Tips on how to quickly collect email addresses with Google Forms

A common problem I hear from teachers is collecting email addresses from their students. Even though the school might provide the students with email addresses they might use a different address and never check the one given to them by the school. As a result, teacher often have to make new lists for their students’ email addresses. Two of the most common methods are: having the students enter their email addresses into a spreadsheet on the teacher’s PC or passing around a sheet of paper for the students to enter  their addresses. Neither of these methods is very efficient, as the first one takes up a lot of class time and the second one is time consuming because the teacher has to type the information into a spreadsheet.

One of the fastest and most effective ways of collecting email addresses from your students is using Google Forms. Just set up a form with a name (or first and second name) field and an email address and make them required questions.

Pro tip: To make sure the students enter a valid email address use data validation by going to the advanced setting in your email field and checking the data validation. Choose regular expression matches and then copy the following regular expression.


Then you need to share the link of the live form with your students. This might seem easier said than done as sharing is usually done via email. However, there are a number of alternatives:

  1. Send the link to one student who shares it with the other via Facebook, Whatsapp, etc.
  2. Share in an (open) Google+ group (G+ even embeds the form), which the students have already joined
  3. Share via QR codes to your students smartphones (if not all students have a smartphone, they can share their devices); requires that all your students have a QR scanner installed - you might have to inform them before
  4. Write a shortened URL on the board and your student type the URL into their smartphones.
  5. If the students have computers available, then just save the URL to a shortcut file and copy it to a drive on the server which is accessible to your students

Pro tip: Install the Google URL shortener extension for the Chrome browser. This allows you to quickly create both shortened URLs and QR codes.

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Importing the addresses into Gmail

Importing the addresses into Gmail can be a bit frustrating if you have no experience. However, if you stick to these instructions nothing should go wrong:

  1. Copy your collected data into a new spreadsheet. Make sure the first row contains the description (name, e-mail address) like here:


  1. Then download the new spreadsheet as a CSV file.
  2. Go to your Gmail and choose “Contact” (Gmail button top left) and then “More>Import”.
  3. Choose the CSV file and
  4. rename the “imported” group to your class description

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