How to get the most out of Paperform calculations

/ 9 min read
Eliza Frakes

The word calculations doesn't exactly send chills down the spine—especially for those who throw out all mention of equations after junior year chemistry. But in the world of form building, ecommerce, and marketing, calculations are worth their weight in gold.

Paperform's Calculations feature is designed to solve those problems that don’t fall neatly into a box. Whether you need to create custom pricing for your online store or calculate maths questions on a quiz, Calculations make it easier.

Many of our users already enjoy Calculations, but there’s a good number of folks who are scared off by the name alone. That's why we've created this post to guide you through what they are, how customers use them, and how you can get started.

What are Paperform Calculations?

Calculations empower users to complete excel style functions with the responses gathered in their forms. You can use it to do everything from basic arithmetics to multi-step complex equations. It's the perfect way to solve ‌problems that just can’t be solved with traditional conditional logic or scoring alone.

Calculations work by collecting the values in your fields and transforming them into new values based on the formulas you give it. To get started, click anywhere in your form and add a Calculations field. Then hop into the configuration menu to see what questions you can use as values.

Configuring a Paperform Calculation(Image Source: Paperform)

You can choose from a tonne of supported equations, from simple stuff like multiplication to complicated stuff like collecting certain letters in a response to create a new word.

Each equation comes with a brief explanation of how to use it and a formula for you to copy. Just pop it into the text bar, pick the responses you’d like transformed, and check out the results as a live preview.

You can even hide the field so respondents can’t see the magic happening behind the curtain. Ta-da!

As a feature designed to solve all those hyper-unique challenges, the use cases are pretty unlimited. We’ll go over a handful of examples in this post, but you can always reach out to our 24/7 dedicated CS team with any specific Calculations questions you might have.

We couldn’t have asked for more, the support team was second to none and was able to find workarounds for all of our calculations, however complex. Highly recommended.

8 Ways to Use Paperform Calculations

Even though they might sound complicated, Calculations are nothing to be feared. Let us take you through some potential use cases, show off some templates and examples, and walk you through how anyone can make use of this powerful feature.

1. Delivery Order Forms

If you’re running a delivery business, you know how tricky it can be to calculate shipping rates.

Between weight surcharges and expedited shipping fees, there are loads of fluctuating charges to keep track of. And the last thing you want is to bombard your customer with last minute fees right before check out. Paperform Calculations are the perfect solution.

Just input your base rate, any additional charges, and a quick Calculations field and let Paperform crunch the numbers for you. You can calculate simple rates (just adding the base rate and any additional fees) or something more complex (like creating a custom charge based on distance or mileage).

2. Payment forms

Creating an easy, streamlined way to pay for your products online is essential for any ecommerce business. Whether you’re selling crafts on Etsy or running a full-fledged storefront, payment forms make it easier.

Paperform supports all your favourite payment pathways, including Stripe, Paypal and Braintree, and we never charge a cent for processing any charges. You can also add discount codes or coupons with just a few clicks.

It’s a one-stop shop for online sellers. But even ecommerce businesses who already use Paperform may not know how to make use of Calculations. By adding a Calculations field to your payment form, you can generate unique rates for every customer, all without lifting a finger.

Answer piping allows you to funnel previous answers into your calculation to create your custom rate. You could use it to calculate custom prices for customers buying outside of your home country, or to automatically add discounts or free shipping when people add over $50 worth of products to their cart.

Or take this handy “pay now or later” code. With this calculation in place, customers can add items to their cart and choose whether they want to pay right away or at a later date.

isCard = {{ key }}; total = {{ }}; if(isCard == "Yes" or not isCard, total, 0);

With a hidden calculation field, you can have promotions automatically added to your customers cart. It’s less fuss for you and them. That means fewer abandoned shopping carts, and more happy customers.

3. Hotel booking forms

When it comes to running a hotel, custom rates are the name of the game. An ocean front king room is bound to be pricier than a double twin on the ground floor. And that’s before you get into additional fees like housekeeping, honeymoon packages, or priority parking.

There are plenty of excess charges floating around for hoteliers. Creating a dynamic, adaptable hotel booking form is a great way to keep track of it all from one place.

Creating calculations in Paperform(Image Source: Paperform)

With Paperform, you can create a beautiful, branded booking form that calculates rates and adapts in real-time based on the answers it’s given. You could even include a short, conditional logic-powered quiz that asks visitors what kind of stay they’re looking for, and then navigates them to the proper room based on their answers.

Add a Calculations field that collects all the features a client might want and tallies them up automatically as a final price. You can even calculate the total nights based on start and end dates, add seasonal discounts, or offer discounts after a certain number of nights, all automatically.

Take this code that offers discounts a 25% discount per night after booking 7 nights.

nights = {{ KEY.dayLength }};short_stay = nights * 100;long_stay = 700 + ( ( nights - 7 ) * 75 );IF( nights > 7, long_stay, short_stay );

Plus, built-in features like answer piping and automatic emails make your hotel booking form even more personal, so you can thank visitors by name and include custom follow-up messages with directions.

