There are several form applications available either as standalone applications or extensions to website builders, spreadsheets, word-processors or publishing software.
Although there are many traditional form apps like Wufoo, typically casual users, tend to use Google Forms or Microsoft Forms for general purposes as they are an in-built feature of your respective accounts.
There are many other form apps available also for the discretion of users who wish to use forms more extensively in their marketing campaigns or for data collection and analysis.
123FormBuilder is one easy to use, drag-and-drop style form builder available with a limited access free plan and advanced subscription plans. As the name of the application implies, it makes form building as easy as counting with its wide range of templates and drag-and-drop style editor.
- Drag and drop style form editor: Drag the fields you want in your form to the editor workspace.
- A comprehensive range form templates and themes: The template gallery has over 1000 categorized form templates which can be browsed either by types or business or even search for using the search bar.
- In-depth customization options for all types of form fields: Once you select a particular field-say phone number of your form, the side panel of the editor will show the whole host of options to set label, text and fonts and a lot many more.
- Free basic plan: The form builder offers a limited free for life plan which allows five forms, ten fields per form, and 100 submissions per month.
- Native Mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
- Security Features: Option for multi-factor authentication for viewers and options like Smart Captcha, Country filter, IP limitation, etc.
- Own your forms: Option to drop application’s backlink and use a personal domain for form URLs with higher plans.
- Option to add Google map field to your form available on all plans.
- Form Calculations and Conditional Logic: This features are available with higher plans and are used to add formulae to your form fields and conditional logic to your form respectively.
- Options for uploading your custom form fields, fonts and logo are available with paid subscription plans.
- Extra storage space for your fonts, logos, and custom fields with higher plans.
- Full CSS and HTML Customization: User can add limited/unlimited HTML blocks to his/her form based on the plan subscribed. Also, with higher plans, you can add additional stylesheets to change the appearance of the form.
- A host of form submission analysis and publishing options: Check and edit submissions report to customize them, download and reports in .csv format, integrate with Google Sheets, Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel Analytics, and other apps.
- Limitations and Caps based on plans: You get fewer forms, fields, and submissions per form, and limited features – both in-built and Integrations based on the level of the plan subscribed.
- Work-flow management or team options only for premium plans: User on the free plan has to rely on other team management integrations.
- Does not integrate well with some payment gateways and sometimes payments made are not registered according to some user reviews.
- No logging of various versions of the form for user review while creating the form.
- Some functional glitches need to be resolved: For example, chaining of fields through multiple pages or forms has issues.
- Some features like reports and analysis don’t work well with mobile apps.
- No one to one phone support even for higher-end plans: Online chat is also not always available, and one has to often rely on emails.
- SSL secured forms available only to premium subscribers: Many form apps provide SSL security (industry standard) on all forms regardless of subscription plan.
123FormBuilder was founded in 2008 and earlier known as 123ContactForm and is based in Romania.
123FormBuilder started its journey with just two founders working with it, and today they have over 20,000 paid subscribers and more than seven dozen employees.
The form app comes with a basic free plan with limited access that has already been described a little. ‘The more you pay, the more access to features and higher limits on services you get’, is the business model of the application.
There are various corporate and enterprise plans available with workflow, multi-user management, and other advanced features available on subscription or quote basis.
As already mentioned, the services can be availed on SaaS- Software as a Service model of delivery via cloud, web, and mobile applications.
The mobile apps available for Android and iOS devices, though can’t provide the desktop experience allow the user to make simple forms and check submissions and reports on the go without always being on their PC or laptops.
Features at a glance
The list of options or features of this form app can be broadly categorized as follows:
Main features like templates, drag-drop editor, HTML and CSS blocks can be added to the form;
Form features – A variety of fields, plenty of field customization options, and design features and themes;
Payments and other Integrations: User can choose to connect the form with multiple payment gateways and also put the form data to work using Webhooks, in-built integrations or 1000s of Zaps;
Security features: 123 FormBuilder provides password protection, various Captcha options, country filtering, user IP permission and submission restrictions, and such. But a drawback here is that the app only provides SSL security for higher plans;
Customization: User can upload personal logos, images to background and forms, plus also import custom themes and add custom HTML and CSS code. The customization offered by this form app is among the best in the sector.
