Taking Attendance in Google Forms

Skyla Lilly
PD Specialist
News on March 04 2020


At present, Google Classroom doesn’t have an attendance feature included in its platform. If you’re simply using Google Classroom as a supplement for grading students’ online work, then this may not be an issue for you. But, if you’re using Classroom as the general management system for your classes, not having a way to take attendance can be an issue. Thankfully, there are some workarounds within G Suite that can help you out.

Create a form

Google Forms is the ideal application in G Suite for this task, and if you’re using Classroom already, you’re likely familiar with the basics of how Google Forms work. To create your attendance sheet, you’ll start with a brand-new Google Form. You shouldn’t create this as an assignment, though. Instead, you can simply add it in from your drive as you don’t want this to be sent out to students; it’ll be for your use only. Title your form as Attendance (if you have different classes, you may want to make separate forms for each one).


Edit your question set for your attendance list

The default question type will be multiple choice. To change this, click on “Multiple choice” to open the drop-down menu and select “Multiple choice grid.” This will give you a set of rows and columns. You will only have one question in this form, but it will not contain a question. In fact, your final attendance spreadsheet will be clearer if you delete the words “Untitled Question” and leave the space blank.


Building your attendance list

You should now see options for rows and columns. The rows are going to be where your students’ names go. You can type the names in manually if you’d like, but if you have a large number of students, that may be impractical. If you have your student list in a spreadsheet, you can highlight and copy/paste the list into the Google Form. By right clicking in Row 1, it will fill the rows with names in the same order as you had them in your spreadsheet.


The columns, on the other hand, will be your attendance markers. The photo below shows the basic present/absent/tardy, but you can add columns for whatever else you might need.


Finalizing your attendance list

Once you’ve finished filling out the rows and columns, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select on the option for “Require a response in each row.” This will prevent any students from being missed when you take attendance each day.

From here, click on the three-dot menu to the right of the Send button and select “Get pre-filled link.” This will bring you to the fillable form for recording attendance. On this page, select “Present” in every row and this will pre-select it as the default answer for whenever you do your attendance.


Making your attendance list easily accessible

When you get to the bottom of the list, click on the “Get link” button and a notification prompting you to copy the link will pop up. Click where it says, “Copy Link” and you’ll have your completed form to fill out every day. Save the link where it is easily accessible for you. For instance, making it a bookmark in your browser will make it easier to use on a daily basis.

Now that you’ve created your form, every time that you fill out your attendance and submit the answers, the results will be sent to a Google Sheets document with a date and time stamp. You can access the spreadsheet directly from your Google Drive, or go to the editing page for the Google Form and click on “Responses.” From there you can go directly to the Google Sheet which will update continuously as you do your attendance every day.

For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom check out more articles on our blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.

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