Dec 15, 2016

How to Add a Picture Password to your Google Forms

Google Forms have this “all-or-none” problem. The forms are either public (anyone can fill your form) or, if you are on Google Apps, you can create forms that are visible to everyone in your organization. It is however not possible to restrict access to forms to specific people.

Another shortcoming is that Google Forms do not allow passwords or CAPTCHAs to prevent spam bots from filling your forms with random data. Google itself maintains the reCAPTCHA project but it is not known if integration with Google Forms is in the works. There is a workaround, though.

Google Forms with Picture Passwords

Google Forms do not support CAPTCHA but they do offer an option to attach images with questions. These can be used as picture passwords.

The idea is simple.

We add a multiple-choice question where the user is asked to pick an image from a selection of multiple images. If they select the correct image, the main form is displayed else an error message is shown. Also, these images are shuffled so the answer’s position is random for each respondent.

How to Make Google Forms with Picture Passwords

Take this sample Google Form for a spin and you’ll get the idea.

Open a new Google Form and create 3 sections. The first section will have the picture password, the second section will contain the error message and the last one will have the actual questions that you want to ask users who have passed the anti-spam test.

In the first section, create a multiple choice question and attach a different image with every choice. Make this a required question and turn on the shuffle order for the question. Also turn on the option “Go to section based on answer” for the section so that only valid answers are taken to the main form.

For each choice that is not valid, choose “Go to section 2” (see screenshot) and choose “Go to section 3” for the right choice. In section 2, do not add any questions but for the error message in the section description. Also set “Go to section 1” after section 2 so that the user cannot go to the main section 3 without passing the picture test.

Make the Google Form live and respondents will only see the main questionnaire if they have solved the problem in section 1. You should also check out another technique for restricting access to Google Forms with passwords.

Related: File Upload Forms for Google Drive


The story, How to Add a Picture Password to your Google Forms, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 15/12/2016 under Google Forms, Internet.

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Dec 14, 2016

How to Generate a Report of Bounced Email Addresses in Gmail

Some of the email messages you have sent through Gmail might not get delivered at all. There could be a problem with the recipient’s email address, their mailbox could be full or maybe the mail server could be specifically blocking your emails due to the content of the message.

When an email message is returned, you get a bounce-back notice from MAILER-DAEMON@gmail.com and it will always contain the exact reason for the delivery failure along with the SMTP error code. For instance, an error code 550 indicates that the email address doesn’t exist while a 554 indicates that your email was classified as spam by the recipient’s mail server.

gmail-email-bounced

How to Get a List of Email Addresses that Bounced

It is important to keep track of your bounced messages and remove all undelivered email addresses from your future mailings as they may adversly affect your sending reputation.

Mail Merge keeps track of all your bounced messages in Gmail but if you are using mail merge yet, here’s an open-source Google Script that will prepare a list of all email addresses that have bounced inside a Google Spreadsheet.

Gmail Bounce Report – Getting Started

Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Go to labnol.org/bounce to make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet.
  2. Click the Gmail menu (adjacent to Help) and choose Bounce Report.
  3. Allow the Google Script to access* your Gmail account.
  4. Watch as the Google Sheet is populated with bounced addresses.
[*] The sheet uses an open-source Google Script that runs inside your own account and doesn’t share even a byte of data with anyone.

The email bounce report includes the email address that bounced, the reason why that email failed to deliver and the date when the bounce occurred. The spreadsheet will also have a direct link to the bounced message received from MAILER-DAEMON@google.com.


The story, How to Generate a Report of Bounced Email Addresses in Gmail, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 14/12/2016 under GMail, Internet.

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Dec 13, 2016

An Undocumented Gmail Trick – Search Emails by Date and Time

Gmail supports a plethora of search operators to help you instantly find that elusive email message buried in your mailbox. You have size search – like larger_than:5mb – to find the big messages in your account. File search – like has:attachment filename:doc – will locate email messages that contain file attachments of specific types. This graphic illustrates all the known search operators that work both on Gmail and Google Inbox.

Date Search in Gmail

Date search in Gmail helps you locate emails sent or received in a specific period. Here are some examples:

  • newer_than:7d from:me – Emails sent in the last 7 days
  • after:2016/12/01 to:me – Emails received in the month of December 2016

Specify Time Modifiers in Gmail Search

Gmail also supports time-based searches allowing you to find emails in the specific hour, minute or second. For instance, you can limit your Gmail search to emails that were received between Dec 10 8:15 PM and Dec 10, 2016 8:45 PM.

To get started, convert the date and time to Epoch time and then use the timestamp with the standard after or before search operator of Gmail.

For instance, the Epoch time for Dec 10, 2016 8:15 PM is 1481381100 and the Epoch time for Dec 10, 2016 8:45 PM is 1481382900. Use the search query after:1481381100 before:1481382900 and you’ll get a list of all emails received during that 30-minute period.

Epoch time is the number of seconds that have elapsed since January 1, 1970 (UTC). Use the Epoch converter to represent a human readable date and time in Epoch and use that timestamp with the before or after search operator of Gmail to find that elusive email.


The story, An Undocumented Gmail Trick – Search Emails by Date and Time, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 13/12/2016 under GMail, Internet.

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How to Receive Notifications for Google Forms on your Mobile Phone

The Email Notifications add-on for Google Forms will send you the form data in an email message each time a respondent submits your form. You can use the same add-on to also send automated emails to the form respondents immediately after they complete your Google Form.

The popular Google Forms add-on has been updated and it can now send push notifications to your mobile devices as well. That means when respondents complete and submit your online form, you’ll get an instant real-time notification (sample) on your iPhone or Android phone. The notification text can also include answers from the Google Form.

A fast response time is a key to success, especially in areas like customer service and closing sales leads, and mobile notifications will ensure that your important form entries are never lost in the daily deluge of emails.

Setup Mobile Notifications for Google Forms

It takes a few easy steps (video tutorial) to get up and running.

  1. Install Email Notifications for Google Forms from the Google Add-on store.
  2. Install the IFTTT mobile app on your Android or iOS device.

Next, we need to create a connection between our Google Form and the IFTTT app so that mobile notifications are triggered on the mobile phone immediately after the form is submitted.

1. Configure IFTTT

Open ifttt.com on your desktop and create a new applet. Choose the Maker service for if-this condition and set the Event name as the name of your Google Form. For if-this-then-that action, choose Notifications as the service and set the text as . Click Finish to make your IFTTT applet live.

2. Configure Google Forms

Open any Google Form, go to the Addons menu, choose Email Notifications and then select Mobile Notifications. Enter the Event name, the IFTTT key and the notification text. You can put any in the text and these will be replaced with actual values filled by the user.

That’s it. Click the Test button to test the connection between the form and your mobile phone. If it works, click Save to enable mobile notifications.

Google Forms - Mobile Notifications

If you have multiple Google Forms, you need to create separate IFTTT applets for each form and the event name should be unique for each applet.

Internally, when someone submits your form, the Google Addon triggers and sends a web request to the IFTTT service which in turn pushes the notification to your mobile device.

Troubleshooting Mobile Notifications

  • Ensure that your mobile is connected to the Internet.
  • The event name in the applet should match the event name in the form configuration.
  • You are logged into the IFTTT app on your mobile phone.
  • Check the activity log to ensure that notifications are getting sent.
  • If you are still facing any issue, contact support.

The story, How to Receive Notifications for Google Forms on your Mobile Phone, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 13/12/2016 under Android, Google Forms, IPhone, Internet.

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