Automate PDF Generation: Export Google Form Responses to PDF and Simplify Your Workflow

July 3, 20230 CommentHow-To

If you’re searching for a method to automatically generate PDF documents based on responses from Google Forms, you’ve come to the right tutorial. In this guide, we will explore the capabilities of zenphi, a powerful no-code process automation platform built specifically for Google Workspace. Not only will we learn how to automatically export Google Form responses to PDF, but we’ll also discover how to save the generated files to Google Drive or Dropbox, and even send confirmation emails with the generated docs to respondents. You can either watch the video version below or continue with the step-by-step instructions provided after. Let’s get started and simplify your workflow!

Step 1: Set Up the Google Form

To begin, make sure you have a Google Form ready for collecting responses. For this tutorial, we’ll use the “Order Forms” template provided by Google. You can choose any template or create your own form. Just remember to enable the collection of email addresses under Form settings.

Step 2: Create an “Export Google Form Responses to PDF” Flow in zenphi

1. Open your zenphi account.

2. Create a new Space or open the existing one and create a new Flow.

 

A Flow is an automated workflow that consists of a Trigger and continues with the following Actions or Steps.

3. Select a Google Form trigger.

 

A Trigger is an event that initiates the automated Flow execution.

4. Name your Flow.

 

This is a Flow Designer where you put the building blocks of your workflow together.

Step 3: Configure the Trigger

1. Click on the Google Form trigger inside the Flow Designer to open the settings.

The demonstration of how to export google form responses to pdf by loading Google Form Controls.

 

Once you connect a Google Form, you’ll see the Form Controls list – these are all the responses that will be available with each form submission for you to use further in the Flow steps.

2. Establish a Connection with your Google Forms account by clicking on the ‘plus’ in the Connection field.

3. Click on the Drive icon under the Form File ID field and choose the Google Form you created in Step 1.

4. Save the Flow.

Step 4: Export Google Form Responses to PDF with Google Docs Template

1. Drag and drop the “Generate document using template” action from the Google Docs section.

2. Create a template in Google Docs that match the design you desire for the PDF document.

 

Include tokens within the template to represent the values from the form responses in the following format: {{value}}.

3. Go back to zenphi and configure the action by selecting the template and setting the destination folder for the generated documents.

4. Customize the document name using tokens or any desired value.

5. Switch on the “Generate PDF” option.

6. Map out the values using the Token picker.

The demonstration of how to export google form responses to pdf by mapping out the values in Google Doc action.

Once you indicate the Google Doc template, zenphi will automatically load all the placeholders where you can put tokens from the Google Form. Click on the Token picker in the Value fields and find the needed value from the Google Form response.

Step 5: Configure Format Date Time Action

With zenphi, customizing the date format is a breeze using the “Format Date Time” action. Simply input the Google Form token “Created Date” and select your preferred format.

Next, in the “Generate Document using template” action, specify the output from the “Format Date Time” action.

Step 6: Test the “Export Google Form responses to PDF” Flow

Firstly, save and Publish the Flow using the controls on the top panel.

There are two ways to test your Flow. First, you can submit a new response through the Google Form, which will trigger the Flow and execute all the actions. To monitor the progress, exit the Flow Designer and navigate to the Flow Recent Runs section.

Open the Flow Run details to see all the actions live.

Alternatively, if you already have existing responses in the Google Form, you can launch a Test Run in the Flow Designer. It’s important to note that during the Test Run, the Flow will run using real responses and carry out all the actions. To ensure data integrity, it’s recommended to use a test account when submitting responses in the Google Form.

 

If you launch a Test Run you can monitor the live progress in zenphi as it generates the document and saves it to the specified location.

After executing the Flow, you will discover two new documents in the designated Google Drive folder. One document will be in Google Doc format, while the other will be in PDF format. Both files will contain the generated content based on the Google Form responses.

Step 7: Working with the Collections

You might observe that certain values in the document appear within brackets. This occurs when respondents select multiple responses, such as in a checkbox question type, resulting in data being returned in a Collection format. With zenphi, a Collection is simply a group of information – in this case, multiple answers to the same question. To enhance the visual presentation of these values, we’ll employ another useful zenphi action called “Convert to Text.” This action will help us format the data in a more visually appealing manner.

1. Drag and drop the “Convert to text” action before the “Generate document” action in your Flow.

2. Specify the Collection you wish to convert. These collections are indicated in the token values within square brackets [ ].

3. Specify the separator you desire. For example, if you want the items in the collection to be separated by a comma and a space, enter these symbols as the separator.

4. Optionally, enable the options to exclude empty values and duplicates.

5. Save the changes to your Flow.

Make sure to add the “Convert to text” action for all the collections you want to format. In the “Generate Google Doc” action, include the output from the “Convert to text” action.

To ensure everything works as expected, run a new test using the instructions provided in Step 5.

Configure Additional Actions (Optional)

Depending on your requirements, you can add more actions to enhance the automation process. Here are a few examples:

1. Delete the generated Google Docs file after conversion to PDF to avoid cluttering your Google Drive;

The demonstration of how to export google form responses to pdf and delete the item.

 

Use the Delete Item action from the Google Drive section. In the File Id field, indicate the output from the Generate Document action.

2. Send an email with the generated PDF document as an attachment to the respondent;

The demonstration of how to export google form responses to pdf and send the confirmation email to the respondent.

 

Use the Send email action from the Gmail section. In the Attachments field, indicate the output from the Generate Document action.

3. Save the generated document using Dropbox – Save File action.

The demonstration of how to export google form responses to pdf and save the doc to Dropbox.

4. Organize the PDF files in folders based on the submission date by using a “Create Folder” action.

The demonstration of how to export google form responses to pdf and create a special folder to store it.

 

Use the values from the Google Form response to customize the Folder name. Indicate the Parent Folder if needed. Switch on the “Check If Exists” option.

5. Merge the attachments from the Google Form with the generated document and save it to Google Drive.

The demonstration of how to export google form responses to pdf and merge the generated document with attachment.

Use the “Merge Documents” action to combine the Form attachments with the generated document:

– Place the “Merge Documents” action after the “Generate document using template file” action.

– In the “Source Documents” field, specify the output of the generated document as well as the attachments obtained from the Google Form.

To save the merged document to Google Drive:

– Drag and drop the “Save File” action from the Google Drive section.

– Indicate the Folder ID that was obtained in the previous steps.

Conclusion

By following these simple steps, you can export Google Forms responses to PDF files and save them to your preferred cloud storage or send them to the respondents via email. The automation provided by zenphi streamlines the process, saving you time and effort on repetitive tasks. Enjoy the benefits of generating PDF documents with ease and efficiency!


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