Support articles

Update Update description
Jul '19
Addition of a new role type
Previously, you could choose between the roles of "Needs to Approve", "Needs to Recommend", "Needs to Acknowledge", "Needs to Edit" and "Receives a Copy". Based on your feedback, we have added a new role type of "Needs to Action". This role is designed for a recipient that needs to complete or action a task. For example, your workflow may consist of one or many approvers. Once it has been approved, certain tasks may need to be completed. This role now allows you to capture them within your workflow. Further details about this and other role types can be found on our support page.
June '19
Approval history added to notifications
Previously, when a recipient made a comment with their approval the add-on would include comments they made on subsequent notifications. We have now extended this, to not only include the information when a comment is made by a recipient, but to also include the history of the request (including recipients that did not leave a comment). Using the Email Editor, paid users can reposition or remove this information by using the <<Recipient Comments>> marker. This is a small change, but it hopefully makes it easier for the requestor and recipients to see the history without having to constantly track requests. Learn more about personalizing notifications with the Email Editor.
Self service updates to Team users
Team plan customers can now add or remove Team plan members directly from our website. To do so, open the add-on, click Settings, then click Account, then click the yellow Manage my subscription button. The subscription page now includes details of your existing plan and gives you the ability to edit your Team plan users.
Apr '19
Improved filtering on the admin portal
Previously, you were only able to filter on the Overall Status which made it next to impossible to find older requests. We heard you! Now, you can filter on the Overall Status, Request #, Requestor, and even enter a date range to narrow your search.
Mar '19
New Email Editor design
We have changed the design of the Email Editor to make it easier to navigate and we have moved all settings related to email notifications to the Email Editor (including the setting that allows you to hide form sections from email notifications).
Change the From Name
Until now, the from name defaulted to "Form Approvals" for all users. Individual and Team plan users can now amend the from name from within the new Email Editor.
Admin portal authorized user
Until now, only one person could access the admin portal per form. Team plan users can now specify one additional person to access the admin portal per form. The admin portal is designed for the form administrator to track the status of recent requests, send reminders and amend recipients. Note, we are working on a recipient portal also that will allow recipients to track the status of requests they are party to, filter on those pending their approval, and approve / decline directly from our website - we hope to make it available in the coming months...stay tuned.
Jan '19
Addition of a Team plan
Previously, we had two paid plans: Pro and Enterprise. However, many users sought a plan that allowed multiple users to share a plan, but did not allow everyone in their domain. As such, the Team plan has been added.
Change in plan name from Pro to Individual
The 'Pro' plan has been renamed to the 'Individual' plan to better describe the plan and how it compares to the Team plan.
Dec '18
Comments on email notifications now include the response status
From early on, the add-on has included comments of previous recipients on email notifications, however it has not included the status of the recipient's response (i.e whether it was approved, recommended, not recommended etc). This was particularly annoying when a recipient recommended a request to not be approved. Therefore, we have now updated the add-on as follows:
  • Recipients with role 'Needs to Recommend' must now leave a comment before selecting 'Not Recommend'
  • Email notifications will now include the status of their response so subsequent approvers know when it isn't recommended to be approved.
Nov '18
Dynamic group recipients
In addition to static group recipients, you can now add dynamic group recipients. Learn more about this feature by reviewing Option 3 on the adding recipients support article.
Sticky dynamic recipients
Prevously, when changes were made to your Google Form (specifically questions linked to dynamic recipients), users were required to re-configure their dynamic recipients within the add-on. We found a new method of doing things, and this is no longer required! Changes made to your form questions will now be automatically reflected within the add-on without you having to do anything.
Sep '18
Role based workflows
In addition to approvers, you will be able to add other role tyes. For example, you may want to set an Editor as level 1 (who can add information to the form submission), Endorser as level 2 (who can recommend whether it should be approved or not), Approver as level 3 (who has the authority to approve or decline), and someone at level 4 who simply needs to be notified of the outcome. Due to this change, you will notice our documentation now refers to 'approvers' as 'recipients'. Learn more about recipient role types.
Greater control over your data
Approval records and most application settings will now be stored in your linked spreadsheet, giving you greater control over your data. Note: the add-on will rely on this information to operate so do not sort, edit, or modify this data in any way. To track recent requests, use the admin portal. To perform more detailed analysis, simply duplicate the sheet.
Reduced permissions
The add-on has removed the requirement for access to a users Calendar and Documents. These were originally required for functionality that has since been deprecated. In addition, the add-on will no longer require edit access to your Google Form and linked spreadsheet. Unlike other add-ons, approvers will also not be required to be an editor of your Google Form or linked spreadsheet. To achieve this, it required significant changes to the way the add-on operates and we are proud to be the first in market to offer this capability. Learn more about permissions on our security page.
Improved application performance
Overhauled backend infrastructure supporting the application and the ability to select the region closest to you has significantly improved the application's performance. The average wait time on 1-click response links has reduced by approx 80%, giving your approvers more time to spend on work that matters.
Personalized notifications
Change the title, subject and body of all notification types. Plus, the ability to include a private message on individual recipient notifications. Learn more about personalizing notifications.
Admin portal
As the add-on administrator, you will be able to view a list of recent requests, search or filter on those pending, approved or declined and perform various actions like send reminders, resend notifications and amend recipients.
Support for Team Drive
The add-on now supports forms and spreadsheets that are stored in Team Drive.
Support of 'grid' question types
The add-on now supports 'grid' question types and will include the responses to these questions types appropriately in the form response table of email notifications.
A fresh new look
Green is out, blue and yellow tones are in. Color aside, the new version of the add-on has been designed mobile-first. As such, all functionality will be available across all screen sizes.
How to install the add-on
Open your existing Google Form, or create a new Google Form. From within your Form, click 'More' (three vertical dots located in the top right corner) then click 'Add-ons'.
Type 'formapprovals.com' in the search bar. Once located, install the add-on.
For further details on how to install and open add-ons, refer to Google's support page.
Once installed, open your Google Form > click the puzzle piece (at the top) > click Form Approvals.
Note, if you are using a small screen device and cannot locate the puzzle piece > click More > click Add-ons > then click Form Approvals.
What's next:

