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Excel Surveys

This post is brought to you by Harrison Gordon, a PM on the Excel Services team.

I love making music. It’s one of my passions, and it’s a passion I know many of my friends share as well. The problem is that it can be challenging to schedule time and get us all together, and what’s worse is I don’t know what instruments everyone plays.

In the past, we’d have long email threads, complicated scheduling tactics, and a lot of headaches. Using Excel surveys, I can easily collect everyone’s info and figure out exactly how to plan out our next jam session.

Creating a survey in SkyDrive

I log into my SkyDrive and click “Create -> Excel survey”:

Create Excel Survey
SkyDrive asks me to name my survey, and drops me into the survey designer in Web Excel:

The survey designer in Web Excel

The survey designer is a breeze to work with. I can add questions, change the type (text, multiple choice, date, etc), and move them around. I can also show a default answer or make it so a question is required before sending a response to the survey.

The survey designer is a breeze to work with

Once it’s ready, I just click “Share Survey”. I will get a link that I can then email to my friends:

Get a link that you can use to email friends
When they click on the link, they don’t have to sign in – they just go straight to my survey:

Filling out the survey
Getting Results

Now comes the best part – when you create a survey in Web Excel, we automatically generate a table to store all of your results. Here’s what it looks like:

A table to store all of your results
As my friends fill out the survey, I can watch the results show up in real time in Web Excel:

Results start appearing in Excel
Once everyone has responded, I can quickly make sense of the data. From the table above, I can already tell that 12/1 is going to be the best day to get everyone together. For further analysis, I can use the full power of Excel to learn more about the responses. A handy feature is “Recommended Charts” (find it under the Insert tab). It will recommend useful visualizations of your data.

 I’m a bit of a data nerd, so I went ahead and made a few more charts to get a better understanding of the data:

Understanding the data
Now I can see that we have a few guitar players amongst my friends! Perfect, one can play lead and the other can play rhythm. I can also see that 12/1 works for most people, so I can go ahead and send an invite to everyone for 12/1.

How else can I use Surveys?

The possibilities are endless, but here’s a small list of things you can do with Excel surveys:

  1. Plan out when your friends are free for a vacation (or if they’re free to just grab food downtown).
  2. Quickly poll your coworkers about who they want to win the Super Bowl (and don’t invite the ones rooting for the other team to your party).
  3. Help arrange ride sharing so you can take advantage of carpool lanes (and save the environment, of course).

To recap:

  1. Create surveys directly in Web Excel, with results stored inside a table in the workbook.
  2. Share your survey with anyone – no Microsoft Account required.
  3. Your surveys will always look sleek, modern, and professional.
  4. See survey responses added to the workbook in real time.
  5. Use the full power of Excel on the desktop to analyze and chart your new data once it’s all there.

Let us know what you think!

We’ve only just scratched the surface with what our new survey feature can do, and we’d love to hear what you think!
And while you’re at it – care to fill out my survey? Let me know what you thought of this post and Excel surveys!

Harrison Gordon
Program Manager, Excel Services

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