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Publish and Manage Web Forms and Surveys

Any changes made to a published form will be visible immediately as soon as you click Save Field Properties on the Edit tab, or when you add a Basic or Advanced field from the Build tab.


When you are happy with your form, it's time to make it visible to the public. First, you must specify publication settings, including:

  • form location;
  • submission confirmation method;
  • data handling;
  • style (appearance); and
  • save preferences.

Click the Publish tab to get started. Instructions for each function on the Publish tab are given below. On-screen help is also provided in Form Builder.

Set up a location for your form

Before you can make your form live, you must define a location in AFS (Andrew File System; Stanford's shared file storage service). The location you define in AFS will be used in the URL of your form when it is published.

All full-service SUNet ID account holders automatically receive disk space in AFS. AFS disk space is also available to University academic departments and business units, and to approved student organizations. Note: if the form you plan to create is for department or student organization use, you should first make sure that the department or organization has a location in AFS that you can use.  If you create the form in your personal space, it will be deleted when you leave the University. 

To learn more about how to request and manage AFS disk space, see:

Displaying confirmation

After users submit your form successfully, it's good practice to show them a Thank You message or re-direct them to a web page, so that they know the form was sent. Choose one of the two methods below:

  1. To display a message on an automatically generated confirmation page, click Show Message and, in the box below, enter the confirmation text you want displayed. This is the default confirmation method.
  2. To redirect the browser to a separate thank you web page you created, click Redirect to Web Page and enter the web address of your confirmation web page. Be sure to create and publish the confirmation web page before publishing your form! Learn more about publishing a web page or site at Stanford.

You must specify one of these two methods before you can publish your form. 

Sending a confirmation to users

Optionally, you can also send a form submission confirmation by email. You must add an email address field to your form* to collect the user's email address. Under User Email Confirmation Method, select Send Using: Email from the list.

*To add an email address to your form, return to the Build tab and, under Advanced Fields, click Email Address. You can specify that the email address be auto populated. To learn how, see Doing More with Web Forms.

​Handling data

After users submit your form successfully, the data they entered must be saved.

  1. Choose the method you prefer from the Submission Method list: 
    • Send an email and write to database (recommended);
    • send an email only; or
    • Write to database only.
  2. If you choose email and want to include a copy of the data, click Attach a record of the submission to the email from the list. Specify Email Recipients and Email Subject in the boxes below the list. By default, the email you received will come from the Web Forms Service email address ( However, if you collect an email address on the form, you can specify that address as the Sender's address.

To learn how to export data from the database, see Doing More with Web Forms.


You can choose to display your form in the default Stanford look and feel, or you can select a plain style suitable for embedding forms into existing pages, using iframes. To learn how to add an iframe, see Doing More with Web Forms.

Allowing users to save and continue later

You can allow your users to save their progress as they fill out the form and finish their submissions at a later time. This is useful for long forms, or those that might require several visits to complete. Because incomplete form submissions are stored under a person's SUNetID, saving will only work if the form is protected by WebAuth. See Doing More with Web Forms to learn how.

To specify that users can save their input, click Allow users to save their form entries and continue them later. A second button will appear on the published form that allows them to save their progress.

Making the form live

To make your form live, you will enter the address for the directory you set up in AFS and then change the status to live. The form is not written to AFS, but the web server will use this information to know when to display your form to users.

The directory needs to exist, you must have write access to it, and the full URL needs to include a name for your form plus the file extension ".fb".

  1. In the Form URL field, enter web address for the form. Make sure that you have write access to the specified directory and that the form name ends in ".fb". Example:
  2. Select the desired status:
    • Select Not Live if you don't want to publish the form yet.
    • Select Live if you want the form to be available immediately.
  3. Click Save Publishing Settings.
    If the status is Not Live, the form and your publishing settings are saved but the form is not yet available.
    If the status is Live, the form is now available at the URL specified above. Note: any changes made to a live form will be publicly visible as soon as you click a field name on the Build tab or click  Save Field Properties on the Edit tab. And, deleted fields are removed immediately.

Unpublishing a form

To remove the form from view:

  1.  Go to the Publishing tab in Form Builder and change Status from Live to Not Live.
  2. Click Save Publishing Settings. The form is immediately unavailable to the public.
Last modified September 6, 2013