SpreadsheetConverter automatically sends submitted web forms to any Inbox. The basic service is free. You enter the e-mail address in the Configure Submit options on the Workbook tab in the task pane.

You can build web forms that automatically get sent to your e-mail Inbox every time someone uses the form. For a small monthly fee, you can also have each submitted form stored in a hosted database for later retrieval. Read more about our Free and Advanced Submit Services.

When you create a web form, you need to specify to which e-mail address each submitted form is to be sent. There are also many other powerful options that let you tailor the forms submission process to your requirements.

Preparing an electronic form

A web form’s submit options are on the Workbook tab in the task pane.

Switch to the SpreadsheetConverter ribbon

In Excel, look for the SpreadsheetConverter tab at the right end of the menu ribbon. Click the tab to switch to the SpreadsheetConverter ribbon.

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Open the SpreadsheetConverter task pane

In the SpreadsheetConverter ribbon, select Properties > Show so that the SpreadsheetConverter task pane becomes visible.

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Open the Workbook tab

In the SpreadsheetConverter Settings panel, select the Workbook tab so that the Workbook Settings become visible.

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Workbook > Toolbar > Select buttons to include

SpreadsheetConverter provides a number of different buttons you can use on a web form. The most important one is Submit, since this is the button that is used to send a completed form for processing. This checkbox should be checked for every electronic form.

Screenshot of the Toolbar settings on the Workbook tab

The Print button prints the current web form section/worksheet, and the PrintAll button prints the entire web form.

The Reset button empties all fields in the web form. Most users will consider this rather inconvenient so include this button only if this is a regular need among your users.

The Update button forces a recalculation of the spreadsheet. This button is only used when an ASP.Net server is used with manual recalculation and has no function otherwise.

Preferences > Customize Text

To change or translate any built-in texts used with your form, including the button texts, use Preferences > User Settings > Customize Text.

Screenshot of the Message Dialogs tab of the Customize Text section in the User settings

On the Message Dialogs tab, click on the arrows to expand the following sections:

  • Validation Message – these are the texts used for incorrect input.
  • Submit Dialog – these are the texts used when the Submit button has been pressed.
  • Offline Save – these are the texts used when a form is submitted offline.
  • Offline Submit – these are the text used when saved forms are sent when online again.
  • Offline Submit Fail – these are the texts used when the saved forms couldn’t be submitted.

Configure Submit

At the top  of the Workbook settings, there is a link for configuration of the forms submission process, i.e. how completed forms should be forwarded for processing. Follow this link to see the settings below.

Screenshot of the Configure Submit link on the Workbook tab

E-mail settings

Enter the e-mail address to which you want completed forms to be sent.

Screenshot of the e-mail address and service type in Configure Submit

Select the Advanced submit service if you have a trial or paid license for it, or select the Free submit service that is always free with your SpreadsheetConverter license. The main difference between the two is that the Advanced service stores each form in a database, and formats the e-mail you get for each form submission exactly like the web form.

If you have a license for the Advanced service, select the Secure Delivery option if you want the e-mail to contain just a link to the received form. This protects the form contents and any file attachments behind an additional login, making the e-mail you receive for the form look like this:

Screenshot of the e-mail from the Advanced Submit Service that contains just a link thanks to Secure Delivery

We recommend that you always use Secure Delivery if you allow file attachments for the form. Otherwise, file attachments are included in the e-mail with the completed form, which may cause problems if the files are very large.

If you just want a one-time demonstration of what an e-mail from the Advanced submit service looks like, select Demonstration. Instead of being sent to your Inbox, a copy of the e-mail will open directly in your web browser every time you submit a new form.

“After submit” links

After a form has been submitted, a “Thank you” window is displayed. Like all other standard texts, you can change or translate the text in this window using the Configure Text setting described above.

If you want to provide a full thank-you-page of your own, e.g. to provide conversion tracking, enter its address in the After successful submit field. Click the button to the right of this field to verify that the address is correct; if it is, the page will open in your web browser.

Screenshot of the After submit links in Configure Submit

You can also provide your own handling for submissions where our server failed to receive or e-mail you the data. This can only happen when our server is stopped for some reason. The After failed submit link should point to a page that recommends the user to wait for ten minutes and then try again.

If a data entry wizard layout is used for a multi-sheet workbook, you can provide a Cancel button in the wizard that allows the user to leave the form without submitting it. In the After cancel in the wizard field, enter the address of the web page you want the user to arrive at after having pressed Cancel, e.g. a page where you attempt to convince the user to complete the survey anyway.

