This year I’ve been playing a lot with two Google Forms scripts: Flubaroo and Autocrat. I was first introduced to Autocrat by my boss. As soon as I saw what it could do my brain went manic with ideas! I instantly started playing with the concept of using a skills assessment form to generate a PDF that provided professional development suggestions based on the form data. The PDF was then emailed to the recipient. It worked! I didn’t get as far as the recommendations being generated on their own. I did fill in the recommendations by hand in the spreadsheet but then ran the script and generated the PDF letter which was then sent to the recipient automatically. I was pleased.
My next Autocrat project came as a request. The request was to create a form that could be used during an informal teaching observation. Upon completion of the observation, the principal wanted a PDF to be generated with the observation data and automatically emailed to the teacher being observed. Fortunately, a colleague of mine had already done most of the leg work on this. I simply tidied up the PDF document that was merged with the spreadsheet and ran the script. I find this to be a very productive use of forms and the autocrat script.
Furthermore, a third request came in regarding beginning of the year forms from an administrative assistant. She wanted to take paper forms that requested a lot of the same information and some how have them automatically populate these similar fields in an electronic format. Immediately I thought of the Autocrat script. Now the staff fills out one form online and that data is merged with a PDF that gets populated with the data in all the necessary areas. The PDF is several pages and contains each piece of paperwork that use to exist separately. The data collected , such as name, address, phone # requests is used to populate these required documents.
If you haven’t explored Google Forms and the Autocrat script I strongly encourage you to give it a try. It is remarkably simple to use and easy to run. There are plenty of You Tube videos to take you through the initial set-up and necessary steps to prepare for use of autocrat. And if you have ideas for using this simple “mail merge” tool please share!