Sunday, April 17, 2016

Make Google Form responses easy to read with “Save as Doc” add-on

Google Forms is a one of the most useful parts of the Google Apps suite for schools. With Google Forms teachers, techies, admins, and students can accomplish many tasks including:
  • Online assessments
  • Collecting data for science experiments
  • Brainstorming ideas in class
  • Completing a reading log
  • Surveying parents
  • Accepting technology help tickets
  • And much more…
For all its wonderful features, one pain point for Google Forms is viewing all the responses in an easy-to-read format. When the responses from a Google Form get collected in a Google Sheet, the responses are arranged one per row, with each answer in its own cell. This is ok for short answers, but can be quite a challenge to read when the answers are long (essays, open ended questions, etc.). Reading lots of text from multiple questions from a bunch of respondents is just not easy to do in a Google Sheet.

Now the new version of Google Forms does let you view each response one at a time, which is a definite step forward (click “Responses” then click “Individual”) but it is still not an easy way to view all the responses at once in an easy to read format.

One of the best solutions to this problem is an add-on for Sheets called “Save as Doc”. See below for detailed directions on how to use “Save as Doc” to take responses from a Google Form and put them in a readable format as a Google Doc.


“Save as Doc” is a useful and easy add-on for Google Sheets. What it does is take one row at a time, where the data normally goes from left to right cell by cell, and creates a Google Doc where the same data is displayed vertically one line at a time, in question / answer format, making it much easier to read.

First you need to install the add-on if you have not done so already.

  • From Google Sheets click “Add-ons” then “Get add-ons”.
  • Scroll down to find “Save as Doc” or search for “Save as Doc”.
  • Alternately you can just go to this link: Save as Doc add-on link
  • Click the “+ FREE” button to install the add-on.


Once you have “Save as Doc” add-on installed you can use it on any spreadsheet. Most often you may find it useful for the Google Sheet that holds the responses from a Google Form, especially one with long answers.
  • Start by selecting the rows and columns of data you wish to turn into a Google Doc. 
  • Simply click, hold down your mouse button, and drag to highlight the desired data in your Google Sheet.

  • Now click “Add-ons” then “Save as Doc” then “Start”.
  • This will open a panel on the right side of the Sheet.
  • For “Save Doc file” type in a name for the new document that will hold the data.
  • Check “Include Headings” if you would like the column headings to appear above each item in the Doc. This can be useful so you remember what question each answer goes with.
  • If you chose to include headings, you can specify where the headings are found in the “Headings Location” drop down menu.
  • You can also select the size for the headings in the Doc from “Heading 1” (large) to “Heading 5” (small).
  • Check the box for “Add a pagebreak after each row” to start a new page in the Google Doc for each row in the spreadsheet. This will put all the answers from each person who filled out the form on a different page of the Doc.
  • Finally click the “Save as Doc” button.
  • When done you can click the “Open the Doc” link to view your new document.
  • You now will have all of the responses to your Google Form in an easy to read Google Document. 
  • The answers from each person will be on their own page, listed vertically in question / answer format. 
  • As usual you can now share this document with others who may need to review the responses as well.


Certainly there are other options for reformatting the responses to a Google Form. For example, you could use the "autoCrat" add-on for Sheets to do merge the responses into separate Google Docs. Although I love autoCrat and use it extensively it is more complicated, and more powerful, tahn what may be needed in this case..

When you need a quick and easy way to make Form responses easier to read, the “Save as Doc” add-on is a perfect match.

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. Thank you! I have been wanting a way to do this!

  2. Like it, but doesn't seem to work if you pick varying columns. Only creates the form using the last one selected.

    1. That is correct. The columns must be contiguous. If you want you could pull just the columns you want into a separate tab with the QUERY function so they will all be side-by-side. Like this...
      =query(Sheet1!A1:E, "select A,C,E")
      Then you could run "Save as Doc" on the subset of columns in the new tab.

  3. This is great! I am also trying to figure out how a teacher may be able to attach a rubric to an extended response question from a Google Form. Any ideas or is it here I am just missing it?

  4. Would be even better if it produced individual docs per row