3 Reasons to Use Predefined Content in Your Forms

Jan 19, 2017 | Form Design, Productivity, Tips and Best Practices, Web Form Creation

Form building can be a long, tedious process if you’re starting from scratch every single time. Writing out field labels, selecting the right validations, creating placeholder text and hints, configuring conditional fields, building out lists of options: all the time spent doing this can really add up and get in the way of your other work.

But most of that repetitive work isn’t really necessary, at least, if you know how to take advantage of FormAssembly’s predefined content feature.

If you have used predefined content, you’re probably nodding your head in agreement right now; if you haven’t used the predefined content feature yet, prepare to be blown away. (And be prepared to start creating forms way faster.)

The predefined content feature lets you create and save commonly used fields (in addition to offering several useful existing predefined fields and groups) so you can quickly insert them into your forms later on. It’s a great way to speed up the form building process if you’re using a lot of the same custom fields and groups of fields in your forms.

Here are the key things you need to know about predefined content:

1. Take Advantage of Existing Predefined Content

We really don’t expect you to have to enter every single state name if you’re including a state field in your forms. The same goes countries and provinces. People often need to include these fields in forms, which is why we made predefined content options for these fields that you can find already loaded and ready to go in your form builder.

These come in handy if you’re using forms that require people to include their address, such as an order form, event signup form, job application, or many other types of form. There are more than just lists in the existing predefined content. You’ll also find other common form fields and be able to insert them into your forms without having to select a field type, add the form label and decide on the validation type every time. Some of the predefined content fields you might want to try in your forms include:

  • First and last name
  • A date field with a pop-up calendar
  • A generic multiple choice field with an option for “Other”
  • Long or abbreviated groups of contact fields
  • A Likert Scale to record preferences along a scale from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”

Likert scales, and all of the predefined content we include in the form builder, can be made manually, but using the predefined version saves you a considerable amount of time. Browse through the predefined content options to see which ones you could use in your own forms.

2. Make Your Own Predefined Content

You can turn any field you create into a predefined content option. Keeping it organized is easy, as you can choose what category it falls under and delete it when you no longer have need of it. Better yet, creating new predefined content can fold seamlessly into the form creation process. If you create a field you think you might be able to use in other forms, a few clicks lets you name it and add it to predefined content.

3. Save Predefined Individual Fields or Groups of Fields

In addition to creating predefined fields and individual questions, you can also create groups of questions and save them to reuse in your forms. Predefined groups of content can contain any field you choose as well as any text or images you want to add to them.

How can you put this into practice? Job applications, for example, might contain a number of the same questions. Instead of creating those questions each time, you could create predefined groups of fields for the questions you ask every candidate and customize a job application with questions specific to the job.

There are just about limitless other examples of how you could use predefined content, but here are just a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Create standard groups of onboarding questions to include in client forms
  • Create a predefined menu with donation levels for your event or nonprofit organization
  • Create a Likert scale (start with the predefined option) feedback form that can be included at the bottom of order forms
  • Create a predefined set of checkboxes to let customers sign up for email newsletters of their choice.

Ready to get started with predefined content? You can learn more about it in our documentation or try it out for yourself in the form builder. Let us know how predefined content makes your form building experience better and faster. Have an idea we didn’t mention for using it in your forms? We’d love to hear about it on Twitter or in the comments below.

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