In this article, you will learn how Form Publisher automatically combines the Google Form submission data into a document template that you have chosen to generate a PDF, Google documents (Docs, Sheets, Slides) and Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) dynamically.
How does Form Publisher generate your personalized documents?
Form Publisher works on top of the Google Form, to collect data and use it in its document generation process. It requires a template document to get these data inserted and generate multiple personalized documents.
Your template document (in Google Docs, Sheets or Slides format) has two parts:
- The standard text of the document you are interested in creating (like contracts, invoices, etc.)
- Markers which correspond to the questions of your Google Form and/or Form Publisher’s standard markers. These markers will be replaced by the actual data/answers received from the Google form submission to create personalized documents.
By way of the permissions you granted for Form Publisher during installation, it uses Google Apps Script to interact with your form, template document, and programmatically create and modify a document on your behalf.
Each time your form is submitted, Form Publisher performs the following steps to create documents:
1. It loads the data from your form submission
Form Publisher uses Google Forms Service API to get all answers contained in a Google Form response. The add-on holds it temporarily until it uses this data to generate the document.
2. It makes a copy of the template document
Form Publisher uses Google Document Service API to copy your template document to create a new file of the same format (Google Docs, Sheets and Slides).
Form Publisher uses the naming convention that you have configured for this new file created. It holds the file temporarily until the next step - form data is added to it dynamically and stored in your Google Drive.
3. It searches for markers in the template and replaces them with the corresponding data
Form Publisher uses Google Document Service API to access the structure of the document's template (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides) and its content to search for the markers and replace them one by one with the dynamic data (or answers) from the Google Form submission.
Where are my newly generated documents stored?
The generated documents are permanently stored in the Drive folder that you have selected as Form Publisher’s output folder in your (the form owner’s) Google Drive.
Form Publisher stores the URLs of these documents in your Form responses spreadsheet, if you checked 'Save generated file URL' option under the 'Destination folder & Naming convention' menu.
In either case, the generated documents or the files' links are not stored anywhere for use by Form Publisher after the notification emails are sent.
Who has access to my new documents?
As the owner of the Google Form, you have full access to these new documents. It is also shared with people with whom you have configured to share (with appropriate share access) in the 'Sharing Options & Notifications' menu of Form Publisher.
Even though Form Publisher helps you create these documents programmatically on your behalf, you are the only one to have the complete access to these new files.
If you have enabled ‘Approval workflow’ in Form Publisher, it stores the generated file’s information in Google Firebase - Form Publisher’s database. This data is essential for the web app, to trigger email notification and update the approval information in the Form Responses spreadsheet, whenever there is an approval action on the document flow.
What happens to my form data after the documents are generated?
Form Publisher has access to your Google Form submission data until it uses the data to generate the document. The form data is used and exists only within the scope of the program that creates the documents. At any point, we never store your form data in our database.