When you create a web form with Excel, you get high-quality responses with all required information present and correct. With little training, any Excel user can build advanced graphical web forms that require much less manual labor to process.
May 20, 2010 — The SpreadsheetConverter add-on to Microsoft Excel lets you automatically convert spreadsheets to live web pages. This enables you to design complex, calculating web forms in the familiar Excel environment.
“Web forms are basically tables with rows and columns, just like spreadsheets. For each field in the form, you can insert a graphical widget to simplify data entry. Use a calendar for dates, a list box for options or a checkbox for yes/no”, says Anna Winter, sales manager for SpreadsheetConverter.
Using Excel, you specify the relationship between cells using simple formulas. If one cell contains a quantity and another the unit price, it’s simple to multiply them to display the resulting item price directly in an order form. SpreadsheetConverter retains these formulas in the converted web page, so that prices in the web form are immediately recalculated as quantities are entered into the form.
“Creating a smart web form this way is no different from creating a spreadsheet. If you know the basics of Excel, you know how to design powerful, calculating forms for the web”, says Winter.
Processing submitted forms can require extensive manual labor. All fields in the form must conform to business rules such as being an integer, having a value within a certain range or picking a value from a list. Excel allows you to validate most of the form fields already while the user is typing. SpreadsheetConverter adds a few clever features, like the ability to specify that certain fields are mandatory. If you must have an account number to process a form, just make the account number field mandatory in the form.
“When a web form is built this way, it can be delivered for processing without any information missing. All fields contain valid information, and the user has confirmed also the calculated values like total price and shipping cost”, states Winter.
Delivering forms across the web is another handy feature added by SpreadsheetConverter. When a form has been filled in, it can be sent directly to a preset e-mail address. It can also be stored securely in a database for later retrieval, separately or in a batch. Basic form delivery is a free, hosted service that requires no programming or other IT resources.
SpreadsheetConverter is available for free trial at http://www.spreadsheetconverter.com. It creates web pages that are completely standalone, do not use Excel and run on all web servers. You only need Excel and the Spreadsheet Converter add-on for the actual conversion from spreadsheet to web page format. There are no monthly, per-server or per-user fees, and you may use the program and the web pages it creates for as long as you like. Full versions start at $97.