How to Make a Multiple Choice Grid in Google Forms

/ 9 min read
Eliza Frakes

Some questions can’t be boiled down into a standard multiple choice format. When you need a bit more nuance than options A, B or C can provide, you may be in the market for a multiple choice grid question.

Luckily, a multiple choice grid is one of the few field types natively available in Google Forms. But even though they’re available, they can be tricky to understand, and trickier yet to master.

In this post, we’ll show you step-by-step how to create a multiple-choice grid in Google Forms, and offer a simpler, more streamlined alternative.

What is a multiple choice grid?

A multiple choice grid, also known as a matrix field, allows you to ask multiple questions that all share the same potential answers.

It does this by listing the questions or topics as rows, and the potential answers as columns, and asking respondents to select the appropriate intersection.

Let's say you want feedback on your retail business. You'll want to find out what people think of the experience overall, but you might also want to get context into specific aspects, like the checkout process and in-store cleanliness.

That's where a multiple choice grid comes in. With one in place, you can group questions on a certain topic or theme into sections, so the data you receive is more specific and actionable.

Screenshot of sample customer feedback form made with Google Forms(Image Source: Google Forms)

Multiple choice grids aren’t just great for customer service surveys. They come in handy for any field that requires respondents to select one option from a list of predetermined choices, like sign-up sheets or true/false questions.

What’s the difference between a multiple choice grid and a multiple choice checkbox?

There are only 11 types of questions available in Google Forms, and two of these fields look nearly identical: the multiple choice grid and the checkbox grid. For form building newcomers and pros alike, it can be difficult to understand the difference.

The major difference between these two key features is that you can't limit responses to one choice per row with a checkbox. You can with a grid.

  • When to use checkbox questions: These are perfect for "select all that apply" scenarios, like preference forms, demographic questions, or detailed surveys. They’re a great way to allow respondents to choose every appropriate answer, rather than having to pick just one.
  • When to use multiple choice grids: These are best for questions that require only one answer in order to make sense, like most quizzes, customer feedback forms, or rating scales.

How to create a multiple choice grid in Google Forms

Making a multiple choice grid in Google Forms can be intimidating, especially if you're unfamiliar with how and when to use the field.

1. Add the Multiple choice grid

To get started, navigate to Google Forms. You can make your form from scratch or choose a Google Form template.

Once your form is open in the editor, select Add question from the sidebar on the right. This will add a blank question field to your form. You can label your question by clicking on the text box.

By default, your question will be set to multiple choice. To change this, head to the drop-down menu and select Multiple choice grid from the list. This will break up your question into rows and columns.

Screenshot of dropdown menu in Google Forms(Image Source: Google Forms)

2. Setup your rows and columns

To make use of this field type, you have to understand what information should be displayed in rows and what belongs in columns. Questions or topics belong in rows and answers belong in columns.

For this example, we’ll be using the multiple choice grid to create a customer satisfaction survey. We’ll put the aspects of the customer service journey we need feedback on in rows and the rating system in columns.

To start, simply select row 1 and type your first grid item. From there, select Add row to add and label as many topics as you need.

Screenshot of sample multiple choice grid question in Google Forms(Image Source: Google Forms)

You add columns in the same way— just select add column and label each answer option individually.

You don’t need to have the same number of rows as columns—although it is best to keep your numbers to a minimum to avoid overwhelming your respondents.

💡 Tip: If you need more than five rows or columns, consider splitting up your question into multiple fields.

3. Configure your settings

You can alter the settings of your multiple choice grid by selecting the three dot menu at the bottom right-hand corner of the field.

From here you can add a description to your question, randomise the row order, or choose to limit your responses to one choice per column.

To make sure you get all the customer feedback you need, toggle the require a response in each row switch to on. This will require respondents to rate every topic in your grid before submitting their form responses.

Here you can also choose to limit responses to one answer per row/column, and randomise the row order.

For our survey, we want users to give one response per row, but we don’t want to limit folks to one answer per column. This is so respondents can answer each sub-topic, and rate each topic similarly. We've also added a description to give context.

Screenshot of configuration menu in Google Forms(Image Source: Google Forms)

💡 Tip: If you find that the multiple choice grid is too restrictive for your use case, you may be better off with the multiple choice checkbox.

4. Preview your multiple choice grid

Before you set your form live, select the eye icon from the top right of the form editor to preview it.

You’ll want to make sure your form settings are correct, your question is labelled correctly, and that you’ve included any necessary instructions in your description.

