Thursday, March 20, 2014

Validating Data in Google Forms - Truly Brilliant

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. It doesn't matter to me if they don't observe grammar and mechanics when texting or composing anything personal or informal. 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 Word Count

You can require a minimum word count for entries. My students turn in their blog posts on a Google Form, and I require my students to write a minimum of 100 words. The expression for this requirement is below.

Validating Character Count
You can have student practice writing more succinctly. Twitter has made it necessary to convey our ideas in 140 characters or less. This would really force students to consider what's important and what's not.

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 characters. With regular expressions, the possibilities are endless.

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


  1. AnonymousMay 27, 2014

    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:


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