Click the 'Add static recipient' icon and enter the recipient's email address.

Steps to add a dynamic recipient:
  1. Add a question to your form that captures the recipient's email address. This must be a short answer, multiple choice or dropdown question type.
  2. Click the 'Add dynamic recipient' icon and select the question that asks for the recipient's email address. If you make amendments to your form while the add-on is open and the question does not show as available, click the refresh icon.

Steps to add a dynamic recipient:
  1. Add a Dropdown or Multiple choice question to your form.
  2. Add options that include the email addresses between < and > symbols. For example, if you need the approval to go to a particular department, enter the department name followed by the recipient's email address between < and > symbols. Similarly, you could replace the department name with a person's name. The add-on will detect the < and > symbols and use the email address in between.
  3. Once the question has been added to your Form, within the add-on click the 'Add dynamic recipient' icon and select the question that asks for the recipient's email address.

Steps to add a dynamic recipient look-up table:
  1. Add a question to your form that influences the recipient required. For example, if it is the requestor's Department, add a Drop down or Multiple choice question of all possible Departments.
  2. Create a new sheet (within the spreadsheet that is linked to your Google Form)
  3. Enter all potential response values (e.g Department names) in column A and associated recipient email addresses in column B.
  4. Within the add-on sidebar, add a 'dynamic recipient'.
  5. Select the question title that captures the information you entered in column A.
  6. Click the 'More' icon
  7. Click 'add recipient look-up table'
  8. Select 'Add look-up table'
  9. Select the sheet that contains the look-up data
  10. Select the column that contains the recipient's email addresses
  11. Close the Recipient look-up table window, then click Save in the main screen.


Note, if you previously created a recipient look-up table in a different spreadsheet, follow these steps to migrate it across:
  1. Open the spreadsheet that contains your existing look-up table
  2. Open the sheet that contains the look-up table information
  3. Select all data in the sheet
  4. Click Edit > Copy
  5. Open the spreadsheet that is linked to your Google Form
  6. Add a new sheet
  7. Re-name the sheet
  8. Select cell A1
  9. Click Edit > Paste
  10. Open your Google Form, then open the add-on
  11. Click the 'More' icon next to the dynamic recipient that contains the existing look-up table
  12. Click 'Add look-up table'
  13. Select the sheet that you named in step 7
  14. Select the column that contains the recipient's email addresses
  15. Close the Recipient look-up table window, then click Save in the main screen.


