Getting Started Guidelines to Microsoft Forms Limits and Boundaries



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].”



Top 5 New SharePoint 2016 Features announced at Ignite

The Ignite conference gave us a taste of what is coming in the SharePoint 2016 features list… at least from an IT Pro perspective with some that hit end users.  Not everyone was able to make it of course, so I wanted to share my list of top features most of which was shared during Bill Baer’s 9am session on Wed the morning after the AvePoint RED Party/Metalogix Best of Breed Awards and so I’m sure there were some who may have slept in.  Lots of great stuff to get excited about… and hey this is just the start…  Bill informed us that they haven’t really started yet on the UI.  Public Beta in Q4, with public release (GA) sometime in Q2 of 2016.

1. Durable Links – Documents can be set to use Resource ID for the URLs.  Redirect manager handles the inbound requests from guest links, external sharing,  and SharePoint UI such as webparts, and handles them back to the user.

Embedded image permalink

2. Compliance – DLP is the key term.  Monitoring, and protection of data through deep analysis of content.  Improved Auditing and protection across on premises and cloud.

3. Increased Boundaries – List views increased, single file sizes up to 10GB, TB databases, and list thresholds… I think this one is going to matter for those environments where SharePoint is getting bigger and bigger and bigger.


SharePoint 2016 boundaries

4. Minimal patches with Zero Downtime – This was mentioned at Bill’s first session with Seth on Monday following the keynote.  He talked about the hundreds of files that were changing per edition and per language pack and how massively unnecessary these patches were.  The feature should increase reliability of the service, reduce the number of patches and impact with a goal of zero downtime.  Better reliability and stability is the goal, but I still need to hear more to understand how this is possible.  New insights with additional hooks on usage are planned, so you can potentially build additional health reports and get the metrics you need to build true 99.99 availability farms.


5. Hybrid Deployment Automation – While some may see this more as a Hybrid feature or a feature of the cloud, there are a lot of people who will be in the middle of a LONG migration plan to get to the cloud and hybrid ends up being a reality.  This feature essentially simplifies what is today 15 pages of powershell commands and configuration steps and simplifies it into a wizard.

I’ve heard the complaints about how hard it is to setup… with SharePoint 2016, we’ll be able to count the clicks on one hand?

Now for some not so great news:

* Upgrade from 2010 will require users to migrate first to 2013 then to 2016 unless you use third party tools.

* SharePoint Server 2016 will require Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 10.


While I was hoping for more cool demos, there really wasn’t much to see.  FPWeb hosted a very simple 2016 demo that wasn’t really worth spending much time with given the lack of UI improvements.  The mobile improvements are of mention, but I’m still hoping they do more there.


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SharePoint 2010 File Name, Length, Size and Invalid Character Restrictions and Recommendations

While some things haven’t changed much, I felt it was important to revisit these classic file and folder restrictions. Today I was looking at my blog post from 2008 on file names, lengths, size and so on and noticed it was the most popular post on my old blog. I haven’t revisited that topic in a long time. I’ve updated it here, and added some additional recommendations.

Site, Folder and File name restrictions

KB Article 905231 I’ve added some additional symbols and recommendations.

  • Site Names
    • Not Allowed: | # { } % & <TAB>" ~ + / : * ? " < >
    • Avoid starting sites with an underscore (_) or with the period character.
    • Site names can cause confusion and corruption if they have periods, apostrophes or commas
    • They should not have consecutive periods or end with a period.
      • You cannot use the period character at the end of a site name
    • Many other symbols are not recommended such as $^()-_=+[]`! (other international currency symbols and international symbols should be avoided in site names, but some are more acceptable in file names. Ascii is preferred when possible.
  • Folder Names and File Names
    • Do not use: " # % & * : < > ? / { | } ~
    • File names cannot be longer than 128 characters
    • Do not use the period character consecutively in the middle of a file name.  For example, "" is invalid.
    • You cannot use the period character at the end of a file name
    • You cannot start a file name with the period character
    • Many other symbols are not recommended such as $^()-_=+[]`! (other international currency symbols and international symbols should be avoided in site names, but some are more acceptable in file names. Ascii is preferred when possible.
  • In addition, file names and folder names may not end with: (Many of these are international symbols)
    • .files, _files , -Dateien , _fichiers , _bestanden , _file ,_archivos ,-filer,_tiedostot ,_pliki ,_soubory ,_elemei ,

