Making Surveys in Excel

Excel Survey Image

There are many “free” sites out there for creating a survey for your class, but I struggle with these sites controlling how much I can access the data that students create. So when I met with a colleague to plan a vocabulary activity for her science class, I wanted to provide her with a site that will let her create a survey that she controls. As usual, I turn to OneDrive.


Among the many features I love in OneDrive, the Excel survey tool is my favorite and most often used. I’ve created surveys to organize groups, check in with students on their research, and as an exit ticket for classes. I can take the data that comes from the survey and manipulate it the same way I would an Excel spreadsheet because, well, it is an Excel spreadsheet. And what’s better than an Excel spreadsheet? Nothing.

To get started, create a free account to OneDrive (and enjoy 15gb of free storage and online versions of Office). Once you are in, go to the “Create” menu and select “Excel Survey.” You will be prompted to provide a name for the spreadsheet the survey will create.

Next give the survey a title (this is the one your audience will see) and a subtitle. That’s typically where I include instructions or explanations for the type of data I’m requesting from the audience. Now you are ready to add questions.

Thinking about what kind of information you want will determine the type of questions you ask. For students, I generally need their name, classroom teacher, and class period for record keeping. I can get a list of these items and copy and paste them into the “Choice” response type. Then students can select their name , teacher, and class period from a dropdown menu. Again, you have a question subtitle for adding directions. Even a “default answer” box where you could put instructions (like “Choose your teacher”). These types of questions are also good to make mandatory by select “Required.”

Responders can also type answers with a “Text” response type. Choose this option for short answers (students will get one line to use), or choose “Paragraph Text” to provide a larger response area. If the response will be a date or a time, choose these types so that your Excel sheet will interpret the data correctly. There are also response type for numbers, and even a “Yes/No” option.

The main thing to keep in mind is how you want the data to exist in your spreadsheet and what you plan to do with it. Using this tool for basic feedback is fantastic and easy to do. It’s also great for advanced Excel users. Let’s say you want to count how often a student gives a particular response, I would create a “Choice” question. Then I can write a “COUNTIF” formula in Excel to see how many students responded with a particular answer, and then make a chart to display my data.

For more help with Excel, check out this great source from For step by step instructions on making an Excel survey, you can watch my YouTube video or go to the Microsoft Educator Network.


About @mr_snyderman

Technology Integration Specialist for Lake Washington School District, NCCE Past President, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Master Trainer, world-traveller, and Montana native. #tlchat #ncce #istelib
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