Getting Started Guidelines to Microsoft Forms Limits and Boundaries

Infographic_MicrosoftFormsGuidelinesFinal

 

Microsoft Forms is a basic lightweight app for quickly collecting information via surveys and quizzes, but you should be aware of its limits.  The strength of Microsoft forms is its licensing.  It’s free to use for anonymous or authenticated users, and the data can be stored in a list or connected to flow to push into other systems, but there are some limits to be aware of especially in relation to using it to build an app.  When do you decide to use a PowerApp vs. a form or even just use the list?  Microsoft Forms is a great way to get started with the new generation of tools in Office 365, but when should you look into the Microsoft ecosystem?  It was when I started pushing the limits that I found there are some limitations in Microsoft Forms.  Even walking through User Voice, you can’t get a clear picture.  I couldn’t find a single place with guidelines on what those limits were that I decided to put together an infographic to simplify the process.  I’m working on a broader infographic for what to use when, and I’m hoping this will simplify the process.  As with all things in Office 365, it’s a moving target and these limits are subject to change anytime, but this is current as of my evaluation and testing on 2/11/2019.  I did see acknowledgement on various forums, but never saw a list of Microsoft Forms Limits in one place so this is my effort to try to consolidate.  Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments or feedback on my experience as well.  Hopefully this posting will encourage users to weigh in on User Voice options to increase these limits.  Let me know if you see any changes as time goes on.  I will plan to support this list over the coming year… and maybe more with encouragement from the community.

1.  Users Can’t Update or Come back to finish their responses.

In this limitation users have to fill out the form and be done.  If users might need to come back to change a response such as in an RSVP or if they want to save and come back later to finish, Microsoft Forms is currently not able to support users coming back.

2. Hard Limit of 100 Questions.

Essentially there is a hard limit of 100 questions in Microsoft Forms.  This boundary does seem like one that should be published and I expect it will be published in the near future.  Of note it really depends on how you ask the questions and what style of questions you’re using as to how this limit is reached.  Some users have experienced the limit at 60 by using different style of questions… see #6 for another example.

3. You are limited to 2 to 10 options on a ranking question.

If you have 10 ranking questions you can only ask 10 questions.  If you have a ranking question with 2 options you’ll only be able to ask 50 questions.  This can make for an odd survey if you keep finding you’re hitting a limit.

4. Choice Questions store only 60 options.

This is a soft limit, so you won’t even notice.  You can provide hundreds of options, but only a max of 60 options are stored to viewed in your results.  So imagine you’re asking the user to choose their country.  As a traveler I know there are 193 UN countries, but At&t seems to think there’s a whole lot more than that so they can say they are in a ton more than they actually are.  That aside, if you ask someone to choose their country, you’ll find Microsoft Forms is only storing 60 options.  So when you’ve got users from 90 countries you’ll find only 60 of them were stored.  In my mind that’s pretty serious.  You could ask that question in a text field, but that’s a little strange.

5. You get a max of 4000 characters in a response.

Imagine your users are giving you feedback and you get a nice essay as a response and find it’s only half there.  Be aware you’ll only get 4000 characters in the long text box response.  I can’t imagine someone pouring their heart out to provide detailed responses and then you get only the first 4000 characters in that response.  Is that enough?  Who knows, but to have it be truncated isn’t cool.

6. Likert scales are limited to 20 questions.

Just as in the limits above, you might find yourself designing a survey and finding you’re running out of questions.  Be aware.

If you like the infographic and want to use it in a blog or in your presentations at SharePoint Saturdays or community events, no problem.  This infographic is shareable with creative commons share with attribution.  As long as you include the whole image you’re good to go.  You can download this infographic on Microsoft Forms Limits from slideshare as a PDF or as a JPG from this blog post, simply right click on the image and choose save.

Join me for a Webinar on this Topic and More

If you liked what you saw here and want more.  You can join me on a webinar where I will dig into the differences between each of the Power Trio and Forms and Forms Pro (what little we know from recent news).

Webinar on March 7, 2019 at 11am Pacific

TOPIC:  “Apps, Forms, Workflows and Tools of Office 365: What to Use When?”

Sponsored by Crow Canyon.

Register free << RSVP – register >>

I’ll be going over each of the Microsoft Apps and Tools and describing their strengths, helping you best understand “when to use what tools” in building out your solutions.

