Link forms together

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How to connect one form with another

Linking two or more forms together is a useful tool that will allow you to keep separate databases and pull the information from one to another easily. 


How to identify the relationship between your forms

With forms (datasets), the relationship between datasets can be:

  • 1 to 1 (like a beneficiary and an ID card)
  • many to many (like students and classes: a students attend many classes and 1 class is attended by many students)
  • 1 to many (like a parent and its children)

Once you identify the nature of the relationship between your two forms, you can choose the best way to structure your data.


1 to 1 relationship

A "1 to 1" relationship means :

  • 1 item from your form A is only linked to 1 item from your form B
  • 1 item from your form B is only linked to 1 item from your form A

If you realize that the relationship is 1 to 1, most of the times it means that you should not separate the data in 2 different forms. For instance, that would be the case of an individual and his ID card.

In some cases, however, it makes sense to separate them. Like for instance: the relationship between spouses is 1 to 1 (1 person married to 1, and only 1 person). However, both names will not appear in the same form but we can link them together.


many to many relationship

A "many to many" relationship means :

  • 1 item from your form A can be linked to 1 or many items from your form B
  • 1 item from your form B can be linked to 1 or many items from your form A

If you realize that the relationship is many to many, it means you should probably make a 3rd form that will help join the two forms together (see example below).

Sometimes, instead, it makes more sense to put a list in the form where you usually will need to select less items in the list. For example: if you have coaches and students, it could make more sense to place the list of coaches (multi-select) in your Students form if you think a student will never have a lot of coaches (maybe between 1 and 3).


One to many relationship

The "One to many" relationship is the most frequent. It means :

  • 1 item from your form A can be linked to many items from your form B
  • But 1 item from your form B can be linked to only 1 item your form A

If you realize that the relationship is one to many, it means you should place your dropdown list in the form where you will need to select 1 item only. For example: if a class only has 1 teacher, then you should place the list of teachers (single select) in the Classes form.


How to insert a dropdown list that lists records from another form

  • Analyse your data to identify the type of relationship. This will help you decide in which form gets linked (where you use the "custom form" field).
  • Create the 1st form with its appropriate fields.
  • Create the 2nd form with its appropriate fields.
  • Place the new field ("Custom form" field) in the "parent" form and configure it (steps below).

To place the field in the form:

  • Go in the design page of the form.
  • Drag-and-drop the "Custom form" field in the form.
  • Click on the pen icon to configure this new field.
  • Select the "child" form (from which you want to be able to select records to link to).
  • Edit other parameters (like mandatory, multi-select, etc.).
  • Click update.


Example: 1 participant to 1 event.

You could create a third form which would be your attendance sheet form, in which you would be able to link 1 beneficiary to 1 attendance entry. 

You can achieve this by adding two fields of the "List" type. Then click on the pencil icon to edit the details. Select "Custom forms" and then select the "Beneficiaries" form for one of the fields and "Trainings" form for the other field. 

This will allow you to keep your databases separated and organized, and to be able to run reports on the different information entered in each database. 

One single form can be linked to many forms, so you could also link your Beneficiaries to your Seed Distribution form. This will allow you to select from the list of existing beneficiaries 

When you access the record that links to the other forms, in this example, each Beneficiary, you will see on the left the fields belonging to the Beneficiary form and on the right the Forms and records that have been linked to that beneficiary. 

Notice that from this view you can add data relevant to that beneficary. Click on the "+" symbol next to a linked form's title. A panel will appear allowing you to add a new record linked to that beneficiary.


Linked forms and Formalto

If you use link forms together, and want to use Formalto (web URL) and be able to created records in the linked form, make sure that all the linked forms have their own URLs.