Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

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Saturday, 1 April 2017

Google Forms - can I customise the notification email alerts? Help needed

SOLVED hooray.

Here's how I solved it, below is the original problem.

I used a Google Forms add-on Email notifications for forms, which has worked beautifully - info and instructions here, and in brief below. To do this with ease I needed to revert to the old* style of Forms, to do this click on the ? mark at the bottom right of the form and choose the 'Back to the old Forms' option.

  • Install the add-on from the add-on page itself (click 'Free', top right), a blank new form will appear which you can ignore and then a pop-up will appear asking you to confirm that it can interact with your account, I said 'yes'.
  • Once it's added you'll have a new field in your Add-ons menu, on old forms it looks like this

On new forms it looks like this, but when I clicked on it there was no sign of the already added add-on, instead it offered me a range of add-ons I could search, hence my disenthusiasm for new forms.

  • Click on it and go through the steps, I left it mostly at the default settings. If you have several forms make sure you give each one a different name so that you can manage the emails when they arrive.
Resulting emailed notification looks like this

*I find the new version very fiddly and unintuitive and spend too much time clicking on all the buttons and options to find the hidden item I want that's explicitly already on the page on 'old' forms. Who needs it.

My original question, now solved.

I have several work-related Google Forms which invite teachers to sign up for various things. Each time a teacher fills in a form their data is automatically stored in a Google Sheet and I get an email telling me that there's a new entry. Someone else set these up and I inherited them when they left.

Up until a few months ago these notification alert emails were useful and informative (image one), but now they look more like the second image, and are useless.

The old style of email notification, with actually useful information in it

The considerably less useful type of email alert I get now

It turns out that it's not possible to set up a notification from the forms only from the sheet - this may be something to do with the 'new' Google Forms as opposed to the old 'Legacy' version. I have been surprised to read various helpfiles telling me that it can't be done when, for months, I've been receiving them - but they mysteriously stopped in November 2016 and I've been trying to work out how to get them back. Now that I've got them I'm not awfully impressed.

I've tried adding 'add-ons' but have got nowhere with them. Is there a simple way of fixing this? I can't believe that anyone would find the info in the current notification emails an improvement on the previous one, surely everyone else is whining about this? Or is it that the person who set it up initially knew something that I didn't and have done some clever thing that I can't replicate.

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