8 Tips for Customizing our Free Form Templates

Take and tweak our templates

We have a large and growing library of form templates you can use for free. They make it easy to jumpstart building your own online registration forms, surveys, order forms and more.

Some templates already have calculations in them. Others have conditional logic set up for you. (Seriously – check out the order form templates that use quantity limits. There’s some really cool stuff in there.)

We hope you’ll explore these templates, and use them as jumping off points when building your own forms.

And when you do, here’s a simple checklist for turning our templates into your new online forms.

1. Add and remove fields

While we designed each template with the fields most often used for that type of form, you may want to collect some different information. So, check the template to see if it has all the fields you want to include. If it doesn’t, just add more using the builder. Then, be sure to remove any fields you don’t need.

Completion rates tend to be higher for simpler forms, so avoid including any unnecessary fields.

2. Check any calculations

If your form template uses calculations, (and especially if you’ve modified any fields) make sure those Calculations still reference the correct fields and values.

If you need to make changes, simply use the visual editor or your own expressions to set your calculations to run exactly how you need them to.

3. Style your template to match your brand

While our templates look very good on their own, you’ll want your finished form to reflect the unique look and feel of your brand.

To change your form’s appearance, simply go to the Publish tab in the builder. Then use the Style Editor on the left-hand side to adjust the various elements, including:

  • Header
  • Typeface
  • Colors
  • Boxes
  • Logo
Chameleon mode

When you choose Chameleon from the Field Style dropdown, your form will use any CSS form styles you have already specified for your website.

4. Consider your call to action

At the bottom of every form is a submission button, usually marked Submit. It is, however, worth pausing for a minute to consider if that’s the best word you could use.

Maybe your brand calls for using a phrase with a bit more pizzaz. Or maybe you just want to be more specific. In either case, you could change that button to say something like:

  • Buy Now
  • Sign Up
  • Join Now
  • Get My Free Ebook

5. Adjust text throughout the form

Look through all the content, error messages and other text included with the template to see if there’s anywhere you’d like to say something a little different. Text changes are easy to make.

You’ll also want to check for, and remove, any instructional copy inserted into your form. Some templates include placeholder text or a explanatory lines. If you see this, you’ll definitely want to remove it so you don’t accidentally confuse your users.

Finally, replace any Legal copy with your specific legal text. The text provided in these templates is just a guideline, and your legal counsel will want you to use language that specifically addresses your individual needs. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of disclaimers or other legal copy, check with your legal counsel.

6. Set notifications

Notifications are an easy way to automate work with your online forms. Take a few minutes to ensure that notifications, confirmations and other messages are set up to work how you want them to.

  • Make sure your preferred email address appears in the From field of outgoing emails.
  • Ensure the email text is appropriate for your purpose and organization.
  • Personalize messages by piping the Name field or other form content into your email text.
Notify multiple staff members - or even specific staff members, based on data entered into the form - with our custom email notifications.

7. Customize the confirmation

Whenever someone completes your form, they receive a simple on-screen Thank You message expressing your gratitude. But it can do a lot more, so don’t just leave this message as the default. Personalize it with something specific to your form and organization.

And include a link back to your website to ensure users continue exploring your site.

8. Know that you may see pop-up messages about premium features

While all of our templates are free, some use features that aren’t available on all plan levels.

If a template you’re using includes a feature that isn’t available on your current plan level, the system will automatically alert you.

If you don’t want to use that feature, simply delete it from your form and keep going. But if you like the feature and want to use it on your form, you can easily upgrade. (Plus, if you like that one advanced feature, you’ll probably like others. So it’s worth considering the upgrade.)

We hope this helps you get the most performance from our free form templates. If you’d like to learn more about building forms, check out our user guide library.


Ace

Ace is the Marketing Communications Manager for Cognito Forms. When not at the office, you can find him volunteering with the American Advertising Federation (and soon on stage with his band: the Cottontown Soul Society).