Tip: If you want multiple recipients using the same look-up table you can add additional recipient email addresses in columns C, D, etc. For example, if you want two recipients, repeat steps 3 to 11 (above) but instead of entering the recipient email address in column B, enter it into column C. Refer to the images below.



The add-on will send the approval request to each person in the group. Once a response has been received from one member of the group, the add-on will move to subsequent recipients (if applicable). Should another member of the group attempt to respond, they will be advised that a response has already been received.

Tip: Group recipients can also be used in conjunction with the 'Receives a Copy' role type to notify a group of people when the workflow is complete.

Steps to add a static group recipient:
  1. Within Google Contacts, create a contact group and then add contacts to your group. Refer to this article for instructions.
  2. Click the 'Add static recipient' icon and enter the group name. When you type the group name, it will autocomplete between { and } symbols. If you only recently created the group and the name does not autocomplete, click the refresh icon.


Steps to add a dynamic group recipient:
  1. Within Google Contacts, create a contact group and then add contacts to your group. Refer to this article for instructions.
  2. Add a dynamic recipient look-up table (refer to Option 2C above). Instead of entering the recipient email address in column B, enter the group name between { and } symbols.
What's next:
How to set the receiving order
This feature allows the request to be sent to recipients in a particular order. To set the receiving order:
  1. From your Google Form, open the add-on
  2. Add two or more recipients
  3. Click the 'Set receiving order' icon
  4. Input fields will appear on the left side
  5. Enter the order in which they should receive notifications
For example, a recipient at level 2 will only be notified after everyone at level 1 has responded.
Tip: For parallel approvals, enter 1, 1, 1, etc. For sequential approvals, enter 1, 2, 3, etc. You may also enter a combination of parallel and sequential approvals (e.g 1, 1, 1, 2, 3).
Note, the add-on will default to parallel approvals if no receiving order is set.
How to add recipient logic
Use recipient logic when you want the workflow to go to a recipient only if specific conditions are met.
  1. From your Google Form, open the add-on
  2. Add a static or dynamic recipient
  3. Next to your recipient, click the 'More' icon
  4. Click 'Add recipient logic'
  5. A new window will open
  6. Within the new window, select a question title
  7. Select a comparison operator
  8. Enter a value
You can add multiple conditions by clicking '+ add conditions'
When adding multiple conditions, you can define the relationship between the conditions. If 'all' is selected, the add-on will only send notifications to the recipient if all conditions are met. When 'one' is selected, the add-on will send approval notifications to the recipient if any one condition is met. For example, if 'all' is selected it will only route to the recipient if condition 1 is met AND condition 2 is met. If 'one' is selected, it will route to the recipient if condition 1 is met OR condition 2 is met.



