How to Schedule your Google Forms and Limit Submissions
When you create a Google Form, it is public by default meaning anyone who has the link to the form can submit a response. Any quiz, poll or survey created inside Google Forms has no expiration date and it can collect unlimited number of responses until the form owner decides to manually close* the form.
For some Google Forms though, limits may be necessary.
- If you are using Google Forms to accept entries for an online contest or a giveaway on your website, you may only want to accept the first ‘n’ entries strictly on a first-come first-served basis and close the form once that limit has reached.
- If you are using Google Forms to collect sign-ups for an event, you may want specify a close date and automatically close the form once the event has ended.
- If you are teacher who is using Google Forms for creating quiz assignments for the class, you may want to set time limits so that your form is open only on specific days during school hours and closed at all other times.
Google Forms offers no option to either specify response limits or any expiration criteria but we can easily incorporate this functionality into our forms with the help of Google Forms add-ons.
To get started, install the Email Google Forms add-on from the Google store. This add-on, as the name suggests, is meant for sending forms response in an email message but it can also help you schedule Google Forms and limit responses.
After the add-on is installed, go to your Google Form and click the add-ons menu (it looks like a puzzle icon). Choose Email Notifications > Limit Google Form Responses and you’ll see the configuration screen as shown above (video).
If your form is currently closed and not accepting responses, you can specify an open date and your closed Google Form will automatically open on the scheduled date. This is useful for event registration forms where the registrations should be opened for public only on a specific date.
Next, you can specify the criteria when your Google Form should be closed for new responses. You can either specify the exact date when the form should be automatically closed or you can set the maximum number of responses that your form should allow before closing itself.
This is perfect option if you are planning to use Google Forms for registrations forms, surveys, contests or any other event that has a limited capacity or is valid only until a specific date and time.
With the Google Form limiter, you can also specify the custom message that will be displayed when someone accesses your closed form. This message has to be in plain text and you cannot use rich formatting or HTML tags. You can however include line breaks, hyperlinks (URLs) and email addresses.
You can even setup recurring open and close schedule with the limiter. For instance, you can specify schedule such that your form will open every Monday and Tuesday between 8 AM and 11 AM. The form will not accept responses outside the specified time window.
The recurring schedule option should be useful for educators who only wish to provide access to the form to student on specific days during specific hours.
The Form limiter is written in Google Apps Script. You can find the source code on Github should you wish to roll out own customised limiter.
Also see: Create PDF documents from Google Forms
- If you’ve specified both Response Limits and a Closing Date, whichever comes first will close the Google Form.
- The open and close date and time specified in the Google Form limiter are set as per the default timezone of your browser /computer.
- The actual open and close time may sometimes vary ± 20 minutes from the specified time due to certain technical limitations of Google add-ons.
- You can click the “Reset” button to completely remove the form schedule and closing limits.
- If you would like to manually close your Google Form for new responses, open the Form, go to the Response tab and uncheck the “Accepting Responses” option. You can re-open the form anytime later by checking the “Not Accepting Responses” button.
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.