Mobile apps: 123FormBuilder app is available on Google Play Store and Apple’s AppStore. These apps put the Builder in a distinguished class of form app providing SaaS via the web, as well as mobile apps. While these mobile apps do not give the desktop experience, they allow users to make and manage their forms via mobiles easily.
Overview of the user portal
The main or the major features of 123FormBuilder as we have already discussed in previous sections include an easy to use drag and drop style editor; the vast collection of templates and themes; the help center with FAQs, contact and support options; Mobile applications to create simple forms, surveys on the go and check submission reports.
Now let’s get going and have a look at the user dashboard to get a brief idea of major features.
Shown above is the home screen of a123FormBuilder user account. By default, you see the options under the Dashboard tab of the ever-accessible Personal Details side panel. Other tabs here are My Forms, Users, Upgrade, Help, and Accounts.
The Dashboard screen shows recent forms and submissions, along with submissions summary and stats. You may choose to display data for all forms, or oldest ten forms, recent forms or even specific forms. (You may also change the graph’s time field range from days, weeks, months to years.)
The My Forms tab lists all of your forms and has storage options like creating folders, sorting the forms, checking reports, and manipulating the form properties.
The Users tab has team collaboration options only available with higher subscription plans.
The other options, namely Upgrade, Help, and the Account’s icons have options to upgrade your plan, FAQs, contact and query forms, and general account settings.
As is evident from the description, 123FormBuilder’s user portal has distinct sections and multiple access routes to your forms. There is a create new form link both in the dashboard as well as my forms section.
The storage section under the My Forms tab has sorting and search feature as well as folders option to categorize, store, access, manage and easily edit, change settings, rename or altogether delete your forms.
123FormBuilder’s basic but effective style of user portal with no flashy colors or images is very functional.
Form templates are the marquee feature of any form app as it saves user time and effort as well as make forms consistent in design and theme. It is advisable always to change its contents and design elements to suit your needs.
When you click the New Form button on the 123FormBuilder dashboard or choose to make a new form from any of the new form links within the web portal, you will be directed to templates section. Here you will find a blank form, scanned form and other generally used templates.
Important to note is the scanned form template, which allows to import the scanned files as templates and edit them to create forms. It is a useful feature to edit old printed forms or use them as templates to create new online ones.
With 123FormBuilder, finding an appropriate template will not be a problem as it has a large no. of templates under numerous categories – from RSVP to surveys.
To check out other template options, click the Template gallery link. The gallery has a classified list of templates under Browse by Type and Browse by Business tabs with further categorization under each tab. Given below is a snap of the Template gallery.
Creating the form pages - form fields and design themes
Selecting one of the available templates or a blank one loads it into the 123FormBuilder’s Editor Window. The Form Editor is where you add and edit form’s fields of questions, and design themes and elements.
The goal of using a form application is to create visually appealing online forms to garner the respondents’ attention and gain useful data. Also, some users may want personalized themes and designs to their customer survey or contact forms for branding purposes.
So both functionalities, i.e., variety of form field types and their customizability; and Design, i.e., appealing design theme, consistent color scheme, and typography, are essential. All this is handled in the Form editor.
The main menus of the editor listed on the top left of the menu and options bar are Edit, Settings, Publish and Result. Next to the menu options is Upgrade link and on far right are undo, redo, themes, view and publish buttons.
On the left ot the editor window is the Form Fields panel with all the available form fields listed under categories namely, basic fields, specific fields, and other fields. Basic fields have options like short text, long text, drop down, single choice, file upload, heading, and HTML block (to enter a customized block to the form).
Specific fields have more defined fields like name, address, phone number, email, price, signature, star or Likert ratings, Website URL, etc. while Other fields list page break, image, video, Facebook, PDF embed, Google map, and social links.
