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If you’re a complete beginner to form building, you’ll be glad to know Formstack has the most extensive set of in-builder help features I’ve come across. In other areas, however, there’s little to make Formstack stand out. It doesn’t have a free plan, and a lot of the advanced features require a higher-tier plan. It’s a capable and easy-to-use form builder – but there are better alternatives.
Capable Form Builder for Your Business, but There Are Limitations
Formstack has an intuitive, easy-to-use form builder. There are plenty of templates to choose from, and it supports advanced features like save and resume, conditional logic, and even HIPAA compliance – but unless you really need those features, there are other form builders (such as Cognito Forms) that are cheaper and easier to use.
Formstack supports 36 languages including Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, and Russian, but the form-building interface itself is only available in English.
One major downside with Formstack, however, is that there’s no free plan. However, you can take advantage of the 14-day free trial (no credit card required).
Formstack is used by big names such as the NBA and Business Insider. Could it be the form builder for you? Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of Formstack – and my recommended alternatives.
Formstack offers over 300 templates in categories including Education, Healthcare, Lead Generation, and Sales. The templates are easy to customize in the form builder – you can rearrange, add, or remove form fields and change the styling of the form by applying a theme. All templates are mobile responsive, too.
When you start to create a new form in the builder, however, you only see 42 templates. That’s because (according to Formstack’s support team) the template chooser only shows the most popular templates.
To use the other templates available, you have to go to the templates page on the Formstack website. There, you can preview templates, search, view categories, and select a template to open in the builder.
While this isn’t a complete deal-breaker, it would be much easier if all templates were available in the in-editor template picker.
Formstack advertises a lot of great features that you may want for your business – such as custom branding, advanced reports, HIPAA compliance, and approvals (so you can quickly approve or deny requests made via forms, e.g., vacation requests). However, many of these features are only available on the higher-tier plans.
The number of forms you can create is also limited, which makes other form builders – such as JotForm and Wufoo– much more affordable and useful.
Formstack does have a number of options for sharing your forms, and it allows you to select your own subdomain (yoursubdomain.formstack.com). You can use an auto-generated QR code, embed forms on your website, or use a WordPress plugin, in addition to sharing links via email or social media.
If you want your forms to match your business branding, then you will appreciate Formstack’s theme builder. It gives you complete control over how your form looks – including colors, backgrounds, headers, animations, buttons, and fonts. You can even save your theme for use on other forms. The Bronze plan, however, doesn’t allow you to replace the Formstack logo and branding with your own branding.
Advanced Data and Analytics
As well as allowing you to create detailed reports, Formstack offers tools for analyzing your data and identifying the causes of low conversion rates for your forms. Analytics tools include:
Visual data (charts and graphs)
Integration with Google Analytics
UTM tracking (so you can measure the success of marketing campaigns)
Field bottlenecks (so you can identify the point at which people abandon your forms and make improvements to fix it)
Formstack’s integrations give you access to a range of third-party tools to automate what happens when a form is submitted. For example, you could use the Google Sheets integration to create a new row in a spreadsheet when a customer submits an inquiry form. You can also integrate Formstack with PayPal to process payments using your forms.
Some integrations (such as Salesforce) are only available on the Platinum plan and above, so before you subscribe, check that the integrations you need are included in your plan.
Formstack is a relatively easy-to-use form builder, and it has a lot of help features within the builder itself. It uses a drag-and-drop editor for creating your forms, and it has a “reorder content” button that makes rearranging fields a simple process. Other than the less-popular templates being difficult to find, it’s definitely one of the easier form builders I’ve reviewed!
The first time you use Formstack, you’ll be offered a brief tour of how the builder works. The tour points out the essential features, so you can quickly get started with building your first form. If you’re more experienced, you can, of course, skip the tour and get started right away.
One of Formstack’s unique features in the world of form builders is its Walkthroughs. Accessed via the editor (you click the button that looks like a book), walkthroughs take you step-by-step through different features of the form builder. While it may seem similar to the builder tour, each walkthrough focuses on teaching you, in detail, how to use features like conditional logic – and even explains why the features are important.
In addition to the walkthroughs and help articles, Formstack also includes a large library of tutorial videos. These are particularly useful for exploring more advanced features of Formstack, such as approvals and user permissions.
Pro tip: Use a split screen to watch the tutorial videos in one window while following along in another window.
You can drag form fields into position, undo the previous action – and even see the “build history” of your form if you want to go back to a previous point in the building process. This is a great feature when you’re still figuring out how Formstack works, because you know you can easily go back if something goes wrong. The process of building a form with Formstack is fairly intuitive. If you’re using one of the 42 templates in the template picker, you just click on the template you want, select a theme (you can change this later), and your form will appear in the editor.
Field settings pop up in a left-hand sidebar when you click on a form field. The settings will depend on the field type but are generally controlled via checkboxes, dropdown options, and buttons. The intuitive nature of the form builder means it’s user-friendly – and all the walkthroughs, videos, and help articles make it beginner-friendly, too.
As well as a Submit Request form and a helpful knowledge base, Formstack has a community forum where you can, in theory, get help from other Formstack users. When I tried the community forum, however, I discovered that, although people were posting questions in the forum, on many threads, no one was replying – which is a little disappointing.
Direct support from Formstack is available via email during “normal business hours” (which is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST Monday through Friday). Formstack’s contact page does, however, advise you that responses can take up to two business days.
I reached out to Formstack via the Submit Request form and received a response within a few hours – much better than the 24-hour estimate I was given when I first submitted my request. The response was helpful, too.
Formstack doesn’t offer a free plan – but you do have the 14-day free trial to test it out. If you decide that it’s a good fit for your needs, there are four pricing levels (plus an enterprise option that’s customized to your needs). The lower-tier plans – Bronze and Silver – are affordable if you’re on a budget, but they do come with limits.
For example, the Bronze plan doesn’t allow custom branding, limits you to a maximum of five forms, and you’re able to store a maximum of 700 responses per form. You’d need to upgrade to the Gold plan to use the HubSpot integration – and only Platinum users can take advantage of the Salesforce integration. All plans limit the number of forms you can create – the maximum is 1,000 on the Platinum plan.
You can pay monthly or annually (paying annually results in savings equivalent to two months free), and all major credit cards are accepted.
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March 10, 2020
Controller and Administrator
Formstack is excellent for some of our questionnaires, but it is not stable. Formstack has repeatedly lost our data and the Formstack support has been unable to help us find the lost forms and/or recover the data. That makes Formstack pretty useless even though it's a great design.
Worst web app experience ever. Bait and switch, then zero support to provide guidance as to what service level is needed and what options needed to prevent online form from continually being deactivated. Email support online. No phone support.
Formstack is a very capable form builder. If you’ve never used a form builder before, you’ll appreciate all the help it offers. It has advanced features, including conditional logic and detailed analytics, and offers a large library of templates. However, the lack of a free plan and the fact that its lower-priced plans are quite restrictive are a disappointment.
The only things that really make Formstack stand out in the world of form builders are its walkthroughs and video tutorials, as well as its undo and history features. There are better – and cheaper – form builders available, such as Cognito Forms and JotForm.
Ari is passionate about web hosting and design and has been building websites with WordPress for over ten years. When he’s not testing web hosts, you’re likely to find him trying (in vain) to train his three beagles (who are better at training him than he is them!)