                   _arquivos ,_dosyalar ,_datoteke ,_fitxers,_failid 

                  ,_fails ,_bylos ,_fajlovi,_fitxategiak

Examples of Legal File Names

  • AllItems.docx
  • Dept_1234.doc
  • Long.Name.With.Dots.txt

Examples of Illegal Site Names

  • Intranet/sites/People & Process
  • Intranet/sites/My Math is 10% Here
  • Intranet/sites/_foobar
  • Intranet/sites/#FAIL
  • Intranet/sites/Jimmy+Bean


Examples of illegal file names:

  • HailCæsar.wav.
  • Wow…BadStuff.txt
  • 揵.htm
  • Roger&Hamerstein.mp3
  • WhatsUp?.doc

Note that word may let you save this, but uploading it to SharePoint will be your challenge. Sometimes you’re even allowed to upload it through the explorer view, and it will block you from the web interface.


File and Folder name lengths

  • Link list items are restricted to 256 characters and will truncate links to SharePoint documents (or anything else) with lengths longer than this.
  • When storing files the structure and files (entire path including sites, folders, and file name) cannot add up to more than 260 characters or they will see an error message or form validation error with the explanation around the URL length. 


When using multi file upload interface: Make sure the total size of all your files is not greater than the upload limit set for your web application. 


File Size Maximums

Max File Size Default: 50MB Maximum setting: 2GB (per file)

List data: Max of 8kb of data

100 MB is what I recommend for most typical environments as a great compromise, but don’t recommend more than 500MB for most environments without External or Remote Blob storage.

(If you set it to 0 or 2047 MB, it will be the same as 2GB file.) Realistically a few hundred MB is really all you can get, unless you have fast LAN access. Even with LAN access there are cases where upload can fail… Out of memory errors in SQL, Out of memory on web front end, and various places where timeouts may occur. Server admins see the appendix.

NOTE: I understand that even if you use RBS or Remote Blob Storage and most third parties, you still can’t support files over 2GB, but you’ll have to check with your vendor.



I have heard of people who have had the issue of URLScan applied to the web server. It has a default limit of 30mb set in its .ini file. Once that file size is hit it was just dropping the transfer



As well there are other things that you can find that will block your files:

Each Web Application contains a list of blocked file types that is based on file name extensions. For example, you can block files that have the .exe extension. By default, many file types are blocked, including file types that are treated as executable by Internet Explorer. Files, whose names include braces, (for example, filename.{doc}) are also blocked by default.


Blocked File Type Reference (The Outlook 2010 blocked file resource file list is a great reference, and for understanding the files is actually even better than the default SharePoint Blocked File List)

Here are a few file types I typically remove from the blocked file list below: URL, LNK, CHM, HLP

I often add .MP3, PST, OST, and sometimes MP4. Some will add .ZIP, but I recommend allowing the .zip, arj, rar, etc… file as a common mechanism for transporting larger files.