To add fields, select them from the side panel or drag and drop them onto the form space. To edit the properties of any added field, select it in the form space and apply needed changes from a list of options that appear in the side panel which before housed the fields list.
The drag-drop style mentioned above of form building makes form creation timely and hassle-free. Plus, you can easily select individual blocks and fields with predefined properties and customize them by changing the settings for these properties. It is an excellent way to create forms quickly.
Selecting any field will show the appropriate options specific to the chosen field in the side panel. For example, the various properties options which can be changed for the Name field are field label; set visibility as shown, hidden or removed; Default value; Instructions if any (turn on ‘show on click’ radio button to show instructions when a viewer clicks the response field); Validation and Other options.
Selecting Date field presents options like label, instructions, and validation, which are similar to text. Other options are Accepted Dates – from, until and accepted days, and Other options category set default date, week start day and to hide the field or make it read-only. Similarly, options change with change in the selected filed.
Duplicate and Delete are among some standard options to each field. Also, to change the order of fields, select them in the editor and use drag and drop approach.
After adding form fields and setting their properties, you may wish to set the theme for the entire form and choose color and typographic scheme to make the form blocks and field labels more consistent.
Click on the themes icon on the top right menu of 123FormBuilder’s editor window or choose themes drop-down option from the Edit menu.
This section allows to change the default theme (a few theme options can be seen in the image above in the side panel), add or import custom CSS, and change design elements.
You may also choose to import themes from a list of themes available with the builder through its integrations or choose from built-in themes.
123FormBuilder’s Themes section offers a somewhat exhaustive list of options to customize the various form fields and elements. These options are sub-divided under 13 headings like Form, Page, Label, Instructions, Input, Field, Field Hover, Field Focus, Error, Button, Choices, and a few others.
To get a view of kind of customization options under each heading, let’s take a look at a few. For instance, under the Form heading are options like form width, header, footer, right and left padding; background options like color, size, position, and background image upload option; form border settings like its color, style, thickness and shadow; and heading, and decoration color options.
On the same lines, the Label heading has options to define settings for the labels of the form fields. These include placement, alignment, font options, label margin options, and required filed star color option.
Similarly, the other headings have relatable options for input settings, buttons and choice field settings, and such.
This section elaborated in some detail the form creation and design elements sections to make our readers familiar with the 123FormBuilder’s form editing features. You might have observed that this app provides in-depth customization of form fields. You have to keep scrolling down the list of properties settings for specific fields.
The design themes and elements are also on par with sector leaders, although addition to in-built themes, providing more variety would only add to the product’s appeal.
Form settings – define a roadmap for your form responses
After your form is ready with all its fields and looks the way it should, it is time to put the form to work by publishing it. But before that, you must create a pathway for the form responses to be appropriately processed.
For this you must apply settings for submission notifications, applications you wish to integrate your forms with, payments settings (for product and payment page forms), security settings and some other miscellaneous settings.
To apply these settings, click on the Settings tab in the main menu of the 123FormBuilder’s editor window. It has options for notifications, thank you page, applications, payments, security, rules, translation, quiz, and advanced settings.
The notifications option has the setting for notifications to form owner and form user(respondent). Here you must specify each email ID on which you wish to send a notification and define when to send notifications via Rules option.
Click on add recipient button if you wish to send notifications to anyone regarding submissions of the selected form. In case of respondent’s email ID label, choose the form field label containing contact email details of the respondent from the drop-down.
User must define sender name, message text, reply email address, email headers, and footer, choose to attach response PDF with the mail, Google Analytics option, and few others. User can even use customized notification emails with a higher plan.
You may also send an SMS notification to anyone, including yourself, the respondent, or any of your team-member.
The next option in the settings menu is named thank you page settings. It has the option to change default submission thank you page message and choosing redirecting options by mentioning redirect page URL and few other options.
User may also show report, quiz results upon submission, or even enter custom HTML script for ‘the thank you’ page.
If you have opted for any of the 123FormBuilder’s paid plan, you can choose to integrate your form with any of the available integrations app and customize settings for the same under the Applications option of the settings menu.