Tip: If you find yourself using recipient logic often and need more than 10 recipients, consider adding dynamic recipients to reduce the number of recipients required to be entered within the add-on. Refer to options 2A, 2B and 2C (Adding a dynamic recipient) of support article how to add recipients.
What's next:
Add a private message for your recipients:
To add a private message:
  1. From your Google Form, open the add-on
  2. Add a static or dynamic recipient
  3. Next to your recipient, click the 'More' icon
  4. Select 'other recipient settings'
  5. Enter a private message for the recipient
The private message will only be sent to this recipient.
How to change the role of your recipients:
To change the role type:
  1. From your Google Form, open the add-on
  2. Add a static or dynamic recipient
  3. Next to your recipient, click the 'More' icon
  4. Select 'other recipient settings'
  5. Select the role that you require. The table below outlines the role types.
The application will default to 'Needs to Approve' if no other role type is selected.
Recipients with this role type... ...can do the following
Needs to Approve Approve, decline, or request more info* from the requestor. Approve will move the workflow to the next level. Decline will send the workflow back to the requestor for re-submission. Request more info will send the workflow back to the requestor. The request more info button on the Needs to Approve role is in beta beta (send feedback).
Needs to Recommend Recommend, not recommend, or request more info* from the requestor. Recommend and not recommend will both move the workflow to the next level. Request more info will send the workflow back to the requestor.
Needs to Acknowledge Acknowledge receipt of the request.
Needs to Action beta (send feedback) Confirm when a task associated with the request has been completed.
Needs to Edit Edit the original form submission, or request more info* from the requestor. Editing the form submission will move the workflow to the next level (if applicable). Request more info will send the workflow back to the requestor for re-submission.
Receives a Copy Receives a copy of the request only. No action is required.
* The "Request more information" button will only be available when 'Collect email addresses' is enabled in your Google Form settings.
Things to know when using the "Needs to Edit" role type:
  • The "Needs to Edit" role must have a unique position in the receiving order (e.g a workflow with two recipients cannot be sent in parallel order if one recipient is an Editor). Learn how to change the receiving order.
  • Google Forms does not provide us the ability to determine who made the edit, so the add-on will check to see whose turn it is in the workflow and then proceed according to the following:
    • If the workflow is currently awaiting the response of a recipient with role "Needs to Edit", it will assume it is him / her editing the form, accept the edit and proceed to the next recipient.
    • If the workflow is currently awaiting the response of any another recipient type, it will assume the edit has been made by the Requestor and, to maintain the integrity of the request, it will restart the workflow from the beginning.
  • The workflow route is set when the first form submission is made by the requestor. If you need subsequent recipients to add recipients or change the route of a workflow, we recommend adding a 'place holder' static recipient within your workflow, and have the recipient 'amend' the place holder recipient using the Actions button on the tracking page. To allow this, you will need to enabled 'Allow recipients to amend recipients' in the Settings tab of the add-on.
What's next:
How to personalize email notifications
To personalize notifications:
  1. From your Google Form, open the add-on.
  2. Open the 'Settings' tab.
  3. Within the 'General' settings tab, click 'Email editor'.
  4. A separate window will open and give you the ability to personalize the different notification types.
Tip: You can add the request number to the subject by including Request #<<Request Number>>. You can also include other form response data in the subject or email body by including the question title between << and >> symbols.
Here is a summary of what can and cannot be changed:
  • The subject of each notification type may be amended through the Email Editor.
  • The header (request # | # of recipients | request date) is not able to be personalized.
  • The title included on all email notifictions is taken from the title of your form. Note, you must re-save your settings within the add-on after the title is changed for it to take effect.
  • A private message may be included on individual recipient notifications. From within the add-on, go to the 'Recipients' tab > click 'More' > 'Other recipient settings'.
  • The body of each notification type may be amended through the Email Editor. The Form Response Table will include all questions that have been responded to unless you have specified sections to be hidden. See below for instructions on how to hide sections of a form response.
  • The response links (e.g Approve, Decline, Comment) will be different based on the role type you select for your recipient, but are not able to be further personalized.
  • The footer (this is an automated email sent by formapprovals.com...) is a requirement of Gmail and other mail providers when sending transactional emails and is therefore not able to be personalized.
  • The from name may be amended through the Email Editor.
  • The email address used will be the email account that you used to set up the add-on. To change the email account, refer to the question how do I change the addon administrator on our FAQ page. When subscribing to a paid plan, you also have the ability to pay additional for a feature that sends all emails from the formapprovals.com domain.
Change the name which emails are sent from:
The add-on will default to send notifications from "Form Approvals". This can be changed:
