Overview

Welcome to Paperform! Paperform is an amazing tool that gives you the power to build powerful and beautiful forms that fit your needs and look great.

This guide will take you through the basics of creating forms with Paperform. In this guide you will learn;

  • How to create a form with rich text, images, and video along with questions.
  • How to set up your form to take payments.
  • How to share your form, submit it, and see submission results.
  • How to send emails to yourself or the respondent when the form is submitted.
  • How to personalize your form with conditional logic, theming, and success pages.
  • How to set up direct integrations - e.g. adding submission results to Google Sheets, or signing up an email to your Mailchimp newsletter.

By the time you're done here, you'll be a pro.

1. Creating your first form

Create a blank form

When you have signed-in to Paperform, you'll land on the dashboard. From the dashboard, it's easy to create a form. There are lots of form templates available that you could use, but for the purpose of this guide, we're going to start from scratch.

  1. Up the top right of the dashboard, click the "Create Form" button.
  2. Give the form a name (or don't, I'm not your mom).
  3. Click "Start from scratch" to create a blank form.

Once you've done this, you'll be taken into the form editor. If this is your first time into the editor, then you'll see a brief guided overview to show you around the form editor, but here's a quick summary of what you will see any time you create a blank overview.

Click on the image to expand.

1. Go back to the dashboard: This will navigate your browser back to the dashboard.

2. Editor Navigation

  • Design: When you go to the editor for any form you will see the "Design" tab first. This is where you build and configure the form itself by adding content and questions.
  • Configure: Configure controls any form configuration that is not directly related to questions; e.g. setting the form title, payment gateway setup, adding third party analytics
  • After Submission: Setup everything that happens after the form is submitted; e.g. sending emails, showing a success page, generating a custom PDF, or integrating with another service.
  • Share: Access your form's sharable URL, or grab an embed code to embed it on your website.

3. Save Indicator: This indicates whether all the changes made to the form have been saved. If you click on this, you can also revert the form to a previous version.

4. Theme: Control how your form looks (e.g. change the fonts and colors) or translate the UI.

5. View live form: Click on this button to open the live form in a new tab - great for testing your form out!

6. Controls: These controls appear next to the focussed line in the editor. They are used to insert different kinds of content into the form design; E.g. Adding questions, page break, pictures, videos, or HTML (Agency plan only).

7. Form Editor: This is where we will be creating the form itself. We'll learn more about this in just a moment.

8. Support and Help Center: If you get stuck or can't figure out how to do something, this is the place to go, you can search our help center or reach out to support from right here in the UI.

Adding text

Now that we've created a new form, and had a quick look around the editor, we can get into adding some content to our form. First up, let's talk about the form editor. The form editor works like a text editor (think docs) - you can simply click into the editor, and start typing to add text to the page!

Try it for yourself, just click up the top of the page where it says "Type here or choose an option to get started..." and start typing.

Now that we have some words on the page, we can format them.

Highlight the text with your mouse to see text-formatting options. You can change the text to be a heading, right-align it, bold, italicize, or turn it into a numbered list if you want.

Hint: You can format text in question titles and descriptions, as well as on custom success pages and custom PDFs in exactly the same way.

Adding and configuring questions

Let's add a question. On the controls to the left of the selected line, click on the "Add question" button and a new question will be added directly beneath the selected line.

Click into the question and write a question title, and optionally, a description.

If you would like to add another question immediately beneath the first question, you can just press the Enter ⮐ key when the title of the first question is focussed, or click the Add Question button beneath it.

Configuring Questions

You can change the question type using the dropdown to the right of the question's title (pictured above). Paperform has over 20 different question types to choose from, choose a type from the dropdown below to preview what the field looks like on a form;

See the full list of question types.

When making a form, you will want to select the most appropriate question type for the kind of question that you're asking - some of the most common question types are Email, Phone Number, Text and, Multiple Choice.

Once you have selected the appropriate type for the question you're asking, you can then configure the question. Each question can be configured separately and will have different configuration options available depending on what type it is.

To see the question configuration, click the gear icon to the right of the question.

In the question configuration, you can control things like whether a question is required, when it is visible or hidden with logic, as well as question type-specific configuration (e.g. setting options for Multiple Choice questions, or choosing the format you would like to capture phone numbers in).

Configure question window

Take a few minutes to make yourself familiar with the available questions, have a look at the configuration options available for different question types.

Don't worry if the conditional logic looks scary, we'll cover that more in a little bit.

