AppSheet is a great solution to display your spreadsheet data in a mobile app setting, making your data truly mobile. But what if you want to add data while using the mobile app? Does AppSheet work well the other way around, bringing mobile data back to your spreadsheet?
AppSheet allows for data entry directly from the app, which means your spreadsheet will also be updated once you hit 'Sync' on your app. This opens up a great deal of opportunities for remote teams and field employees to keep connected and simplify data collection. To better show you the elements of AppSheet forms, let's consider how a remote team in a commercial landscaping business could build and benefit from it.
Building an In-House Customer Intelligence Solution with AppSheet
In this case, let's assume there is a team of five members from a commercial landscaping business, all of whom work remotely interviewing prospective customers. They want to have a single view of their prospecting efforts and a structured approach to collecting that information. AppSheet is an ideal solution for this team. They can work directly from their smartphones or tablets and share data on-the-go.
To better use AppSheet forms, the team should set up their spreadsheet following a few best practices:
Setting up Your Spreadsheet for Capturing Data
AppSheet will automatically identify the type of field you want for data based on the column headers you provide. Here are some types of headers you can use:
- Date: The word "date" will be automatically recognized for date entry. It will pull your phone's control for data entry (on iOS, that's the nifty wheel with day, month, and year)
- Is _________: When you start your column with "Is" or "Has", AppSheet will recognize the whole column as a Boolean type (or, True/False. Yay math!). So, when you are entering data, it will give you a nifty control showing a Yes/No option for quicker data entry.
- Amount: If you want a field to contain only numbers, the header should contain the word "Amount", or "Value". It will also include a control for decimal values.
- Long Text: Include the word "description" to get a a long-text entry form. This is helpful when the team needs to include long descriptions such as project scope or meeting notes.
- Photo: If the column header has the word "Photo", or "Picture", it will automatically include a control to add an image from your smartphone.
- Signature: The word "Signature" in the column header will automatically generate a field to capture pen/touch input so you can capture signatures or small notes.
By choosing some specific terms in the spreadsheet structure, the team will be able to easily create and deploy a solution that captures data. The form is automatically created and each user simply needs to touch "New" to add a new entry via the app.
There are other items you can add to your form to help with data-entry:
Pick from drop-down list: If you use Data Validation as a way to force data entry exclusively from a list, AppSheet will recognize the list and also create a drop-down menu in your form.
Descriptions: If you add a note to the column header, the note will become an extended description field and will replace its title. This is useful to provide guidance for data entry.
Multi-page forms: If the form is too long, simply add a blank column and AppSheet will automatically recognize the form as a page break.
We are constantly updating our product with new features. Expect some cool updates in the upcoming weeks! We are working on adding GPS data, bar-code reading functionality, multiple choice selection, and form branching for "if" scenarios.
Let us know how you are using AppSheet forms and find additional guidance in the AppSheet User Community in Google+.