  1. From your Google Form, open the add-on.
  2. Open the 'Settings' tab.
  3. Within the 'General' settings tab, click 'Email editor'.
  4. Within the Email Editor, click 'Other'.
  5. Change the 'From Name' as required.
Hide sections of the form response in notifications:
  1. Within the Email Editor, click 'Other'
  2. You will see an option to select which 'sections to display in notifications'. Note, you will only see this option if you have multiple sections in your form.
  3. Uncheck the box for each section that you want omitted from email notifications (i.e the add-on will only display sections that are checked).
This is particularly useful if your form respondent is entering information that recipients don't need to see.
What's next:
How to share files uploaded with requestors and recipients
When files are uploaded to your Google Form, the add-on will include the link to the files on email notifications. If your requestors or recipients need access to these files, you will need to ensure sharing permissions (of the Google Drive folder) are set appropriately.
To access the Google Drive folder:
  • Open your Google Form
  • Click the Responses tab
  • Locate the question(s) that asks the user to upload a file
  • Click the View Folder link
  • This will open up the folder where files uploaded are stored
Once you have located the folder(s), share access to the folder by following the steps on Google's support page. You may share the folder with specific people, anyone with access to the link, or a group of people. Set a permission level that you are comfortable with. Any files uploaded to your form will inherit the same sharing permissions as you set for the folder.
If you have multiple file upload questions in your form, you will need to perform the above steps for each folder.
How to track requests
The status of requests can be tracked at any time, using the following methods:
  1. Requestors have the ability to track the status of requests via email notifications they receive. The request number at the top of email notifications is hyperlinked allowing requestors to track the status of their request at any time during the workflow process.
  2. Recipients also have the ability to track the status of requests via email notifications they receive also using the hyperlinked request number at the top of email notifications.
  3. Add-on administrators have the ability to track the status of requests via the admin portal. To access the Admin portal, open the add-on > click 'Settings' > then click 'Admin portal'. The admin portal gives you the ability to send reminders, amend recipients, and resend notifications across all recent requests.
  4. Add-on administrators (and anyone with access to the spreadsheet linked to the Google Form) also have the ability to:
    • review the status of all requests in the Detailed Approval Records sheet. The add-on will record detailed information related to each request like the recipient email address, issue date, status of their response, response date, and any comment left by the recipient. See below for more information on the Detailed Approval Records and Settings sheets.
    • review the status of all requests in the Form Responses sheet. The add-on will record the Request # and Overall Status on the right hand side of form response data.
Approval records and application settings
Approval records and application settings will be automatically stored in your linked spreadsheet. This gives you total control over your data and allows you to report, analyse or even perform more advanced functions like connect with other systems or processes.
A sheet named Form Responses 1 will be automatically created by Google Forms in your linked spreadsheet. This sheet will store all form responses received on your form.
A sheet named Settings [Form:XYZ] will be automatically created by the add-on in your linked spreadsheet. This sheet will store most settings you save within the application.
A sheet named Detailed Approval Records [Form:XYZ] will be automatically created by the add-on in your linked spreadsheet. This sheet will store all approval records relating to the application. Note, this sheet contains privileged information that should not be shared with requestors or recipients.
XYZ represents the ID of the Form the sheet relates to.
The add-on will read and write to these sheets each time you or your recipients use the application, so be careful not to modify the data. To perform analysis we recommend always duplicating the sheet(s).
How to approve requests
Each time a Google Form submission is made by a user, recipients will receive an email notification with links to respond to the request. Emails notifications contain unique links for recipients to respond. Do not reply or forward them to other users. The links recipients receive will depend on the role they have been assigned. Learn more about role types and their respective actions.
Troubleshooting
When files are uploaded to your Google Form, the add-on will include the link to the files on email notifications. If your requestors or recipients need access to these files, you will need to ensure sharing permissions (of the Google Drive folder) are set appropriately. Refer to the support article how to use file upload questions for more information.
The add-on may not send notifications to your recipients for a variety of reasons. The below guide will help you identify the problem. When a form submission is made:
  1. If a new record is not created in the 'Detailed Approval Records' sheet:
    1. Make sure the Timestamp column of the 'Form Responses' sheet is positioned in column A. The add-on requires the Timestamp column to remain in Column A at all times. Though, it can be hidden if you like.
    2. Open the add-on, then click Settings, then click Account.
      1. If the add-on is ON, toggle the add-on OFF and then toggle it back ON. Sometimes Google triggers become stale - this process resets the trigger that allows the add-on to run on your account.
