Collecting information

Almost all ClearForms workflows include at least one “Collect Information” step. These are online forms – they allow you to have the applicant (a constituent or business) or someone on your Internal team add new information into a process.

When you start setting up a workflow and add a Collect Information step, you'll have the option to decide whether an external applicant (resident or business) will complete the step or someone internal to your organization. If an applicant is to complete the step, you'll see the option to request a signature when the step is completed. You'll also see the options to Autoadvance (if no data is to be collected) and Lock On Complete (answers becomes uneditable upon completion unless an admin unlocks the step).

CityGrows Collect/Recors Information Page

Once you've done those settings, you start adding Sections and Questions (fields) to the step.  

First, you add sections to your forms (they have blue bars on top), and then individual fields to those sections. You can move sections around using the up and down arrows, and add instructions to sections (click on the 3 lines on top of each other in the blue section header). Then start adding fields! You have many types of information you can collect – text, phone numbers, emails, and you can even accept file uploads. There are 12 different field types available as part of the "Collect Info" step. For each field you decide what to call it - whether it's required - and whether it will be included in open data. (You're also able to add Logic at the section level. Click here to learn more about how to make sections appear conditionally.)

CityGrows Information section field type drop-down

Text: Use this when you expect to receive a short phrase or word.

Paragraph text: Same as text, but with more space. Use this when you expect to receive full sentences or paragraphs.

Email: A standard email address ([email protected])

Number (no decimal): An integer or whole number. Use this when you only want to allow whole numbers (1, 2, 35, 400, etc). Must be entered without commas or decimal point.

Number (with decimal): A number with the option to add a decimal point (45.2, 0.1, 3.14159). Use this for things like measurements and ratios.

Money: formatted in US$.

Address: A mappable address. Our address fields will automatically find the location. compare it to a database of U.S. mailing addresses, suggested validated address if found, and plot it on a map.

Date: Date fields give you 3 formatting options (available under "Advanced settings" once you create a Date field. These are Date only/ Date and Time/ Time only.

Date Range: The Date Range field type gives your applicants the ability to pick a start and end date on a calendar and the field collects each value.

Multiple choice (choose one): You'll add a list of answers, and applicants will select one answer only. You can associated formula values with multiple choice answers, and upload a .csv of answers.

Checkboxes (choose none, one, or many): You'll add a list of answers (you can also upload via .csv), and applicants will select one or more of possible answers (no answer is also acceptable). For both multiple choice and checkboxes, you can decide which order you want the answers to appear in. If you want to make sure that applicants select at least one of your checkbox answers, use the Advanced settings on the field to select the number of responses you're looking for.

File: Receive a file. We accept almost any file type (image, .doc, xls, .csv).  

Phone number: Accept a phone number (U.S. format).

Organization: Utilize ClearForms' Directory and Organization functions to keep static information on businesses and organizations in your system and make repeat form completion easier and information in your system more robust.  Learn more here.

Why can't I just use the "text" data type for everything?

You could, but then you'd miss out on the benefits of using ClearForms! Choosing the correct field types for your data does a couple of great things:

  • It ensures that people don't accidentally enter the wrong information.

  • It protects against mistakes. For example, the system will not accept a phone number that is too short or an email address that's missing an @ sign.

  • It allows you to get better insights into how your processes are being used.

  • It allows us to create automatic data visualizations related to the type of data being collected.

If you don't see the type of field you're looking for, please get in touch using the chat icon at the lower right of your screen and let us know.

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