simple or informal surveys on campus. These forms are fairly easy to build and distribute, and they have many of the same capabilities of Formstack. Additionally, while Formstack imposes a limit on how many forms we can create across campus, no such limit exists for Google Forms. However, there are cases where Formstack may be more appropriate.

You should use Formstack when:

  • The form will collect payment information (HMC’s institutional Formstack account is PCI compliant)
  • The form will require heavy use of form logic, i.e. changing the content or organization of the form depending on user responses

You should use Google Forms when:

  • The form will be fairly simple (no form logic or payment information required)
  • You want to edit the form collaboratively with other users
  • You want to limit form access to HMC users or record the HMC usernames of form respondents

If you are planning to use forms for formal academic research, it may be worth purchasing an account with Qualtrics or another survey tool provider. While CIS does not provide Qualtrics accounts, individuals or small groups may acquire these accounts independently. Please consult with the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness for further recommendations.

If you are using online forms to capture data that is FERPA protected, please be cognizant of how the data is stored and shared with other users. Not all forms or form builders will necessarily be FERPA compliant. For more information on FERPA, please contact the Office of the Registrar.


Available to faculty, students, staff, alumni, and emeritus at HMC.

How to Access the Service

To use Google Forms, login to HMC Google Workplace website, then navigate to Forms using the Apps menu in the top-right corner. You may need to click the “More” button at the bottom of the menu to see Forms.

To use Formstack, visit the Formstack website. Formstack uses its own standalone credentials. Please send an email to to request Formstack support.

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