I’m really blown away with the possibilities of this platform. It’s better than any standard booking software, and can do so many things I can’t do with standard travel software. It’s like having a full dev team included!

4. Appointment Forms

Paperform is already a great tool for scheduling appointments. With our dedicated appointment field and heaps of scheduling app integrations, keeping track of your calendar is a breeze.

Adding a calculation field to your scheduling forms can make them even more powerful. Let’s say you’re a therapist, and you charge your clients by the minute. It’s essential to know exactly how long your appointments will be.

By adding an appointment field, a quick calculation, and custom pricing in your Paperform, you can automatically calculate the exact price of a session based on the appointment time your client chooses.

And of course, you can process the payments through Paperform when they book. No more endless back and forth email chains for you, and no more surprise charges for your clients.

Want to try out Calculations for yourself?

Start your 14-day free trial now. No credit card needed.

5. Maths and science quizzes

When it comes to making quizzes online, Paperform is already a powerful tool. With over 25 field types to choose from, built-in scoring, and the ability to create custom success pages based on score, its the perfect way to create dynamic quizzes that handle more work for you.

But there’s one type of quiz that’s harder to make virtual: maths and sciences. The numerical subjects don’t often translate well into a multiple choice or short answer format.

Calculations are the solution. You can create maths and science quizzes powerful enough to handle all the values you throw at it and grade them in real time. You can even use Paperform Calculations to explain complex functions, like scientific formulas and equations.

Take this Pythagorean Theorem calculator, for example. It walks students through the equation, computes sections of the formula, and then calculates the final value of the hypotenuse.

It really works— test it out with any values you like. If you like it, feel free to use this template for your own classes, or share it with the educator in your life.

6. Marketing quizzes

Calculations aren’t just for complex equations. You can also use them to create marketing quizzes to guide customers to the right product in your ecommerce store.

Quizzes are a great way to boost engagement through fun, personalised forms. Let’s say you run a salon. You could create a marketing quiz that asks clients about their hair type, and then guides them to a particular shampoo and conditioner set based on the answers.

You could also use a personality quiz as an icebreaker for interactive presentations or team meetings. Take this fun one our CS team built. It’s got some serious maths running under the hood, but it looks like a breezy and approachable on the outside.

dog personality test

Whether your making a quiz funnel or just trying to get to know your audience better, a dynamic Paperform backed with Calculations is a great way to do it.

I use Paperform to create personality tests for our coaching team. Most all of the formulas are handled by Paperform, which is really convenient.

7. Escape room

If you’re an educator, you know how tedious making (and grading) quizzes can be. It’s no picnic for your students, either. Working through the same old exam is boring. That’s why it’s so important to switch up your assessment methods—both for you and your students’ sake.

Why not try an escape room? Instead of making another multiple choice quiz or open feedback exam, you can test your students knowledge with a fun, interactive digital maze.

Whether you’re building a simple lock and key style room or a complex branching style one, Calculations can help. You can automatically tally the number of keys your students collect, or use numbers to guide students through even the most complex of branching options.

And if you want to add a few exam questions, you can make use of Paperform’s automatic scoring and grading to make the process a little easier.

8. Workout tracker

Calculations aren’t just for business. You can use them to keep track of your personal life, too. Take a workout tracker, for example.

You can create one in Paperform that tracks what kind of exercise you’ve done and for how long. By adding a few formulas, you can see how many calories you burned in a session, or how much weight you’ve added to your bench press.

Whether you’re looking to gain muscle, start up a fitness business, or finally be able ‌to do an unassisted pull-up, keeping track of your progress is essential. Paperform helps you take the guesswork out of it.

Want to take it to the next level? Connect with Google Sheets or Airtable to automatically populate a spreadsheet with your workout information after each submission.

Create unique solutions with Paperform

Whether you’re running an ecommerce business or trying to keep your students engaged, Paperform is on your team. Our Calculations are for everyone—yes, even those with equation aversions.

Calculations are powerful, which means they have to be a little complex. If it’s your first time using them, don’t panic. You won’t leave you in the lurch.

Connect with our Paperform Certified Experts to craft advanced, dynamic forms that are both visually striking and intelligently designed. They'll help you maximize the potential of Paperform calculations and create forms that truly stand out.

Alternatively, our customer support team is just a click away, 24/7, waiting to help you work through your unique Calculations troubles anytime. Just click on that blue chat icon to see for yourself.

Calculations are available to all Pro and Agency customers. If you haven’t signed up for a plan yet, you can try out the feature for free for 14 days, no credit card required. It's a stress-free way to dip your toe into the world of automations. Go ahead—see how you can make your life easier today.

About the author
Eliza Frakes
Paperform Contributor
Eliza Frakes is a freelance copywriter. When she’s not writing for the Paperform 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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