      2. If the add-on is OFF, toggle it back ON. If you reached your monthly quota and the add-on was automatically disabled, you will need to reactivate the add-on on each form that uses the add-on.
        Note, this process is only required when you reach your quota and the add-on is automatically disabled.
  2. If a new record is created in the 'Detailed Approval Records' sheet but a recipient is skipped or the Overall Status is marked as 'Conditions not met', one of the following is likely to have occurred:
    1. if you use recipient logic, check to ensure the logic set up against the recipient looks correct and the logic value entered exactly matches the option selected by the requestor. For more information, refer how to add recipient logic;
    2. if you use a recipient look-up table, check to ensure the option selected by the requestor exactly matches the value entered in Column A of your spreadsheet. For more information, refer how to add a recipient look-up table;
    3. if you use dynamic recipients, check to ensure the dynamic recipient question was completed by the form respondent - questions linked to a dynamic recipient should always be mandatory questions; or
    4. check to ensure the recipient's email address is a valid email address (i.e check for typos).
  3. If a new record is created in the 'Detailed Approval Records' sheet and the Overall Status is marked 'In progress', check the sent items of the add-on administrator's Google account. If the sent items contains the email, but it was never received by the recipient it may have been blocked by their mail filters. Note, email will only be included in your Sent items if you are using a Google account that has Google Mail enabled and you are not subscribed to have emails sent from the formapprovals.com domain.
Once you have completed the above steps and identified the problem, run a test form submission and see whether notifications are now sent.
The add-on will only send a notification to the requestor when 'Collect email addresses' is enabled in your Google Form settings. Once this setting is enabled, the add-on will start sending notifications to the requestor on new form submissions made.
To build email notifications, the add-on draws information from the Form Responses sheet and therefore requires the structure of the sheet to remain largely intact.
If some of your notifications are missing form response information:
  • Open the spreadsheet that is linked to your form.
  • Open the Form Responses sheet (note, you may have renamed it).
  • Check to ensure the column headings are positioned in Row 1.
  • Check to ensure the Timestamp column is positioned in Column A.
  • Check to ensure the Request # and Overall Status columns are on the right hand side of form response data. The add-on omits any information on the right hand side of these columns.
  • Check to ensure the question name in your Google Form is not blank. The add-on ignores any questions without a name. The add-on also omits any questions that were not responded to.
If form response data is in the wrong order on your notifications:
  • Open the spreadsheet that is linked to your form.
  • Open the Form Responses sheet (note, you may have renamed it).
  • Change the order of columns to match the order of your form questions
Please note, when adjusting column order the add-on requires the Timestamp column to be in Column A, and it requires the Request # and Overall Status columns to be on the right hand side of your form response data.
You could be receiving this error for a variety of reasons. The most common are:
  • The add-on is unable to access Google's services temporarily. Retrying again in a few minutes will generally resolve this.
  • The add-on is unable to access the information in your spreadsheets since the format or content of the spreadsheet data has changed. Make sure there hasn't been any changes to the format or content of the spreadsheet data.
If you continue to receive this error, send the URL that generates this error to support@formapprovals.com and we can assist.
Google's way of managing the security associated with third party applications is through the authorization process. When you provide authorization to an add-on, it allows the add-on to access your Google Form, Google Sheet, etc to store and retrieve information. Think of it like sharing your files with a colleague; providing authorization to an add-on is a more secure method of allowing access your files. Rather than having to add or remove access to individual files, this method allows you to do it at the application level. When this authorization expires or is revoked, the add-on cannot access your files and process form submissions or approvals, until authorization is provided again. To authorize the add-on, open your Google Form > open the add-on > click Settings > click Admin portal. By simply accessing the Admin portal, the add-on will capture the authorization it requires to run. The add-on will require authorization:
  • The first time you use the add-on
  • If you change your Google account password or security settings
  • If we make changes to the permissions required - we will notify you in advance
  • If you remove the application's authorization from Google's third party application permissions page
  • If your G Suite administrator removes the application's authorization on your behalf either manually or through a specific policy they set
If you are being asked to re-authorize the add-on frequently, you may need to speak with your G Suite administrator to confirm what domain wide policies are in place that automatically revoke third party application's authorizations. In this case, your G Suite administrator will need to adjust the policies or whitelist our add-on.
A change made by Google is affecting users that are logged in to multiple Google accounts. This is a known error impacting all add-ons. To avoid this error, sign out of your Google accounts and sign back in with one account only (the account used to set up the add-on initially).