Join Microsoft MVP Joel Oleson with Scott Restivo, CEO of Crow Canyon Software to explore the core of Office 365 tools and dive into the fundamentals of business applications. In this session we’ll: 1). Demystify the tools and reveal limits in application construction and look at when to use what in your biz app lifecycle. 2). Focus on fundamentals and directing when to use what in your tooling and fundamental approaches and provide you with some great take-away’s in the form of Infographics. 3). Finally, we’ll explore the interconnected nature of business solutions from ingestion, business processing, evaluation, reporting, and data analysis in a single platform with integrated tools all in a content services platform. It doesn’t stop there as Hybrid solutions can be constructed with gateways and the power of the cloud allows scale like no other time.

<UPDATE! 2/22/2019>

Kudos to Phil Worrell among others who shared their thoughts on things they thought for which people should be aware.  I’ve gathered theme here from various social platform (in comments) who had some additional “Feature” differences and things to be aware of…

More Forms Limits or Desired Features

  • Limited customization and look & feel, no ability to even change fonts size
  • No attachments or file upload option
  • No country picker (as I mentioned above if you create your own it won’t work well if you use over 60 items and expect to get all items back)
  • No paging or section breaks
  • No way to share a link to collaborate share a secure form with selected individuals only a group option or a link that is open to the entire org
  • No comments on questions to add to an answer for further details.
  • No multiparty questions e.g. fill in you details first name , last name, address etc in one question.
  • No field validation, including email address or other data type validation except numbers
  • No calculated field options

Remember these are subject to change.  In fact, have may have heard about Forms Pro?  We should hear more about this solution, but as you look at what they’ve shared it doesn’t appear to be focused on addressing the things we’ve called out here.  Keep reporting things you care about and voting on User Voice!

Read more about the recent announcement of Microsoft Forms Pro

Microsoft Forms Pro highlights:

  • Easy to set up and configure
  • Trigger surveys around specific events
  • Collect feedback across channels
  • Embed surveys across apps, web, and mobile
  • Identify sentiments automatically
  • Analyze feedback for impactful insights

“This enterprise survey tool makes it easy for organizations to collect feedback across customer touchpoints using surveys, quizzes, and polls, correlate the feedback with business transactions, and derive actionable insights from the combined data,” wrote Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President, Business Applications & Industry at Microsoft.

Microsoft Forms Pro will be available in public preview this spring [2019].”

 

 

SharePoint Usage

SharePoint Community: Cease and Desist Using SharePoint Improperly

<Update>I’m pleased to say @sharepoint has informed me this was an isolated incident, and according to a post on reddit they are working to restore the Facebook page. (Thanks for listening!)

This apparently is not a big crackdown on branding guidelines in the community like I thought it was.  I still think it is important to be familiar with the branding guidelines and try to be more compliant in our usage of the terms and logos especially if you plan to make money.

I do encourage Microsoft to clarify “Community Usage” and even find a way for us to use the logo in our community materials and even a way to use the product in our domain names without having to get permission.

In an effort to help clarify the intention of this post I have edited it to temper some of the language as it was called sensational.  It is my intention to educate and inform.

Joel 12/24/2013

</update>

Have you read Good bye SharePoint Community. It was nice knowing you?  Looks like Microsoft legal hasn’t been collaborating with Microsoft PR.  Definitely not good PR, and definitely not constructive for the community.  In this case it’s a rehash of some of what they started back in the early days.  I remember talking to one of the first SharePoint MVPs… Adam.  His company use to be SharePoint Security.  They came down hard and he renamed his company.  Another of the early SharePoint MVPs who shall stay nameless…  Remember SharePoint University and SharePoint Blogs?  Even SharePoint Experts?  SharePoint is often used in names and names of small companies.  Microsoft at times has allowed some of that to happen in the community, but be warned… the whip has cracked…. no longer!

 

image

In the past there were times they’d go after the bigger guys I remember a time they came after Quest in how they were using SharePoint in the name of their products.  They even had a cease and desist to stop printing some of their stickers that had the name SharePoint on them.  I’m sure there were other companies as well that got the heads up to stop using the word SharePoint, or to simply use it properly.  It is Microsoft’s prerogative to control the use of their product names.  I think if we were to really go back in history we’d find that SharePoint wasn’t the name of the product until after 2007.  2001 was SharePoint Portal, and 2003 was Office SharePoint or Windows SharePoint, and SharePoint didn’t really exist as a brand until 2007.  There were strong usage guidelines that SharePoint was not to be used as a stand alone noun.  Ask Lawrence Liu… I think he spent days and days haggling on how he could create cool jackets for the SharePoint community.  Ooops can we call it the SharePoint Community?  Back in those days if it was to be printed it had to be called Office Community or SharePoint Portal Community or Windows SharePoint Community.  That’s even why we had to simply shorten things to MOSS. Just so we could get the branding police off our backs.  For the most part the branding police were simply watching the marketing team and larger enterprise companies making money with the use of the term SharePoint.

