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Google Forms Question Formatting Tips

Creating a basic Form is simple, but there are tricks that users can employ to finesse their Google Forms for a more professional look which is also more functional.  Formatting questions with an eye towards how the Form data will be summarized is key.

Google Forms Question Formatting Tips

Question Title & Description

Making use of both the “Question Title” and “Description fields” provides for a cleaner Form and makes viewing and managing responses much easier.  That’s because the Question Title serves as the column header in the responses spreadsheet as well as the labels for any data summary graphs.  Limit the “Question Title” to a key word or words or even a question number. Then toggle on the “Description” field to provide a more detailed question that contains more text. Form respondents will see both the Question Title and Description information. Below you can see where these fields are when you are editing your Form. To toggle on the “Description” field, click the 3 dots in the bottom right corner of the question you are editing.

Google Forms question title and description formatting

When participants of your survey visit the Form online, they will see both the “Question Title” and “Description” fields, like you see in the example below.  Note that the Question Title is larger text and appears first, while the Description displays below in smaller, standard font.

Question Title & Description View

Data Validation

Data validation allows you to set rules for how people respond to your questions. Examples of uses for data validation include questions requesting a email or phone number, where you want to be sure responses are in the correct format. Tired of asking students to respond in complete sentences and getting one word answers? You can set a minimum number of characters for a response. Asking respondents to “choose your top 3 selections” and want to be sure they pick EXACTLY three? Data validation can be used in all of these scenarios! The specific options for data validation vary based on the question type you select.

Google Forms Data Validation formatting tips

To enable Data Validation, click the three dots at the bottom right corner of the question editor box. Click to select “Data Validation” (1). Choose the data type (2) from the list (NOTE: options differ based on question type). Based on your choice, you then select the format or accepted range for the response (3) and can add a message that can appear for the user if they incorrectly respond (4).  Here are some common uses for Data Validation:

Email address – Choose Text (2) — Email Address (3) and enter a message to notify respondents that they need to provide a valid email address.

Phone Number – Choose Regular Expression (C) –> Contains (D) –> then insert the following expression in (E) “Pattern” box

For US Phone Numbers: ^[2-9]\d{2}-\d{3}-\d{4}$

More Regular Expressions – Looking for more options for data validation? Read more about Regular Expressions on Google’s Support Page on this topic HERE.

Check out my related videos — Google Forms Playlist

One comment

  1. Great article. Here are some other great regular expression validations:

    To ensure users enter a specific email domain (if they don’t have Google Apps for Edu):


    This will only allow email address with @mydomain.com to be entered.

    Canadian Postal Code (eg. T5J 4S2)


    Limit the number of characters in a field to 75:


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