Turning Spreadsheets into Mobile Data Collection Apps

28 April 2016 by RJ Jacques

Everyday, professionals throughout many industries go through the laborious task of taking forms and information collected in the field, manually entering them into a computer, and adding that field data to a spreadsheet for future processing. This data entry process can take many otherwise productive hours out of a workday, and if data is submitted with errors or omitted information, this can lead to an even larger amount of time to correct. All of this wasted time leads to unnecessary extra costs in the form of man-hours, travel time, fuel costs, & paper storage.

Fortunately, we’ve created an easy way for professionals to upload their spreadsheets to the cloud, and have their field team update the spreadsheet immediately with data and forms collected in the field. Plus, turning your spreadsheets into mobile apps requires no coding or special programming skills, and the field team only needs to download an app to their mobile phones or tablets to begin field data collection.

Spreadsheets to mobile apps

This tutorial takes about 15 minutes to set up, and will save you countless hours of data entry. Let me show you how to get this set up for your business:

Importing the spreadsheet and collecting data

1) First, sign up for a trial of Fulcrum.

2) Export your current spreadsheet into a CSV file.

3) Next, while in Fulcrum, build a simple app with fields for each of the columns reflected in your spreadsheet. Use the same field names as your column titles.

Pro Tip: Select “required” for fields that contain must-have information, to prevent incomplete entries in your spreadsheet.

4) Click “Save and Exit” to save your app and exit the App Builder.

5) Then, while still logged into Fulcrum on your desktop, click the “Data Importer” next to your newly created app.

Fulcrum Importer

6) Select your app from the left-hand dropdown bar, select “Create New Records”, then select your CSV to upload.

7) Following the simple instructions for the importer, go through steps one to six.

Fulcrum Importer Steps

8) On Step 4, “Map Fields”, for all of your spreadsheet columns, match each one to the corresponding app field.

Fulcrum Importer Map Fields Step

9) Next, review any issues the importer has detected. At this point, you haven’t imported you data, so if there are conflicts or data errors, you can go back to an earlier step and correct the problem.

10) Once there are no errors, Click Import.

11) Now, log into the Fulcrum app from your phone, and visit the app you just created.

You are now ready to collect field information into your main spreadsheet, right from your app.

On your mobile device, click the “+” button in the lower right corner to begin adding a new entry, and start filling out the fields on your form.

When you are finished, click the “Sync” icon, and your record is uploaded to the cloud, and added to the spreadsheet you uploaded earlier.

Continue to collect data, and all future records will be added as new rows to your spreadsheet.

Now, I’m sure you’ll want to know how to export the data you’ve collected into a spreadsheet you can use in other software. The process is straightforward and simple, and takes only seconds.

Exporting collected data from Fulcrum

Fulcrum Exporter

1) Log into Fulcrum from your desktop computer.

2) Visit the “Data Exporter”, and select CSV or Excel file (or other file type), and click Export.

And thats it! Your spreadsheet now contains the data you imported, in addition to your collected field data, up to the moment of export.

Now, you can export data with all the collected field data, whenever it is needed, without the hassle of hours of manual entry, transcription errors, or revisits due to incomplete records or improperly filled out forms.

If you have any questions on setting this up for your business, reach out to support by clicking the red button at the bottom right corner of your screen, or send us an email at support@fulcrumapp.com

About the author

RJ is the Director of Marketing for Fulcrum. He oversees our advertising, outreach, and marketing operations and programs.

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