Maybe you didn’t even know, but if you are using Office 365 or OneDrive, you can use Excel to create a survey, share it with others and easily get the results.  There are many tools you can use to create surveys including Survey Monkey, SharePoint, InfoPath, Google forms, Yammer and others (too many to list).  Which should you choose?  Well it depends, but in today’s blog I’ll give you a quick rundown of why you should use Excel to create a survey.  Using Excel won’t be for everyone depending on your requirements, but it does serve a purpose in the landscape of survey tools.

As you can tell from the title, I am not going to explain how to create a survey with Excel, you can find a great description of that on the Office website

#1 - It’s Free / Included with OneDrive & Office 365

Many of the tools that you can find are free and this is no different.  The only catch is that you must use in conjunction with either Microsoft consumer OneDrive service or by using OneDrive for Business as part of an Office 365 subscription.  This saves you from having “another” tool to manage.  Whether you use OneDrive for personal use or Office 365 for business you have the ability to create surveys with Excel.

If you’re in OneDrive, make sure you’re in the Files section, click Create and choose Excel survey:

In OneDrive for Business, click New and choose Excel survey:


I should also mention that once you share the link to users the folks who complete the survey do NOT need to have to Excel.  They can just fill it in in the browser (and that’s just about any browser). 

#2 - You Already Know and Love Excel I love Excel

Chances are you use Excel on a semi-frequent basis or have previously used Excel.  If you are like me and love working in the Business Intelligence space, you are in Excel every day.  Since you’re already familiar with filtering, sorting, charting and the like, you have the knowledge to easily manage the data and turn it into something useful.  Or you are just an Excel geek and can’t wait to create pivot charts from it. In which case, there’s no help for your affliction (but you are not alone).

#3 – You Have Simple Requirements

I mentioned at the start that doing surveys in Excel isn't for everyone and I meant it.  There’s a lot it won’t do, like branching logic, detailed automated results and customized form branding.  But lucky for you, you don’t need any of that fancy mumbo-jumbo and just need a quick and dirty but slick way to collect feedback.  You just need to ask a few questions (anonymously since Excel doesn’t capture the submitter) and get some feedback.  Maybe it’s a quick poll; or feedback for a class; or training session; or a satisfaction survey for a support organization.  It takes mere minutes to create and share a survey! 

Sample Excel survey

#4 – It’s Very Easy to Create and Use the Survey

In case you haven’t gotten this yet, it’s a rather straight-forward process to create and share your new survey.  I showed you above how to start a survey.  From there, you just fill out a small wizard where you can define the title or subtitle:


edit existing questions:


or create new new ones:


Once complete, you can get a preview of the survey form by clicking Save and View in the bottom right corner of the edit form screen.  If you’re not on the edit form screen, click the Survey button on the ribbon, and choose View Survey:


Similarly, when you’re ready to go and submit your form to the world just click Share Survey.  If one exists, you can remove it. Or if this is the first time, you can create a new one:


When users get the link, the survey form opens in the browser with nothing else but the survey and a Submit button. Better yet no password prompts or accounts required!  Just a clean and simple survey form.


As users fill out the survey, the results will automatically populate in the Excel spreadsheet as rows of results.  From there, you can sort, filter and chart to your heart's content. 


As you can see, with a few minutes of work you can be up and going with an online survey. 

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