(Optional) Setting up payments

If you intend to take payments on your form, then read on - otherwise, just skip this section!

There are a few additional steps you have to take to start taking payments on a form.

Connect a payment account

Paperform currently supports the following payment providers;

You can connect any of these providers to your account in the Payment Accounts section of Account Settings → Account Services. You can simply click the "Connect [Service]" button and follow the prompts to connect the provider, or for more details click on the relevant link above to see provider-specific instructions.

Choose the payment account in the form editor

Back in the form editor, go to Configure → Payments in the top bar, and choose the desired account for the form. On this same page, you can also configure payment related things like the currency you are charging in, depending on the capabilities of the provider.

Add a payment field to your form

The final step to taking payments on your form is to add a question that affects the total price of the form. There are two question types that automatically affect the total price on the form "Price" and "Products".

Price field

The "Price" field is the simplest way to add a price to the field. By default, a price field is a read-only, fixed price, that can be configured to be whatever you want. This is great if everyone submitting the form is being charged a flat amount. When a price field is included on the form, and visible (i.e. not hidden with conditional logic), then the price is automatically added to the form's total price. You can have as many different price fields as you would like!

You can also make the price editable by the person submitting the form by toggling off the "Question is read only" configuration in the price question's configuration. This means the submitter can type whatever they would like in the price field - so this is great for use cases like voluntary donations or pay-what-you-want options.

More about price fields →

Product field

On the other hand, when you are selling more than one thing on your form, then the product field is more likely to suit your needs. The product field allows you to define a list of products with an associated price, and optionally stock quantity. Selected products will automatically be added to the total price of the form, and if stock is provided in the configuration, then it will be handled automatically by Paperform as the form is submitted.

More about product fields →

That's it! When your form has a price and a connected payment account, then a checkout will be shown at the end of the form.

You can also take control of the total price of the form using Custom Pricing Rules. E.g. you can set the price to 0 when someone wants to pay later or cut the price in half when someone says they're struggling. When used with the calculations field, this is even more powerful!

Adding Images and Video

Now that you know how to add questions to the form you can probably guess how to add images and videos to the content of your form too.

Adding Images

To add a picture, select the line where you would like the image to appear and select "Insert Picture" from the controls to the left of the line. Next, you will be prompted to choose an image file from your computer. As soon as you've done that, the image will appear on the form and will be uploaded in the background.

You can select the image after it has been inserted and choose between some default sizes and alignments, add a link to the image if you would like, or make the image smaller / larger using the drag handle down the bottom right.

Adding Videos

Paperform supports embedding videos from Youtube, Vimeo, and Wistia. To add a video to your form, just choose the "Add Video" option from the controls to the left of the selected line (just like adding an image), and a video placeholder will be inserted into the body of the form.

You can then paste the public link to your video in the placeholder.

Bonus tip: You can customize the embed using supported URL parameters by adding them to the end of the video URL. Here's a list of supported parameters for Youtube videos.

Submit your form and see responses

Now that you have created a form, let's take it for a test spin. Up the top right of the form editor, click the "View" button to open the live form in a new tab.

Fill out the form and submit it!

If you have a payment account connected, you might want to either remove the payment account under Configure → Payments while testing, or select a "Test" payment account if there is one available. Here is a list of test card numbers you can use with test payment accounts: https://stripe.com/docs/testing.

Once you have submitted your form, you can access submissions by going to the dashboard and clicking on the "Submissions" link on the form. This will take you to the submissions page for the form, and you will be able to see the answers you just submitted.

In the submissions dashboard, you can view or delete submission records, or export them to CSV. If the submission took a payment, you can also process refunds from the submissions page.

Bonus points: Have a look through the other sections in the sidebar if you like - they're outside of the scope of this guide, but might come in handy: Partial Submissions, Products, Report and Analytics.

2. Personalizing your form

Theme and appearance

In section 1 we covered the basics of creating your form, now let's make it look like your brand. You can control the general look and feel of your form in the "Theme" section. To see the theme settings, go up to the top right of the form editor and click on "Theme" (drop icon).

Theme is divided into four separate tabs;

1. Theme Settings

Shows quick settings and a preview of your theme on a form. You can use the Theme Settings to change the default fonts and colors of your form or to import the theme from another form on your account.

2. Typography

While you can change the default fonts for your form under Theme Settings, the Typography section gives you the ability to tune the font sizing, weight, line height, and color for several different elements on the form. If you want to style any other text on the form, you can also create your own custom styles and apply them to text in the editor.