Final Google Forms multiple choice grid question(Image Source: Google Forms)

And that’s it! Your multiple-choice grid is ready to start gathering valuable data. If you want to alter your form, add conditional logic, or close your Google Form at a specific date, just hop back into the editor.

Challenges of making a multiple choice grid in Google Forms

There are two main challenges you’ll bump into when making a matrix field in Google Forms: the field itself is overused because there are so few field types available, and the mobile optimisation is non-existent.

1. Multiple choice grids are cut off on mobile

Over 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices—more than desktops and tablets combined. If you’re making forms, they have to look great on a phone.

Unfortunately, multiple choice grids made with Google Forms are cut-off on mobile devices. This means that your respondents have to scroll to view the full array of questions and answers.

And when you try to cram all that information into a mobile screen, you end up with a squished, unreadable question. Less than ideal for your survey.

2. It's often not the right tool for the job

With so few fields to choose from in Google Forms, the multiple choice grid has become a catch-all for more than it can handle.

You have to use this same field type to create ranking questions, rating questions, true/false, matching… the list goes on. There are no native fields for any of those needs.

Using this field to create makeshift solutions isn’t just inconvenient, it’s inefficient. Crowding a form with multiple choice grids is overwhelming for your respondents, which can lower completion rates and your customer satisfaction ratings.

Because the multiple choice grid in Google Forms has to wear so many hats, it can be confusing for respondents to know how to fill each one out. A ranking question made using a multiple choice grid requires an entirely different response than an evaluation form, even though they look exactly the same.

Sure, the multiple-choice grid is versatile. But no one form element can adequately handle what should be done by five or six form fields.

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A better way to create multiple choice grids

Paperform has over 25 distinct fields to choose from, including yes/no, rating, ranking, matrix, and linear scale. Whether you’re gathering movie ratings or customer feedback, we have the fields required to capture the exact data you need.

Making a multiple choice grid is as simple as typing '/Matrix' anywhere within the editor, and pressing enter. From there, just type out your rows and columns in the text box, placing each option on its own line.

Paperform's easy to understand configuration menu(Image Source: Paperform)

You can preview your matrix field at any time, so you can see how it looks without navigating to a new page. You can also choose whether you'd like to require a user response for each row, and adjust your mobile optimisation settings.

Unlike Google Forms, Paperform automatically optimises matrix fields for mobile devices. By default, each row is converted to an individual question on mobile, so respondents can easily navigate your surveys on a phone.

Side by side view of a Paperform and Google Form multiple choice grid mobile display(Image Source: Paperform and Google Forms)

It’s a win-win: you get all the data you need, and they don’t have to zoom and scroll their way through a monster grid.

Of course, if you’d prefer to keep your matrix grid as is on mobile devices, you can do that too. Just head to the question settings and toggle on Display as matrix field on mobile devices.

With Paperform, you don't need to rely on a multiple choice grid alone. From dedicating Ranking, Rating, and Multiple Choice fields, to an Appointment field that allows you to manage your schedule, there are dedicated solutions for every need.

Build better matrix fields with Paperform

We’ve got nothing against Google Forms—in fact, for a free form builder, we think it's top-notch. But when it comes to creating anything more than basic forms and survey, it falls a little short.

With Paperform you can build Matrix fields effortlessly. But you're not just getting a form builder with smart features and beautiful design, you're unlocking a suite of digital tools designed to make your work (and life) easier.  

  • Automated emails: Send thank you emails to every respondent. Use answer piping to thank them by name, or reference a particular answer they gave.
  • Conditional logic: Create a streamlined, personal form-taking experience by displaying only relevant fields to each respondent. Paperform’s conditional logic is powerful and easy to understand, so everyone can make use of it.
  • Integrate to automate: Use direct integrations to connect with apps like monday.com and Notion, or integrate with Zapier to unlock over 5,000 integrations with your favourite apps.
  • Analytics: Gain insights into your form data from our robust built-in Analytics dashboard.
  • Accept payments: Process payments with PayPal, Stripe, Square, Braintree and more, all with zero processing fees.
  • Powerful design tools: Gather the right data every time with our 25+ field types, including Ranking, E-signature, File Upload, and more.
  • Embed anywhere: Host your form as a stand-alone page, share it on social media, or embed it in a website or as a pop-up.

Create multiple choice grids with more style, functionality, and smarts with Paperform. Why not give it a go yourself with our 14-day free trial, no credit card required.


About the author
Eliza Frakes
Content Writer
Eliza Frakes is a content writer at Paperform. When she’s not writing for the blog, she’s probably writing a play (or acting in one), swimming in the ocean, or taking her very cute dog on a hike.

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