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Using Form-Based Worksheets

The basic style of Worksheets within CoachAccountable is as a Word doc that is freely editable, both by coach creating the worksheet, and client filling it out.

But with Form-Based Worksheets, coach can create Worksheets with the free style editability of a Word doc BUT with form elements interspersed, which in turn are specifically what a client is meant to fill out.

“Form elements” refers to check boxes, radio buttons, drop down menus, text boxes, signature areas, image prompts, and computed values.

Let’s see how this works.


Worksheet Toolbar

That little guy, fifth in from the right.

When creating a Worksheet you’ll find the WYSIWYG editor toolbar has a button for adding inputs: the one with the little check box and radio button.  Give this a click and you’re presented with an interface for adding in your input of choice, either a text box, text area, dropdown menu, checkboxes, radio buttons, image prompt, or computed value:

This looks like a lot, but really, it’s quite manageable.

The first option you are presented with is the most important:

Let’s make a simple text box for people to type in their answer to the question “How do you feel about form-based worksheets?”:

Add a simple text field

Notice the validation option we picked: that this input must have something typed in.  By doing this the user is prevented from marking this worksheet complete so long as this input is left blank, and presents them with the message “Please, we’d love to know how these make you feel.” if they try to.

Of special note: hitting the “Insert” button ONLY adds the input into our worksheet.  It’s up to us to put the actual question that the input is for into the worksheet template.  (This is nice in that it gives us a lot of flexibility to format questions any which way we please around the form inputs.)

In this case we’ll type it in first and then add the simple text box right after, like so:

We’re off to a nice start.  Now let’s ask another question by which the user will answer by using a dropdown menu:

Create a Dropdown Question

Note the 40% width, which allows this item to sit on the same line as the question.

Here’s what that leaves us with:

Lookin’ good.  Again here we pick a validation rule, “Must choose something other than the first item.”  We put a “Please choose….” option for the first item, which is what shows (and is selected) by default when the user first starts the worksheet.  That validation rule means they have to pick some item from the dropdown menu other than that first one, and they’ll be asked to “Please indicate your level of stokedness.” if they try to submit without doing so.

Right then, let’s put in a question asking “What might you use these for in your coaching?”, and present the user with some options.  We’ll use check boxes, since the user might want to indicate a few of them:

We pick 50% to let the 4 options all nicely fit on two rows.

We type the question and insert those check boxes, which give us the following:

Let’s now add a radio button choice and a comment box to wrap up.  We’ll type “How much do you agree with the following: ‘These are super useful.'” and “Please add any other comments about this:” into our template and then insert the appropriate form inputs to match:

100% width means each item takes up a full line, making the options stack vertically.

Our placeholder text invites feedback in an enthusiastic but non-pushy way.

Here’s the result with our 5 inputs in place:

This’ll get us some unbiased feedback, right?

Cool, good to go.  Let’s add a little intro text, hit save, and then assign this to one of our clients!

This works just like assigning a regular worksheet.

When your client moves to fill it out, instead of the usual WYSIWYG editor they’ll be presented with your form rendered out, with real inputs ready for them to fill in.  There is the crucial distinction here, so let’s spell it out:

  • No form inputs in the worksheet template you’ve assigned?  Then this is a freestyle worksheet like a Word or Google Drive doc for your client to fill out, and they’ll be given the WYSIWYG editor with full editability.
  • One or more form inputs in the worksheet?  That kicks it into “form” mode, meaning your client WON’T have the WYSIWYG experience of filling it out, but rather be presented with the form inputs only to fill in.

Here’s what our worksheet in form mode looks like to your client:

Buttons and inputs, just begging to be filled in by your clients.

If they try to submit the worksheet without passing the validations you set for each of the inputs, they’ll be lovingly given a notification with the message you set:

“Ah, right! I forgot to indicate precisely how stoked I am!” thought probably no one, ever.

Once completed, the worksheet as filled-out goes into the client record under the Notes and Stream tabs, and is emailed right off to you as usual:

Fun fact: Gmail for whatever reason replaces the “chosen radio button” symbol with a big, orange target-looking icon. Sigh, at least it’s crystal clear which option your client picked.

You’ll notice we’ve got a couple other form-based inputs to choose from:

  • Signature Area (a box for the client to physically sign in)
  • Image Prompt (a place clients can upload one or more images as an answer to a question)
  • Computed Values (some basic formulas that can auto-calculate from other fields in your Worksheet).

And that’s all there is to it.  Adding one or more form inputs turns a worksheet into a form-based worksheet, which drastically alters your client’s experience of filling it out.  For each of your worksheet templates you have the choice of making it WYSIWYG style or form-based, whichever is more appropriate to the substance of that worksheet.





  1. John F

    Hi John and team. I love these forms within worksheets. But how can I further customize the forms to display another question only if someone responds “yes” (in whatever way, a radio button, a check box, a drop down box) to the question before it? In other words, is there a way for a non-geek CA user to design a form with dynamic content?
    If not, how about a geek? Of course there is code behind each worksheet, so it could be modified for this? I’d like to know how if that’s the only way. Thanks!

    August 21, 2019 @ 4:39 pm

  2. Morgan

    Hey John, that dynamic form setup is not currently available within CoachAccountable. Your vote in favor of potentially developing it is noted, though!

    September 2, 2019 @ 2:31 pm