3. UI Elements

UI Elements allows you to tailor the appearance of specific elements on the form (e.g. changing the way the submit button or pagination looks, or adding a background image to the form). If you are on an Agency plan, you can also add custom CSS under UI Elements to fine-tune the design even further.

4. Translations

All of the language used on a public form is customizable - if you don't like the way we say things, or you would like it to be in a different language, you can create your own translation and use them across your forms.

Pages and Sections

As your forms get larger, you might want to split up the questions onto separate pages. You can do this using Breaks.

Adding a break is just like adding questions, images, or videos - just select "Add break" from the controls to the left of the selected line. Once you do this a blue line will be inserted in the form body.

A freshly added break will default to being a page break - this means that all the content beneath the blue line will be displayed on a new page.

However, Paperform has a different kind of break, called a "Section" break. Section breaks are used to group together content on the same page. For example, a section break could be used to group together some questions, a heading, and a logo, or it could simply be used to group together a single line of text. Section breaks come in handy with conditional logic, as you can show and hide an entire section with logic!

To turn a page break into a section break, simply click "Configure" to the right of the break, and set "Content below this break is" to "On the same page".

Section breaks appear as a red line in the form editor.

All content beneath the red line will be in the section until either the end of the form or another break (page or section) is inserted.

Curious about how to show and hide pages, sections, or individual questions? Read on.

Conditional logic

One of the most powerful ways for you to tailor a form to the respondent is to use conditional logic to only show them the content that is relevant to them.

You can use logic in lots of different ways in Paperform;

  1. Show/hide questions individually - this is set up in the question configuration.
  2. Show/hide a whole of content (e.g. a heading, several questions, and a video) - using "section" breaks.
  3. Show/hide pages - using "page breaks".
  4. Show different success pages depending on how the form has been answered.
  5. Send different emails depending on how the form is handled.

How to use logic

We'll use question visibility logic as our primary example, but setting up logic everywhere else in Paperform works in the same way.

For this example, say we are making a contact form that asks for the following information (pictured below):

  1. Name
  2. How should I contact you? (Email address or Phone Number)
  3. What is your email address?
  4. What is your phone number?

At the moment we're asking how the person would like to be contacted, but then we go ahead and ask for both the email address and phone number. We can use logic to only show the relevant method based on the answer the respondent has selected.

To do this, we're going to click into the question configuration for the email address question and toggle on "Question visibility logic".

Then we're going to add a condition and choose "How should I contact you" "is" "Email".

We can then go into the phone number question configuration, and do the exact same thing, except we're going to choose "Phone number" in the condition instead of "Email".

When you use your form now you will see that both the email and phone number questions won't be visible until you choose an answer to "How should I contact you?" - and then the selected method will be displayed.

You can use more than one condition when setting up logic. For example, if we wanted to ask the submitter if they would like to sign up to our newsletter in the above form, we could add a Yes / No question to the form, and set up the logic so that it is visible when the chosen contact method is email AND the person has entered an email address.

There's lots more you can do with logic! If your curious, have a play with "And" and "Or" conditions, and the "Multiple Conditions" option in the questions dropdown. You can also use the results of calculation fields in conditional logic if you want an even more powerful way of expressing your needs.

Here is more information on logic and Paperform.

Success pages

The final step to customizing your form is tailoring what the submitter sees when they submit the form.

The default success screen looks like this:

There are two kinds of success pages available on Paperform; default (available on all plans) and dynamic (available only on Pro and Agency), both are configured under After Submission → Success Pages & Redirects in the form editor.

Configuring default success pages

  1. Go to After Submission → Success Pages & Redirects
  2. Change the default success page title and description to appropriate messaging.

Default success page

Note that the default success page only supports plain text

Configuring dynamic success pages

To change the text on a dynamic success page you can do the following;

  1. Go to After Submission → Success Pages & Redirects, and toggle on "Dynamic Success Pages & Redirects" if it is not already on.
  2. Click the "Edit" button next to the relevant success page, or add a new one.
  3. Scroll down to "Submission Screen Design" and there you can edit the content on the screen just like you can edit content when making a form (i.e. click and type). You can also insert images, videos, answer piping, or HTML (Agency plan) using the options next to the selected line in the editor.

Dynamic success screen

3. Working with submissions

Sending emails

Now that you're a boss at making forms, you're probably a little bit curious about what you can do with responses after the form has been submitted. One of the most common needs is to send emails!