File extension

File type


Microsoft Access project extension


Microsoft Access project


Application file


Active server page


Microsoft Visual Basic class module


Batch file


Internet Security Certificate file


Compiled HTML Help file


DOS command file, Microsoft Windows NT command script


Windows Help contents file


Microsoft MS_DOS program


Control Panel extension


Security certificate


Script file


DER Encoded X509 certificate file


Executable file


Microsoft Visual FoxPro compiled program


Windows Gadget


Windows program group file


Help file


Help project file


HTML program


Information or setup file


Internet Naming Service


Internet Communication settings


Internet Document Set file


JAVA archive file


JavaScript source code


JScript Encoded script file


UNIX Shell script file


Windows shortcut


Microsoft Access module shortcut


Microsoft Access shortcut


Microsoft Access diagram shortcut


Microsoft Access macro shortcut


Microsoft Access query shortcut


Microsoft Access report shortcut


Microsoft Access stored procedures


Microsoft Access table shortcut


Media attachment unit


Microsoft Access view shortcut


Microsoft Access data access page


Manifest configuration file


Microsoft Access add-in program


Microsoft Access program


Microsoft Access MDE database file


Microsoft Access data file


Microsoft Access workgroup


Microsoft Access wizard program


Microsoft Common Console document


Windows PowerShell script helper


Windows PowerShell script helper


Windows PowerShell script helper


Windows PowerShell script helper


Windows PowerShell script helper


Windows PowerShell script helper


Windows Installer package


Windows Installer update package file


Visual Test source file


Microsoft Office profile settings file


Open software description file


Microsoft Visual Test compiled script


Windows program information file


Perl script file


Developer Studio build log


Outlook profile file


Program source file


Windows PowerShell


Windows PowerShell


Windows PowerShell


Windows PowerShell


Windows PowerShell


Windows PowerShell


Microsoft Outlook personal folder file


Registration entries, Registry data file


Windows Explorer command file


Windows screen saver


Windows script component


Windows shortcut to a document


Shell Scrap object file


Temporary file or folder


Uniform Resource Locator (Internet shortcut)


Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) file


VBScript Encoded script file


Visual Basic project file


VBScript script file, Visual Basic for Applications script file


Microsoft Visual Studio .NET binary-based macro project file


Microsoft Visio workspace file


Windows script file


Windows script component


Windows script file


Windows Script Host settings file


XAML browser application


Microsoft Exchange public folder shortcut


To set the upload size to 200 megabytes, use the following syntax:

stsadm -o setproperty -pn max-file-post-size -pv 200

To view the current setting of the maximum file post size property, use the following syntax:

stsadm -o getproperty -pn max-file-post-size –url http://server_name


For Admins you’ll need to make sure you increase your timeouts and settings:

IIS Connection Timeouts

  • Tune the Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) connection timeout setting.

The default timeout for connections in IIS is 120 seconds (2 minutes). Depending on your maximum file size and how long it takes for the file to be uploaded, you may not need to change this setting. If, however, IIS is timing out when you upload large files, you can change this property to ensure that larger files can be uploaded successfully.

    1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
    2. Right-click the virtual server you want to configure, and then click Properties.
    3. Click the Web Site tab.
    4. In the Connections section, in the Connection timeout box, type the number of seconds you want IIS to wait before timing out.
    5. Click OK.


For Admins you can modify:

  • Central Admin – Security – Define blocked file typesWeb Application menu, click Change Web Application. Add blocked file extensions you want to block or remove those you want to remove.

 There are some settings for increasing your maximum timeout values including


ExecutionTimeout value to web config in the layouts folder and the virtualDirectoryFolder:


layouts dir

Existing code

 <location path="upload.aspx">


      <httpRuntime maxRequestLength="2097151" />




Replacement code

 <location path="upload.aspx">


      <httpRuntime executionTimeout="999999" maxRequestLength="2097151" />




virtualDirectoryFolder dir

Existing line

<httpRuntime maxRequestLength="51200" />

Replacement line

<httpRuntime executionTimeout="999999" maxRequestLength="51200" />



Default chunk size for large files:

Sharepoint default chunk size is set to 5MB, this means that if a client tries to open a document of 50MB and the chunk size is 5MB, the document is divided and retrieved in 10 chunks. Each chunk will be loaded into the memory of both the WFE handling the request and the SQL Server. Note I looked for a powershell setting and couldn’t find a reference in the 10 minutes I looked for you J By the way… don’t use smiley’s in your file names either J


stsadm -o setproperty -pn large-file-chunk-size -pv 1073741824

(Note: Requires IISReset)