Thursday, December 23, 2010

How To Create Polls Using Google Docs and Publish Results as Graphs

Google Docs can be used for conducting surveys and polls. The survey can be embedded on your website or the link to the survey can be shared directly with the persons you are surveying using email, Facebook, Twitter or any other mean. There are several services that let you conduct polls, but using Google Docs for your surveying needs has certain advantages.

  • It’s free.
  • It’s unlimited i.e. there is no restriction on the number of questions you can ask on your survey or the number of responses you can collect.
  • You get the results on a spreadsheet, which means you can apply all sorts of post-processing and analyzing upon the data.
  • You get to decide how or when to publish the results.

Below is a poll created using Google Docs.

And here is the result of the poll. (Javascript needed)

This tutorial will show you how to create similar polls for your own blog or website.

How to Create a Poll or Survey Using Google Docs

Open Google Docs and create a new Form.

1

After naming your form title, add your question and then under question type select multiple choice, or checkboxes or ‘choose from a list’ – anyone will do. Type the possible answers you would like people to pick from and then click Done. You can add as many questions and as many choices as you want, but keeping your poll short is essential or people will lose interest quickly.

2

Save the poll by clicking on the Save button on the top-right.

The link at the bottom of the page that says “You can view the published form here” will take you directly to the form or poll. If you want to embed the poll on your website, click the ‘More actions’ button next to the Save button and choose embed. Copy and paste the iframe code into your blog post or webpage.

How to Publish Results

Once your poll is live, you will see the responses appearing on a spreadsheet on Google Docs.

3

At this point, the spreadsheet is only collecting responses but not counting them. To generate counts for each answer, copy all possible answers to a blank column each. For example, I copied the first answer “Below 20” to D2, the second answer “Between 21-30” to E2 and so on.

4

Under the first title (Below 20) type =COUNTIF(B:B, "Below 20"). Do this under all titles you created, but replacing “Below 20” by the title of the column. For example, under the column “Between 21-30”, the formula I need to enter would be =COUNTIF(B2:B, "Between 21-30") and so on. After you hit enter you should see a number that shows how many times that possible answer has been voted for. All this is in real time so you never have to refresh the chart.

6

The next step is to create and publish a chart.

Highlight the possible answers under C, D, E, F....and so on and the number under it. Then click on the Chart button.

7

Google Docs will automatically suggest some chart type. You can go for vertical bar charts, or horizontal bar charts, or pie chart like I did. To publish a pie chart you have to check the box “Switch rows/columns”.

8

You can customize the chart color, add legend, add heading etc. Once you are done with editing, click on the chart to reveal a toolbar. Click on it to open a menu and choose the option “Publish Chart”.

9

Copy the code and paste it into your blog post or webpage. You might have to adjust the width and height of the chart so that it fits into the webpage. For this, look for the words “width” and “height” in the code and replace the values.

Alternative Way to Publish a Chart

If you want to publish the results as a webpage, click on the chart once again and from the menu choose “Move to own sheet”. This will move the chart to another sheet in the same workbook.

Click on the share button at the top of the spreadsheet and choose “Publish as webpage”.

Under ‘sheets to publish’ select “All sheets” and click the publish button. Under ‘get link to published data’ choose Webpage and Chart1 and get the link to the chart.

10

1 comment:

  1. Thanks - very easy to follow and apply, and extremely helpful.

    ReplyDelete

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