Use a better subject in the e-mail for each form

When forms are submitted, you will get one e-mail for each form. These e-mails will have a standard subject line, identifying each form with a sequence number.

Screenshot of an e-mail Inbox with sequentially numbered form submissions

In many cases, it is much easier to find the right form among all the e-mails if you provide a better visual identification for the form, e.g.

  • the customer’s name
  • the city
  • and the street address.

To accomplish this you must first prepare the entire subject line you wish to use for each e-mail in a separate cell in the spreadsheet, using a formula like this:

=cust_name & " " & cust_city & " " & cust_street1

E-mail subject lines don’t have to be unique in any way, so it’s no problem if there will be several forms with the same subject. A customized subject line is probably much more useful than our standard sequence number anyway.

Assuming you have put the above formula in cell A8 of the spreadsheet, you can now use the Manage the email subject line setting to replace the standard e-mail subject with your own. Just click on the Select Cell button, then select cell A8 in Excel.

When you’re done, it will look something like this:

Screenshot of the E-mail subject setting in Configure Submit

There is also a shorthand notation: just give cell A8 the reserved name subject to assign the same setting.

Send the form to additional recipients, e.g. the submitter

By default, each submitted form is sent to the Form Recipient, i.e. the e-mail address you entered into the Configure Submit settings above.

You can also send a copy of the submitted form to the person submitting the form – we call this the Form Submitter – or to any other e-mail address available in the spreadsheet. All you need to do is to designate a cell in the spreadsheet where the user is required to enter a valid e-mail address, and a copy of the submitted form will be sent also to the e-mail address in this field.

We recommend that you always use the Email widget for e-mail address fields since it automatically validates the syntax of the address and can make the field mandatory. As an example, if the submitter’s e-mail address is in cell A7 of the spreadsheet, you can now use this in the Send copy of email of submitted form to the submitter setting to provide an additional e-mail address. Just click on the Select Cell button, then select cell A7 in Excel.

When you’re done, it will look something like this:

Screenshot of the Copy to submitter section of the Configure Submit settings

There is also a shorthand notation: just give cell A7 the reserved name email to assign the same setting.

Sending e-mails between Form Submitter and Form Recipient

When a form contains an email field, it becomes easy for the person that submitted the form to communicate with the recipient, and vice versa.

  • If the Form Recipient replies to the received form, the reply is sent to the Form Submitter e-mail address. This makes it easy for the recipient to follow-up on form submissions and ask additional questions.
  • If the Form Submitter replies to the e-mail with the submitted form, this response is sent to the Form Recipient. This makes it easy for the submitter to provide additional information.

Use your own script for SpreadsheetConverter forms

If you prefer to use your own script to process each submitted web form, enter a link to that script in the URL field.

Screenshot of the I have my own script setting in Configure Submit

If a worksheet contains two input fields, “cust_name” and “cust_city”, the values in these two fields are appended to the link to your script, making it look like this:

http://example.com/sscform.php?xl_version=16.0.0&cust_name=Microsoft%20Corp&cust_city=Seattle

Data is encoded according to the HTTP Post standards, e.g. a space is represented as “%20”. Please contact our support department if you need help on how to decode the query string of an HTTP Post operation.

The following parameters will be available to your script in the query string:

  • xl_version=16.0.0 – identifies the file format
  • (name1)=(value1) where (name1) is the name assigned to the first input cell in the form and (value1) is the content of that cell
  • (name2)=(value2) the name and content of the second input field in the form
  • etc

Only the form fields that are open for input are sent to the script. If there are 22 input fields in a form, there will be 22 name-value-pairs in the query string of the link to your script, plus one for the xl_version.

If you intend to use this feature, you should assign names to all the input cells in the form. Otherwise, SpreadsheetConverter has to refer to cells with an internal Excel coding that is based on the rows and columns of the original spreadsheet. Please contact our support department if you need help decoding this format.

Special functions

Our form solutions provide lots of added value:

  • You can lock or hide form fields.
  • You can make form fields mandatory.
  • You can validate most common field formats like dates, numbers and e-mail addresses.
  • All named cells can be pre-filled from the link to the form, e.g. /form.htm?email=x@y.z&subject=Application.

Read more in the tips and tricks section.

Known issues

Sending electronic forms from a web browser to a web server and then on to an e-mail client has a few known issues.

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