Getting Things Done and Organized With Google Spreadsheets and Forms

Example of a Google Docs spreadsheet PDA

  • Create a new spreadsheet
  • Create headers across the top – you can format the text and background color if you like.
  • I used Subject, Date, Notes, Details
  • At the bottom of the screen you will see a tab for the sheet you are working on..  If you click it you have several editing choices, including delete, duplicate, rename, and move right or left.  For now you might want to rename it work.
  • Now click again and duplicate it (I did this twice) You now have three sheets with the same headers and you can now click on and rename the other two sheets.  I have named my sheets Work, Home, Ideas.
  • Now here is where it gets fun
  • You could just enter information directly into the spreadsheet but with Google Docs you can create a form that will make it easier to quickly enter data and have it automatically update in the spreadsheet.
  • We will create a separate form for each sheet and show you how you can use those links to populate your spreadsheet PDA
  • Click on the tab for one of the sheets so you will have that sheet open.
  • You should see a row of light blue tabs across the top of the document – click the tab for Form
  • Click create a form
  • A new page will open with your form already created according to the column headers you used in your spreadsheet.
  • As you move your mouse cursor over each field in your form you will see that you can edit that individual field, you can move it, you can even add or delete questions.  Just remember that what you do on the form will be reflected on the spreadsheet.  If you delete a field it will no longer exist on the spreadsheet either.  A good rule of thumb is that the form is “the boss” of the spreadsheet.
  • Now choose “next choose recipients”  You can put in your own email address and if you look on the right you will see a note saying that if you have trouble viewing or submitting this form, you can fill it out online and there will be a link.  This is the link you want to save as a shortcut on your desktop.  You can change the name of the link to make it easier to find.  On a PC you will right click on the shortcut and choose rename.  If you use something like @Home the @ sign will cause it to be near the top if you arrange you icons in alphabetical order.  On a Mac you will control-click the shortcut and choose info. There will be a field where you can change the name.

This would work for a student organizer – just change the column headings to something like assignment, due date, teacher/professor, class period, notes/resources. 

A couple of modifications and you can share and collaborate so now you have an online project management system.

You can also click publish – this gives you an embeddable link and an RSS feed so you can subscribe to your own list.
Choose more publishing options and click in the drop down box and choose HTML to embed in a webpage.  You can also choose which sheets and even which cells to show.  The will generate some HTML that you can paste into your blog.  Pay attention to the sizes shown in the HTML.  If you paste it and find it is bigger than the space provided in the webpage you can usually adjust those numbers to make it fit.

I hope this is useful to you!

I have only included a form that adds information to one sheet.

Addendum: I cannot get the embedded form to work.  I can use the form I created from my desktop or via my email so for the time being look at the above images as screenshots and don’t be afraid to follow the steps to create one to play with yourself.