Google Forms: Multiple Choice, List, Checkbox [en]

[fr] Attention: dans Google Forms, "multiple choice" n'est en fait pas un choix multiple. Il faut utiliser "checkbox" pour ça.

Like I did last year, I’m currently preparing the blogger accreditation request form for the LeWeb’09 conference in Paris (if you’re not a blogger and want to come, be sure to grab a very early bird ticket before the end of September — if you’re a student, get in touch with Géraldine). We’ll by the way shortly be letting you know which dates the form will be open for you to request an accreditation.

This is not the purpose of this post, however. I was a bit mystified by the difference between the “multiple choice”, “list”, and “checkbox” elements one can use to build a form using Google Forms, so I decided to build a quick test case to see how things worked. Brace yourself for a surprise (the test form is below, with explanations):



  • list is your normal “one choice only” drop-down list, no surprise here
  • checkbox is your real multiple choice list, with optional “other” choice which can be filled in manually
  • multiple choice is very poorly named, and is in fact a radio button “one choice only” list, but which allows an extra “other” choice which can be filled in manually

In all cases, multiple values are stored in a single spreadsheet cell as a comma-separated list. View the resulting spreadsheet.

I hope this will save somebody the trouble of working it all out themselves like I had to do!

8 thoughts on “Google Forms: Multiple Choice, List, Checkbox [en]

  1. I suspect the multiple choice type is named that way because of multiple choice tests, which are called that despite the fact you can and should pick only one answer per question.

  2. Yep, somebody else recommended it to me too. I’m familiar with google forms so sticking with them for this job, but will look at what wufoo has to offer for my other clients at some point!

  3. I’m building one such form right now, and my thinking is that the usefulness of such “multiple choice” radio buttons stems from forcing users to provide an answer, while the drop-down list has a pre-selected item (the first one), which might give too much credence to that first item if the user were to click Submit without bothering to change all values…

    It also makes all options visible on first pass, which might help some.

    Besides, the “Other:” choice is not displayed by default: it’s up to the form maker to have it displayed or not, which is a good thing to have.

    Hence, I think I’d much favor the “fake multiple choice” radio buttons over the list-type, were I to need one and only one answer.

    I could be wrong 🙂

  4. Do you know of a way to add an “Other” option to the drop-down list so that upon selection, a text field appears and is required?

  5. Hi
    Is it possible to display answers to a multiple choice or to checkboxes “side by side” instead of vertically ? There is an option to create maximum 5 columns, whereas all my form questions contain a large number of necessarily predefined answers, and users are forced to scroll pages and pages to answer. If the possible answers were displayed side by side, users could answer way more rapidly…
    Any help is really really welcome 🙂

  6. Hi
    I want the options with bullets (like multiple option format) but i wish the user to only select one of the given options. How do i do that?

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