Validating Data in Google Forms - Truly Brilliant

March 2014

I slammed this at the Google Certified Teacher Panel at CUE 2014 and so many people wanted to learn it that I decided to blog about it.

I love using Google Forms in my classroom to collect student work, and I know many others do as well. However, did you know that you could validate the data that you collect?

For example, as an English teacher, it drives me crazy when students don’t capitalize the first letter of their names. I believe that it's important for students to remember that proper nouns start with a capital letter. I also believe that it's important for them to be able to move fluidly between informational writing (texting) and academic/professional writing. I could care little if they observe grammar and mechanics when texting or composing anything personal or informational. However, in the professional word, the rules of grammar and mechanics should absolutely be observed, and I want my students to realize that.

Here's what happens when my students try to fill out a Google Form in my class.

So how do you set this up? You may notice that when creating forms you have the option to choose "Data Validation." Here's a screenshot of the back end of my Google Form and what formula to use. You can write whatever you wish for the "Customize error text" box. (Unfortunately, in this screenshot my message is cut-off, but you get the point, I'm sure.)

So simple, and yet, so brilliant!

Below are some other ways you can use data validation in Google Forms.

Validating Numbers

Validating Text

Validating Character Count
I estimate how many characters it would take to have a minimum of 100 words on a blog post (what I require), and then I use that character count to be my requirement for submissions.

Validating Regular Expression
(You create the formula and the parameters.)

You can require phone numbers to be in a certain format or passwords to contain a certain number of capital letters, numbers, and special character.  With regular expressions, the possibilities are endless.  

Do you use data validation in other ways?  If so, please share in the comments below.


  1. Hey! I was at CUE, heard you slam this, and just now Googled it to find out more, and here you are!

    I don't recognize the code you used ?=(.*[A-Z]). Does Google have it's own coding language?

  2. Matt,

    I think you are asking about regular expressions. Try visiting the Google Products page for more information: