Creating Your Own Survey/Form Documentation

Why You Create Your Own Survey/Form Documentation

Purpose: Create forms/surveys of desired length whose results can be viewed online, or exported in various formats by the author.

Form Features

  • Restrict access by email - users can only fill in the form once and only if they are an authorized user. This can be faculty, staff and/or students, or you can add your own group of users.
  • Faculty, staff, students, and administrator defined email accounts can be authorized to use the forms/surveys
  • A general password can be set on the form to allow access; this can allow one user to take the survey multiple times
  • Start/end times can be set to restrict access to certain times of day
  • Results can be automatically sent by email to multiple recipients or viewed online, and can be displayed as graphs or exported into an Excel spreadsheet
  • Forms/surveys can be cleared, deleting all results. This allows for form/survey testing or reusability.
  • Establish links to documentation pertaining to the survey
  • Setup restrictions so that only one submission can be made per individual

To get started using Soundings, you will first need to create an account. Follow this link and fill out the form to create your account. You will also need to login with your computer account. or go to and click on Request a Soundings Account.

Using Soundings

Once you have created your account, you’re ready to start creating surveys and forms. To begin, let’s look at the basic layout of the page. (Fig. 1.1).

  1. Survey Options

Here is where you will oversee your current forms/surveys and to create new ones.

  1. Stats

This is where you will view and export your form/survey results.

  1. Links

These are helpful links that will let you view active forms (AU Forms Home) and return to the start page (Admin Home).

fig1.1 Navigation bar

  • Start by going to the navigation bar and clicking on Surveys, this is where any surveys you have previously made will show up. To create a new survey, click [add survey] link on the bottom right hand side of page.
  • You are then prompted with a page where you will fill out the information and settings for the survey. The options you are given are as followed.
    • Name – title that identifies the survey
    • Introduction – displays an introduction at the start of the survey
    • Description – sub heading that further identifies the survey
    • Message Displayed at end – after all questions have been asked this will be displayed to users. (ie. Thank you for taking this survey).
    • Active – denotes whether or not the survey is currently active. If it is not active, users cannot fill out the survey. *Note that there must be at least one question on the survey to make it active.
    • Allow Embedding – This will allow for the survey to be placed directly into a webpage. *Note code will be generated after the survey is created that you can copy and paste into your webpage.
    • Show in Public List – Lists the survey on the public active list (
    • Date Survey Begins/Ends – the survey can be set to only be active for a set date and time. The user will be notified if they are too late or too early to take the survey. The format required for the date and time is “DD-Month-YY hr:min AM/PM” example “02-May-12 12:00 AM”.
    • Mail Results To – results can be emailed to multiple recipients using semi-colons to separate emails. Example “;”.
    • Survey Password – the survey can be restricted to only allowing users who know the survey password to take the survey. *Note if this is the only way of restricting access, users are able to submit the form multiple times.
    • Questions per Page – this allows you to set the number of questions you would like to have shown per page of your survey
    • Authenticate – this makes it so only Alfred University staff, faculty, or students can take the survey by requiring them to log in with their University computer account
    • Email Restriction List – a survey can be restricted to a set of email addresses. In order to do this, you must create a text file of addresses (one per line) and upload it using the browse field.
    • Import Active Directory - imports valid Alfred University users for the restriction list
    • Manually Add Email – manually enter email addresses for the restriction list. Separate by using commas.
    • Save – saves any changes made to the properties
    • Duplicate – makes a copy of the entire survey
    • Cancel (Only while editing a survey) – will delete any changes you made to the properties
    • Clear Results (Only while editing a survey) – his will clear all submissions made to that survey. This is helpful for testing and reusing surveys.
  • Login to the admin portal for Soundings, and click on the survey that you want to edit
  • In either the Introduction/Description sections, highlight the text that you want to link the additional information to as shown below and click the link button in the tool bar above:

Where to find the link button

  • A dialogue box will then appear. There will be two options; File or URL. If you want to upload a file on your desktop, select the file option and browse to the file’s location on the desktop. Otherwise, keep URL selected and enter the full URL path to the document. Click insert after you have made the appropriate selection:
choose file pop up window
  • Additional options will now be available. It will show you the full path to the new link. As well you can choose to either open the link in the same window or a new one (a new window is recommended). You can also assign a class to position the link (Not Set is recommended). Then click Insert one final time.
  • The text you highlighted should now be blue and underlined. When the survey is opened the user can click on the link for the additional information.
  • Restrictions can be established if you want to limit survey responses to one per individual. In order to setup a restriction for the survey, login to the admin portal for Soundings. Then, open the survey that requires the restriction.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the survey to the section ‘Email Restriction List’. Make sure the checkbox for Authenticate is checked.
  • There are three methods to creating a restriction for a survey:
    • There are three lists available by default for setting up restrictions provided by the ‘Import Active Directory List’. This method allows for setting up a restriction for students, faculty, staff, or a combination of these groups. This is a convenient method if your survey is targeted to only one of these groups without having to manually specify all email addresses.
    • Additionally, you can create your own list of email addresses to restrict by creating a text file containing the email addresses. To do this, open up a text editor (notepad will do), and create a text file listing the emails using the format example below:
    •  The last option is to manually add an email address. This will allow you to add one or two email addresses at a time. Be sure to separate email addresses using commas.

Adding Questions

  • Simply click on “Questions” on the left hand side
  • Select the survey you are working with
  • Click on “Add Question”, this gives you a list of possible question types, they are defined below:
  • Matrix - creates a ranking table, for example you can ask the user to rank from 1-5 and then have several items that are ranked 1-5 or you can have “best, good, ok, bad” etc.
  • Multiple Choice (multiple selection) - check box style multiple choice meaning the user can select more than one answer
  • Multiple Choice (multiple selection) with other - same as previous but automatically adds the last option as “other” with a text box to fill in your own answer
  • Multiple Choice (single selection) – radio box style multiple choice meaning the user can select only one answer
  • Multiple Choice (single selection) with other - same as previous but automatically adds the last option as “other” with a text box to fill in your own answer
  • Text box (Multi) - large text box for users to fill out, good for comments
  • Text box (Single) - single line text box for user to fill out, can have up to 255 characters entered
  • True/False - you make the question, the program automatically creates the answers True and False
  • Yes/No - you make the question, the program automatically creates the answers Yes and No
  • Checkbox - you make the question, the answers will then be one or more checkbox fields

Questions Properties

  • Required - makes that question required, the user must answer before moving on to the next question
  • Rank - the order that the questions will be asked
  • New Rank - the order that answers are listed
  • Matrix
    • First box is the question - (ie. please rank the your Favorite Sports Team)
    • Next set of boxes is the ranking- (ie. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or good, ok, bad)
    • Last set of boxes items to be ranked - (ie. Sports Teams)
  • Note - When filling out answers, only two boxes appear if you click save, and then click on that question two more will be available.

Making the Survey Available

  • You can now make the survey active by going to the survey properties page and select “yes” by “Active”
  • In order to access the survey, click on Soundings Home and your survey will be listed. You can test it from here, when it is ready to be used simply right click on the link and select “copy link location”. Paste this into your website, or if you are not the administrator of the website, contact them and have them add the link.


  • Results are available by clicking on “Reporting” - they will show in a graphical form less text inputs that will have a link to their answers
  • The drop down menu will show the options for exporting: HTML, Excel or PDF
  • Earliest Date/Latest Date will filter the results that were submitted between those dates
  • Note - Survey Taker ID will be random unless the survey is email restricted
  • Matrix - The results of the matrix are put in graphical form with each rank description having its own section that bars are drawn for the number of items ranked under that description. It is done by count, not by percentage. On the excel report it is shown (item to be ranked : the ranking submitted).