When you buy a toolkit at Home Depot, what’s in the box is what’s in the box.  If a particular tool or wrench isn’t in the box, you have to purchase it separately.

Some software tools are similar…what’s in the software is what’s in the software.  If you need it to do something that it doesn’t do, or if it doesn’t contain a particular form type, you can’t use it for that.  Or can you?

Continuing the toolkit analogy above, XForms includes a form template designer tool that’s like a Leatherman® multi-tool wrench

With the XForms Designer, you can create your own unique forms, by yourself, on your own time. It’s one of the reasons XForms is so versatile, like a Leatherman® multi-tool.  So if you need a particular form type that doesn’t exist anywhere, you can build it pretty easily, without having to outsource and pay big money to get it built.  And if you don’t like a particular form design that comes standard with some software, you can build your own unique, quirky versions, just for you and your team.

And if you need a little help, you can ask us to help build it for you.  But you can do it yourself too, which is nice because you don’t need to call someone to adjust or tweak a form for you.  Sorta like self-checkout.  You don’t need to wait in line…you just use the machine to do it yourself 🙂

Speaking of which….oftentimes, the forms that come standard with vertical-specific software packages are overkill for your particular purpose.

So build your own form, without all that extra crap you will never ever use.

Read on to learn how to build form templates in XForms

 How to build a form template from scratch using the XForms Designer

Login to the XForms Designer

This is located at designer.xformsweb.com. Once you are in, your screen should look something like the one below.

Start a new template by clicking on the blue “+ New Template” button on the top left of the screen.  Alternatively, an even better approach is to clone an existing form (by clicking on the green “Clone: button on the top center of the screen).  But we will talk about that later.


Give your new form a short name that field users will understand what the template is for.

Add a section to your form by clicking on the dark blue “+ Add Section” button.
Give the section header a label.  you can use HTML to change the font style.  You can also make the section collapsible and by default, have it display collapsed or open on first load.
Add a field to the section.  Repeat as needed.  You can drag and drop fields above or below other fields.  Just click-hold on a field, drag up or down, and release.
Note that each control has its own unique attributes.
If your form needs a table grid on it, drop the table field into a section and start adding columns and rows to it.  A brief explanation of how to build tables in XForms can be found on this post.
Here’s a list of the fields that are available in XForms.  Note that each has some unique attributes that are available when you select one.  Things like minimum and maximum values, formats available, etc.
Checkbox Note
Calculated Paragraph
Date Signature
Image Table (this field is more complex that the others)
Lookup Text
Multichoice (single and multi-select) Time
Number User
When you are done building your input form template, make sure do the following:
  • Save the form by clicking on the “Save” button
  • Publish the form by clicking on the “Publish” button.  Note that if you want to check the form out before publishing it, once you save it, it will appear in the mobile app in “draft” mode but only visible to users with admin rights.  This allows you (the admin) to test the form in a live setting before deploying it to your field teams.
  • Activate the form by clicking on the “Activate” button (the same button as the Publish button)

Note that the form templates in XForms have version control built-in.  This is so that the template and form data on submitted forms can match up correctly.  Each time you edit the form’s schema, you need to create a new version of the form template.

While there’s more to it than what’s explained above, this will give you a good start, and once you begin building these forms, it gets easier, especially since you can clone existing forms.

And if you would prefer to have us build your forms for you, we can do that too.  The nice thing about that is that we can build you a single form, teach you how we built it, and then you can go from there, cloning that form and building others on your own.

Want to chat about your particulars?

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