Next, in line are the settings for payments. It has three tabs, namely Calculations, Payments Processors, and Notifications. The Calculations section is to add conditional logic for calculation using form field values and create discounts accordingly.
The Payments processors tab has the option to enable payment for that particular form and choose to add gateways to the payments sections and apply associated settings. You can add multiple gateways to a form including PayPal, Stripe, Authenticate.Net, Braintree, Worldpay. PayU.ro and others.
Lastly, under notifications, you can choose to receive a notification upon payment completion instead of submission, send payment notification to the responder, and an option for triggering webhooks for third-party apps.
All these options are only available on paid subscriptions as payments feature does not work with 123FormBuilder’s free tier.
The last option in setting’s menu is named Advanced Settings, which is meant to choose to apply some advanced features like adding JS script to your form page. Here there are again three tabs – Submissions, Form, and Quiz.
Each section in Advanced Settings has radio button options to activate a certain feature. For example, Submissions section allows for respondents to save partial submission and resume later, although for it to work, respondent email or another ID field must be specified.
Other options are allowing respondents to view response summary before submission or edit delivered submissions at a later time. Under Form tab are options to add Java Scripts to the form and thank you page, hide forms from search results, and autofocus on first input filed, etc.
Under the Quiz tab, you can enable timer and show missed or partial answers, useful in case of test quizzes or surveys.
So after having had a glimpse of settings options, we think the developers of 123FormBuilder have covered all aspects here from payments to conditional logic settings for the form options. So nothing to complain here. Also, we will have a look at Application settings later in the Integrations section to check if the Builder effectively utilizes the power of its integrations.
View and Publish forms
After you’re done with creating and applying various settings to the form, click on the view icon on far left, right next to themes icon in 123FormBuilder’s editor window to get a preview of your form. It opens up the URL link of your form in a new browser tab so that you can check how the form looks.
But there is no option to check out the mobile, or tablet preview to see how it would look on different devices. For this, you can have a preview on your 123FormBuilder mobile app. Although we think it would have been nice to have options for desktop, tablet, and mobile views on the desktop web portal like some other form apps have.
To get responses to your forms or surveys, you must publish them using appropriate means to reach the respondents. There are many options which various form apps provide to publish forms like form links, embedding, and sharing directly on social media or other platforms.
Additionally, you can use the power of builder’s various in-built integrations or add custom JS scripts with higher plans.
To publish forms made using the 123FormBuilder, go to the Publish tab on the main editor window right next to the Settings tab. It lists all the options available to publish your forms. Or you may directly click the Publish button on the far right. Irrespective of the way you choose, you will land on the Publishing Options window.
This window has three options to publish – link, embed, and platforms.
Choosing the link tab provides with form’s URL link with a copy button. You will have to share this link via email directly, or any other way to respondents and they can gain direct access to the form.
With each method, you have to select a few options, and then you can view a demo and copy the link and paste it in the desired page.
Platforms tab lists all the apps that you can integrate your form with. There is also a search option to check whether the desired platform features in the options or not. Selecting the desired platform will present the options to guide you through to publish your forms on or through those platforms.
Right at the bottom left side of the Publish window are located the SSL secured and Personal domain checkboxes. Both these features are exclusive to premium plans. It is a drawback as many form apps provide SSL security on all forms.
None the less, with higher plans apart from SSL security, you also get to opt out of 123FormBuilder’s backlink on your form URLs and use your own domain.
Security Features and Integrations
When hosting a form, or anything else for that matter, on the internet, securing your web content and the data of your users is of the utmost concern in today’s day and age.
To apply security settings to your form, go to the Security option in the Settings main menu of the editor.
The options here are to enable passwords for forms, Anti-spam protection by limiting the no. of overall submissions or maximum submissions from one IP, Captcha settings, country filter, and upload permissions.
123FormBuilder only provides SSL security forms on premium subscriptions, thus leaving forms created using free versions vulnerable to attacks. Although you can use other options like password enabling, IP restrictions, and filter to secure your free forms, many form apps provide SSL for free.
So to secure your forms with industry standard security, you must upgrade to one of the premium plans.