By default a submission summary will be emailed to you when the form is submitted - if you don't want to receive this for a form, you can toggle it off under After Submission → Emails in the form editor.

Disable email notification

On the same page you can also set up Custom Emails. Custom Emails give you control over what the content of the email is, the subject line, who it goes to, if there is any attachments, and more.

Let's set up an email to go to the respondent after they've submitted the form.

Before we begin: You must have an "Email" question in your form before you can set this up.

  1. In the form editor, go to "After Submission → Emails" and press the "Add Email +" button.
  2. In the "To" field, choose the email question from the form that you expect the respondent to put their email address in.

    Choose "Email" field from dropdown to the right
  3. Fill out the rest of the email setup to specify what the contents of the email should be (e.g. subject line, attachments, and messaging).
  4. When you're ready, click "Add Email".
  5. Test it out! Save and view your form, and put through a test submission with your email address to receive the email.

If you want to send different emails depending on how the form was answered you can turn on "Email logic" at the bottom of the custom email setup. This allows you to add conditions for when that specific email should be sent. For more details on how to use logic, check out the Conditional Logic section of this guide.

Integrations

Emails are great, but chances are you need to get your data into other your other apps/systems. There a few different ways of integrating Paperform with other services.

Direct Integrations

Paperform overs over 20 direct integrations with popular services including Google Sheets, Mailchimp, Active Campaign, Slack, and Trello. You can explore the full list on our integrations directory, or under After Submission → Integrations & Webhooks in the form editor.

Setting up direct integrations is very easy:

  1. Go to After Submission → Integrations & Webhooks

  2. Click on the app you want to integrate with, and choose from the list of possible actions.

  3. Follow the prompts to connect an account, and set-up the integration.
  4. (Optional) If you only want the action to triggered when the form is answered a certain way, you can turn on "Conditional Logic" at the end of the integration setup.
  5. (Optional) Click the "Send" test button to test the setup. Note that you must have at least one submission for the test to work.

Common Gotcha

Some integrations like Google Sheets require you to create columns in the sheet before you can integrate with them. Once you have created the columns, you'll need to choose which answers go in each column. You can use the dropdown on the right of the column name to insert the answers you would like to go in each column.

After your action has been set up, you can toggle off / on, see it's history or duplicate it from the After Submission → Integrations & Webhooks page in the form editor.

If you would like to disconnect or reconnect an integration connection, you can do this on the Account Services page.

Integration Platforms (Zapier & Integromat)

For apps that Paperform doesn't support directly yet, you can use an integration platform like Zapier or Integromat.

A quick way to find out how to integrate Paperform with another app is to search for it on our integrations directory. The app page will have links to get started on Zapier, Integromat, or details on how to use the direct integration if it exists.

Webhooks and API

For apps that aren't supported directly or through an integration platform, you could build your own integration using our API and/or webhooks.

Exporting results

You can access your form’s submissions page from the Dashboard.

The submissions page gives you an overview of the form’s submissions. You can search, delete, and export the submissions all together into CSV files, or individually into a PDF or Word Doc summary.

Partial Submissions

If you are on a Pro or Agency plan, you can see submissions that weren’t completed over the last 30 days. This is great for improving the conversion rate of the form, and understanding where submitters are dropping off.

4. Sharing your form

URL

You can get your form's sharable URL under the "Share" menu in the form editor. This URL is the same as when you view the form either from the form editor, or the dashboard.

If you have a Pro or Agency account, you can tailor the URL under Configure → Details, along with changing the title, description, and cover image of the form.

Embedding

Paperform supports a few different ways of embedding forms, which are all outlined under Share → Embedding in the form editor.

  1. Follow the instructions on the page to choose the kind of embed you would like. There are three kinds of embedding, inline, full screen, and popup button.
  2. Copy the script you have chosen.
  3. Go to the editor or HTML source of where you would like the form to appear and paste the script.
  4. Save and refresh the page to see your embedded form!

Can't use javascript? Have a look at the iFrame fallback method.

5. Leveling up

Great work, you made it!

As you can tell - Paperform is a powerful tool. We've only just started scratching the surface of what you can achieve with Paperform. If you'd like to keep learning, below in the related articles are some more advanced features that go beyond this getting started guide.

Next up, you should jump in and try your hand at making some forms! If you get stuck, the Help Center is an amazing resource for learning more about Paperform, or you can always reach out to our Support Team via the chat widget down the bottom right of the screen, or email us at support@paperform.co.

Happy form making.