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by Ray Carlson

Q. I chair a committee and continually receive complaints from one member. I would like to get reactions from other members to the issues this one person raises. I recently received an email survey that was done using Google Docs and thought it might be an easy way to get input from the group. How do I do that?

A. Google Drive is a free on-line program that allows a person to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and forms. You can download and register here. You are asking about the part of Google Docs that creates forms or surveys that people can be asked to answer through email. It is becoming increasingly popular as people recognize its ease of use and flexibility. You can chose from several backgrounds, several types of questions, and even add pictures or videos. In addition to input from committee members, it has been used for a variety of purposes including requesting feedback from clients or parents of students, getting participation from people attending a presentation and allowing people to sign up for an event or potluck.

The problem is that Google Drive only offers limited instructions on how to use their programs. To correct for this, a new website, DriveTips, was developed. That site is free and offers answers to over a hundred questions about how to do tasks associated with using the Google Drive programs. Your question is addressed here. Google offers its own help page for this task here. These pages describe how to create the form, indicate email addresses of those who should receive the survey and set up a document such as a spreadsheet that will collect the responses you receive.

There are a variety of alternatives to Google forms for creating online surveys. Visit Labnol for comments about eight choices. Others like Zoho and SurveyMonkey work well but are only free if you limit the number of questions and responses.

Published: Courier 10/12/14 - Page 3D