You can check your forms for HIPAA security by clicking the get data compliance on your forms link and specifying form URLs along with specifications.
Another important feature for any form app is its integrations with various data storage apps, social media apps, Website development apps, Marketing mails platforms, CRM software, team management apps, and messaging apps.
123FormBuilder's current Integrations are shown in the image below.
The product offers an integration with Salesforce, Google Sites, Blogger, Evernote, Dropbox, Zoho CRM, and many others.
To integrate your form with any of the integration apps, go to the Applications option of the Settings main menu, where you will find listed all the apps. To choose from a specific category, hover over the category name listed just above the apps icons.
To integrate an application with your form, hover on the application box in the list, press Add and enter application data in the box that appears on your page. To disable an application, uncheck the Enable box. Press Remove to remove an app altogether.
On the Payment Gateway front, 123FormBuilder has options of Square, Authorize.Net, Stripe, Braintree, WorldPay, PayFast, Sisow, and a few others. Different PayPal services are also available.
So, as is visible, there are a significant number of popular integrations across categories like CRM, Email Marketing, File Management, Helpdesk, Developer Tools, Social Media, and others. So, as far integrations are considered, you are pretty much covered. In case you happen to use a particular app not supported by 123FormBuilder, you can import the form reports as a .csv file.
Form Reports and Data Analytics
Nowadays, most of the form apps provide, not only storing and retrieval of form responses, but also basic data analytics for no. of form submissions, viewer choice analysis for multiple choice questions, etc.
123FormBuilder too provides some feedback report generation and inbuilt data analytics in the My Forms tab.
Under the Dashboard tab on the left panel of the user’s home page is My Forms tab. Under here, you will find listed all your forms, and options to add new folders and forms. It is the storage section where you can store and retrieve your forms for viewing or editing. Plus, you can check submission stats for each form, change form settings, publish them, rename, duplicate or delete them.
Click on the Submissions menu tab next to the listed label of a particular form in My Forms section to get the form submission details. It will show you in listed rows form the responses for each submission. You may refresh the data, print or export in CSV format, and even import data from other forms here.
To access more options like Duplicate, Rename, and Delete among others, click the more (three dots) icon. One important option here is the Reports option, which shows you a generic form report from two choices – All submissions/All fields/All-time, and Personal Details report.
The former shows submission numbers, pie-chart for each of the options filed and bar graph for multiple option fields; and the latter shows an analysis of respondents’ details if any. Below is a snap of a sample of the All submissions report.
By clicking on the +New Report button, you can create your customized form report by specifying filters, adding bar graphs, pie charts, and other infographics in a report editor which follows simple drag and drop style.
You may also save the reports as PDF or choose to publish it online if you are subscribed to a higher plan or edit it. In case you need advanced data analytics, you can integrate your forms to Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel Analytics, or import reports from this app to any other analytics software.
In this review, we have discussed not only the feature, pros, and cons of the 123FormBuilder but also shown you first-hand how it all works.
The major takeaways about the product are:
123FormBuilder is a freemium product where the free version has only basic features with far too many limitations. All the fleshy features and services are available to premium subscribers with higher caps.
It may not be the best option for Payment pages.
The forms you create here are meant to collect information or accept payments and are very functional. Though with the premium subscription you get personalized fonts and logo upload feature, the product itself does not provide much personalization or branding feature.
Customer Support only gets better with premium subscriptions, which are given priority.
In light of the points above, if you are willing to pay for niche features, you can surely use 123FormBuilder to make useful data collecting forms or surveys. It has excellent functional form templates.
Although I would not recommend using this app for payment pages, forms are not meant to accept payments anyway. If you are looking to make registration forms for paid events using 123FormBuilder, choose for a premium plan and keep a close eye to ensure every payment is registered and reflects so in your datasheets.
So, if you are a small business or an enterprise looking for an alternative for functional contact, customer registration forms or product survey, feel free to give 123FormBuilder’s free version a try. Test the waters before you opt for a premium plan (that’s where you’ll be able to utilize the app to its full potential).