Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Google Forms History – Essential!

Unfortunately Google Forms™ does not have version history. HOWEVER, Martin Hawksey saves the day with his Google Forms History Add-on.
Forms History by Martin Hawksey
Google Forms History – Essential!
YouTube video

Did you know that Google Forms does NOT have a version history? I have had more than one good cry when my Form got messed up and I couldn’t undo it. Officially, Google Forms does NOT have version history. However, Martin Hawksey has saved the day!

Forms History by Martin Hawksey works with Google Forms

Who Edited the Form

If you are collaborating on a Form you want a history of who edited the Google Form. Forms History will show you a timestamp of who edited the Form. Use the puzzle piece icon at the top of your Google Form to access “Forms History.” A sidebar will pop up to show you the timestamp of edits.

CAUTION: Forms History is limited by what the Google API allows.

As a Google Developer Expert I am intimately aware of the challenges when using API’s to code solutions to fill gaps for limitations of Google Workspace Apps. For example, when I created Form Printer I saw that there was a need to be able to have control over how you print your Google Forms. I was able to grab the text from the questions and even the images that are standalone. HOWEVER, there was a limitation that I was NOT able to grab the images within a question. It just does not exist in the code capabilities. When I code solutions for Google Classroom™ I can NOT access the rubrics. It does not exist in the API.

A Solution for Google Forms™ Version History

Google Forms™ does not have version history. My good friend and fellow Google Developer Expert Martin Hawksey has been trying to figure out how to fill this gap. Forms History is a very useful Add-on to provide you with information that Google Forms currently does not provide you.

Collapsed Edits

The way the Google Drive API works is that it records edits to documents, but not small edits in a short period of time. The edits are only captured periodically.

If you are working on a Google Form at the same time as your collaborator, the edits of the collaborator may show as part of your edits.

Notice in this screenshot below that Krista and myself were working on editing the Form at the same time. It does not show the back and forth we had. Instead, periodically Google Drive takes a snapshot of edits created and the edits are combined together under one of the users.

Sidebar for Google Forms History to show that Alice Keeler and Krista Weller edited the Form.

Manually, Create Backup Versions

Unfortunately, when Google Drive API records an edit on a document it does NOT record what the edits were. Thus it is really important to create backups of your Google Forms, just in case. Even I have messed up my own Google Forms accidentally. A backup is really essential.

Create backup copies using Forms History by Martin Hawksey. Next to the top version is an icon to COPY the current version. Tip: Backup often

View the Forms History Add-on and notice that the most recent edit has a copy icon to allow you to “Make a copy.” You must do this manually, it can not be done for you.

Hyperlinked Copies

Make frequent backups. manually use forms history to make a copy. Access the copies from Forms history. The screenshot shows the mouse hovering over the linked text.

When you use Forms History to make a copy of your Google Form, the text in the sidebar is hyperlinked to that version. Click on the date stamp when you created the version to launch the copy in a new tab. You can, of course, find the version in your Google Drive also.

Restoring Backups

If you do need to access the backup copies you made, Martin Hawksey has this BRILLIANT HACK!

YouTube video

Import Questions

In the floating toolbar of Google Forms is the option to import questions. Keep using your same Form but use the import question option to import in the questions that somehow got messed up or lost! GENIUS!

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