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Anonymous table row submissions via Coda Form

Use a published Coda form to add entries to your table without a Coda account.
One of our most requested features would be allow true anonymous editing to a Coda doc. Makers want to be able to share their doc and have others contribute to it without signing up for an account. This doc will go over the problem and a possible solution, instructions to set up the solution, an example to play around with and some frequently asked questions. So let’s get into it!

The problem

We understand that allowing anonymous editing of your docs would help you share them more broadly. Here are some insights into why we haven’t enabled anonymous editing in Coda:
The legal stuff: Transparently, requiring a user to create a Coda account is a primary way to ensure acceptance of our terms & conditions, which help us keep Coda a safe, respectful, and secure environment for our community. This reduces vectors for malicious use of Coda, and strengthens our ability to respond when Coda is used inappropriately. Read more about our privacy policy at
Balancing anonymity with “people” data in docs: In addition to “People” column types, Coda docs reference people in @-mentions, reactions, voting tables, comments, etc. Editors would lose this capability (and doc makers would lose the opportunity to reference collaborators or follow-up with voters, commenters, etc.) with an anonymous identity in docs.

At this time, facilitating meaningful collaboration for teams is a top priority for Coda, and so—in addition to the above—we haven’t prioritized the anonymous editing use case. If you have more input about any of these scenarios, though, ! We value input like yours to keep our perspective grounded in what makers like yourself care about.

The solution
Though you are not able to have anonymous editing for the entire Coda doc, you are able to add rows to a table and crowdsource entries anonymous through a published Coda form.


Instructions to set up
Remember you can only collect anonymous feedback/edits if you have a table. Let’s start there.
If you’re starting from scratch, you can get a head start with both a table and form by using the slash command /form . You will create the in-doc form as well as the form results table. Treat this form results table as your base.
If you already have an existing database, make a view of the table by either copy and pasting it or the slash command of /[name of your table] . You’ll see a drop down to create a new view. Go into the table options and select Form under the kebab for more options.
Customize the form by clicking Edit layout. Check out our help article for more details.
Make sure your form is set up for anonymous submissions by double checking the following Privacy Settings:
Allow submissions - toggled ON
Require login - toggled OFF
image.png
Publish the form by clicking on the Create link button.
image.png
Note: This is an important step! An in-doc form (the form that appears when you use the slash command of /form) is not enough to collect responses anonymously. If you want a form to work in your Coda doc, proceed to the next step.
Once you have a published form, you can incorporate its URL in two different ways to your doc:
Add a new button to open the link. Slash command /Open hyperlink and fill out the URL section.
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Embed the published form link directly into the canvas (the writing surface of the doc). Paste the link directly in the canvas or write the =Embed() formula yourself. Learn more with our help article.
💡 Tip: If you’re finding yourself scrolling through the embedded form, set the height and width in your embed formula.



Let’s test this out!
I’ve created a sample table that will serve as my database and form results table and published a new form. Help fill it out by submitting a new response.

🚨 IMPORTANT: Remember that we want to allow those without a Coda account to contribute so make sure you’re logged out of your Coda account (or open a new private browsing session, such as incognito mode for Chrome) before proceeding!


Embedded published form route:


Check out your response in the table below. Do you see your response?

Example Survey: Favorite superhero/villain
0
Search
Hero/Villain Name
Can they fly?
Created by
Created on
1
Rogue
AL
Alice Ly
9/7/2021, 1:44 PM
2
Jubilee
AL
Alice Ly
9/7/2021, 1:44 PM
3
Storm
AL
Alice Ly
9/7/2021, 1:44 PM
4
Erik Killmonger
ES
External Form Submission
9/30/2021, 2:47 PM
5
Spider-man
ES
External Form Submission
10/7/2021, 12:56 AM
6
Joker
ES
External Form Submission
10/28/2021, 5:16 PM
7
supermario
ES
External Form Submission
11/5/2021, 6:53 AM
8
asd
ES
External Form Submission
1/4/2022, 2:51 PM
9
Goku
AP
Axell Padilla
2/3/2022, 1:13 PM
10
Spiderman
ES
External Form Submission
2/16/2022, 11:36 PM
11
ghjgghj
IB
Isabel Benasso
3/16/2022, 3:13 PM
12
aasdasd
MD
Maarten van Dijk
3/17/2022, 3:55 PM
13
hi
FS
Faculty Senate
3/31/2022, 11:44 AM
14
Iron man
ES
External Form Submission
4/1/2022, 6:52 PM
15
test656
NK
Natasha Klushina
4/4/2022, 5:35 PM
16
Dangerous Dragon
ES
External Form Submission
4/4/2022, 5:37 PM
17
flying spaghetti monster
ES
External Form Submission
4/17/2022, 6:40 AM
18
zdfgdfg
EJ
Elam Jaybal
5/18/2022, 9:04 AM
19
sfdgsdfg
EJ
Elam Jaybal
5/18/2022, 9:04 AM
There are no rows in this table

That’s it! That’s how you use a published form to support anonymous editing/new entries to a table in your doc. This is great way to collect feedback from the general public without requiring everyone to create a Coda account (even though it’s ).

Note: Since the Created by column is using a properties formula, it will list “External Form Submission” for the user without a Coda account. If you would like to collect names of those who submitted the rows, add a name column for the anonymous users to fill out.

Want to check out some published docs with more finesse? Please see these awesome examples below:


Another note: You do not need to publish your doc to implement this solution.


FAQs

Q: How can I learn more about Coda Forms?
A: Is it too meta to answer an FAQ with a full help article on ? If not, click on the link to learn more.

Q: How do I make revisions to my form submission?
A: We currently do not support revisions to your submissions at this time. If you have individuals who would like to make any corrections to what they’ve submitted, have a good contact email listed. This contact will need to be an Editor of the Coda doc. They can go in and make the adjustments directly on the table.

Q: My published doc is in Edit mode but my in-doc form states “Responses won't be saved because this doc is in play mode”. What is going on?
A: Even though your published doc is set to Edit Mode, the in-doc form view will revert to Play mode for anyone who is not currently signed in to their Coda account. Since the form is a part of a doc, we do not support signed out or anonymous editing to it. In other words, if you are seeing this, you are currently signed out. Please see the instructions on how to embed the published form link instead.

Q: How do I make sure nothing else in my doc gets edited?
A: If you only want a specific table to be edited via the form, make sure that the Anyone with this link is set to Can view.

Q: When I click the create link button to publish the form nothing happens?
A: Only the doc owner will be able to create a published form. Please check in with the doc owner to do so.

Q: Can I add a new value to the lookup column dropdown?
A: You cannot add values to lookup/select lists in a form. This violates our security model of forms. Instead if you would like to collect a new value that isn’t listed, please add another text column for Other.

Q: Do I need a form view in my doc for this to work?
A: Nope! If you delete the form view, the external form is still active. Even though you deleted this view, users can still submit via the published external form. You have the option to view form or disable form.

Screen Shot 2021-09-13 at 4.48.58 PM.png

Q: I still want full doc edit access for anonymous users since adding a row to a table is too limiting. Any other workarounds?
A: Sorry, not at this time! Chat in and select the I want to submit feedback option to add your vote to our Logged out (anonymous) editing feature request (last question of the form). We’d love to hear more about your use-case!
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