Getting answers in a uniform fashion can be a difficult task. You could choose the harder path and ask people individually, but you know, that’s tedious and leads to mistakes. Or, alternatively, you could use an app to do the data collecting for you.
Apps like Microsoft Forms and Google Forms do just that. You can create surveys, polls, quizzes and more, share them to your fellow humans, and receive information back in a timely, but uniform fashion–no door to door questioning necessary.
But that brings up an important question: which one does it better, Google Forms or Microsoft Forms? That’s the question being answered here today, so let’s get started.
Creating Your Form
Google Forms and Microsoft Forms are cut from the same cloth. Their primary function is to provide a way for people to create surveys and polls, share them with a group of people, and have the results relayed back. Who needs paper surveys anymore, right?
With the ability to create surveys and polls, obviously that comes with some much needed expectations. Thankfully, both offer on that front. For example, both Google Forms and Microsoft Forms have options for respondents to answer questions, such as choice and text, but Google Forms offers more.
As of the writing of this article, Microsoft Forms offers, Choice, Text, Rating, Date, Ranking, Likert, and Net Promoter Score. The “Section” option provides a break between questions.
Now, compare that to Google Forms’ choices, such as: Short answer, Paragraph, Multiple Choice, Checkboxes, Dropdown, File Upload, Linear Scale, Multiple Choice Grid, Checkbox Grid, Date, and Time–Date and Time are separate entries. Google Forms has nearly twice as many options than Microsoft Forms.
What does that mean for you? Well, it means Google Forms offers a more robust and flavorful way of creating surveys and polls, allow for you to create one that’s very unique. For example, choosing “File Upload” will give the surveyor the option to upload an image as a response, provided they sign in with their Google account.
Taking Advantage of Templates
Templates are underrated MVPs when it comes to documentation of any kind. Even if you don’t use a template, it’s a great way of forming a picture in your mind how certain aspects of a form are supposed to look, especially if you’re new to creating a resume or, in this case, a survey or poll. Templates are amazing as a frame of reference.
And that’s why Google Forms has a leg up on Microsoft Forms. That’s not to say Microsoft Forms doesn’t have any, they do, but only half as many as Google Forms does. The templates that are available for Microsoft Forms are, well, a bit strange. Most are pretty straightforward, but then you have templates like “Animal Quiz (with Auto-Grading” or “T-shirt Sign Up.”
Google Forms, on the other hand, provides a far more generalized library of templates, 17 templates to be specific. They’re then broken down into three categories: Personal, Work, and Education. Microsoft Forms just throws their templates together.
As far as templates go, Google Forms wins this round by having 5 more templates than Microsoft Forms.
When it comes to using either Microsoft Forms or Google Forms, there’s no real noticeable difference; in fact, they feel quite similar. However, both have a lot of empty space when you first open a new form, which will eventually be populated with questions and such.
With that being said, Google Forms has a bit more going on when you first look at it. For example, when you look at Microsoft Forms, nothing immediately jumps out at you on what to do first (look at the image above for context).
As for Google Forms, you’re immediately drawn to the default question created. You can see there’s a drop down menu for your choice of questions and answers, as well as text boxes to add information. You are immediately drawn to the center of the page. You can even see your text editing tools on the right hand side (they’ll move to the bottom of your page, should you choose to reduce the size of your browser window).
To be fair, it takes a few minutes to catch your footing with Microsoft Forms, both are relatively easy to use and are very user friendly. Spend an hour or so with either one and you’ll feel like an expert in no time.
Sprucing Up Your Form with Themes
Who doesn’t like a bit of customization, a bit of pizazz here and there? That’s where themes come into play. Should you so choose, you can add some color to your form on both Microsoft Forms and Google Forms. But they aren’t without their differences.
With Google Forms you can change the color scheme of your entire form, as well as add an image to the header at the top. There are a handful of colors at first, which you can add more by using the color wheel for a more unique color not immediately displayed. And let’s not forget a handful of fonts to choose from.
As for Microsoft Forms, there’s no header, but there is an option to alter the theme of your form. Unfortunately, it’s fairly limited. For starters, you won’t find a color wheel, only a preset of colors and a handful of graphic themes. You can, however, add an image to your form. Google Forms has theirs limited to the header.
Collaboration Makes the World Go Around
You aren’t always going to be the one creating a survey or poll, collaboration is always around the corner. You’ll need some kind of ability to add collaborators without sharing an account, because that would be risky business. Thankfully, both do have the option to add collaborators, but there’s a catch.
Take Microsoft Forms, it has the option to add collaborators, but NOT on the standard version. If you want to add collaborators to your survey, you’ll need an Office 365 Education or Office 365 Commercial subscription. Don’t have that? Well, too bad.
Google Forms, on the other hand, gives you the option to add collaborators right out of the gate. All you have to do is click More, the three vertical dots in the top right corner of the page, and choose Add Collaborators in the drop down menu. It’s that easy.
However, to get the ball rolling on creating a form–whether it’s a quiz, survey or poll–you’ll need a Google account for Google Forms, and a Microsoft ID for Microsoft Forms. That includes the collaborators, too. They’ll also need active accounts for their respective platforms.
And the Winner is…
It’s fair to say that Google Forms wins by a large margin, arguably, a landslide even. Google Forms just comes with more depth than Microsoft Forms. With so many ways of creating questions and answers, it’s hard to argue using Microsoft Forms until Microsoft can beef it up to better compete with Google Forms.
That isn’t to say Microsoft Forms is terrible, quite the contrary. If you had to describe Microsoft Forms to someone, the best phrase would be “it works.” What it should do is take some cues from Google Forms, as well as remove some of its restrictions like restricting the ability to add collaborators on the “free” version of Microsoft Forms.
Microsoft Forms has made some effort in the Themes department, as well as adding more templates, but it could use some work. It isn’t quite there yet. Until Microsoft Forms gets better or is capable of competing, Google Forms all the way.