I know after my SharePoint blog started getting properly I got some odd looks from Microsoft people wondering if it was really ok for me to be SharePoint Joel.  For SEO purposes it was really helpful in the past.  I know it was.  Was I doing something wrong?  I wasn’t the first one to put SharePoint in front of my name in my domain name.  Having SharePoint as a key word for my blog was actually very important.  It’s become less important now that I’m doing more Office365 and Yammer, so now I’m happy to be more about Collaboration.  I’ve noticed even Christian has been using the Collaboration word more.  Such as with CollabTalk.  I’m now CollabShow.com and you could say part of that is because I’m expanding my horizons, but part of that is to avoid having either the branding police or Microsoft LCA come after me at some point saying I’m making money on their brand without paying them for the use of the word.  Have I ever made money on SharePoint.  H yeah. I’ve had a great run at it.  I have very much to thank Microsoft for much of my career, but I’ve also provided feedback every chance I get.  I think there has been at least an equal share that Microsoft has received from me for my evangelism work… No, I’m sure they’ve gotten the better end of the deal, but I’m not complaining.  I am thinking going after people in the community who are doing evangelism need to be left alone.  Really?  You’re going after SharePoint Magazine?  Is SharePoint Saturday next?

I’m shutting down all of my SharePoint Joel pages and social accounts.  They don’t comply.  It’s all CollabShow.com from here on in.

There have been many examples of people being asked to cease and desist, it’s best to get educated.

Here’s some guidelines straight from the trademark website for Office System (Yep, it’s that old.)

“Microsoft requires that its trademarks be used properly and under license, in appropriate circumstances. However, no license is required to use Microsoft names and trademarks to accurately refer to Microsoft software and services.”

“Incorrect:

  • Upload this to a sharepoint.”
“Do Not Use Microsoft Names or Trademarks as Part of Your Name

Microsoft names and trademarks may not be used as part of the name of another company or its products or services or as part of its domain name, even if your company creates add-ons or solutions for Microsoft software. This could create confusion about whether your company, products, or services are affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by Microsoft. Also, do not create and use variations of any Microsoft name or trademark; this could cause confusion and diminish the ability of Microsoft names and trademarks to identify and distinguish Microsoft software and services.

Using Microsoft Names and Trademarks to Indicate Compatibility

To indicate that your software or services are designed to be used with Microsoft software, use phrases such as “for,” “created with,” or “works with” before the Microsoft name, or use “based” after the name (for example “Outlook-based”). Your company or product name must be larger and more prominent than the Microsoft name or trademark, and the Microsoft name or trademark should be visually distinguished from your name (for example, in a different font or font style). This is important to avoid any implication that your products or services are produced, endorsed, or supported by Microsoft.

Correct:

  • Widget Software hosting Webs created with Microsoft Office FrontPage
  • Company XYZ CRM Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook
  • Company XYZ Backgrounds created for the Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentation software program
  • Widget Clipart for use with Microsoft Publisher software
  • Company XYZ templates created for Microsoft Visio diagramming software

Incorrect:

  • Wally Webster’s FrontPage Web services
  • ExcelQuick tutorial for Microsoft Excel
  • Pete’s PowerPoint Templates
  • Acme ISP Outlook e-mail
  • Visio Templates from Widget Web Services”

Wondering if you’ve been using the logo wrong for your usergroup or promotional materials for your blog?  You might be!

“Logos and Graphical Representations

Do not create any graphic or design out of any Microsoft name or trademark, and do not include Microsoft names or trademarks in any logos created by you or your company.

Web Identities

Do not include any Microsoft names or trademarks in a domain name or use them to brand your Web site.”

There are very few exceptions such as use with the certification logos and MVP logos, but be very careful around any usage of the SharePoint logo unfortunately.  Wish I could have used it for some magnets I was making for the community… Not without permission!