FormBreeze Control Panel Help
Email Settings and Contact
How to Contact Us
Welcome to FormBreeze! This section covers the basic information you need to know to get your forms working right away. The rest of the help system covers more advanced features in detail.
Your Control Panel is your administrative center for your FormBreeze account. From here, you can set up your forms, create autoresponder messages, view statistics, and download saved submission data.
How to get your forms working
Note that your forms will work only from the locations specified in the Control Panel. For security reasons, you cannot test the forms directly from your computer or in other locations.
The steps above will get basic form processing working so that the results of each submission are emailed to you. Beyond, that FormBreeze offers many more advanced features; these are covered in more detail below.
The Control Panel is divided into several sections. Most of the controls are self-explanatory.
When you save changes in the Control Panel the changes will immediately take effect. Be sure to press on of the Save All Changes buttons in the Control Panel any time you make changes.
Statistics shows the number of times each of your forms has been submitted.
Field Validation Tool lets you open this tool in a new window. Use this tool to update your forms to work with FormBreeze before uploading them to your website.
Your Forms is where set up your forms and specify more advanced features like autoresponders and saving the form's data to your account.
The "Your Forms" section is where you control the operation of each of your forms. Each form has several settings:
The URL (web address) of the form and the confirmation page.
This is where you specify the location of the your form and also the webpage you want displayed after the form is submitted. These addresses must be correct for things to work.
Email Settings and Contact Forms [top of page]
If you want to receive an email message every time the form is submitted, check the box and fill in your email address.
If you would like the result to be sent to more than one person, you can enter up to 5 email addresses, separated by commas.
For most forms, you just want to receive the data for your records. FormBreeze will send an email with the subject "FormBreeze Submission Data." It will include all the submitted information, as well as the time of the submission and the visitor's IP address.
However, FormBreeze works a little differently if you check the box indicating that the form is a Contact Form. A contact form is a form that's designed to let your visitors send you email. One important advantage of using a contact form is that it keeps your email address private so it cannot be "harvested" by the automated programs used by spammers.
For contact forms, FormBreeze will use the field you specify as the "From" email address. In other words, the message will appear to come from the visitor. This will allow you to reply to the message in your email application. Also, you can specify a field to contain the subject of the email. For contact forms, FormBreeze will not include the visitor's IP address in the message.
It is very important that the field names you specify in the Control Panel exactly match the field names in your HTML form. If you are not getting the results you expect this is one of the first things to check.
If you want to specify the order of the fields in the email sent to you when a form is submitted, you can do this in the "Save Submission Results" section, below.
Save Submission Results [top of page]
If this box is checked, FormBreeze will save the results of every form submission on our server. You can view or download your data at any time by clicking the button in the Statistics/Data area. You can view the data in a table format, or you can download it in one of two plain text formats: tab-delimited or CSV (comma separated). Virtually all spreadsheets and database applications will accept one of these formats.
The Fields to Save box lets you specify the fields that you want to be saved. If you leave this blank, all the fields in your form will be saved. Filling out this item lets you control which fields are saved (you may not want them all) and also the order they appear from left to right. If you fill in the box, the field names must match exactly what is in your HTML form, and should be separated by commas. Make sure you use the proper field names. Here is an example:
First Name: <input type="text" size="20" name="firstname">
Often people make the mistake of entering the red text "First Name". This is wrong. You must enter the blue text "firstname". This is the actual field name. This must match exactly for things to work. If you enter incorrect field names, you will get a list of fields but no data when you receive your submission results.
There is another very important reason to fill out this item. This has to do with the way checkboxes are handled when a form is submitted. If a checkbox is checked, then the name of the field and its value will be submitted and will appear in your data as you expect. However, if a checkbox is not checked, then no information about the field is passed along at all. Your form will not send along an empty value or an "OFF" value for the field. It will simply not send any information about the field at all. (This is the way all HTML forms work on the web--it is not a FormBreeze-specific issue).
This means that when FormBreeze processes your form, it won't be aware of the field at all. The result is that if you use checkboxes the number of columns in your data will vary depending whether or not your visitors check the boxes. (i.e. things will not line up). When this happens, FormBreeze will realize what has happened and will re-print the column headers above the line so you know what the data is. However, the result will not be desirable in terms of readability or importing your data elsewhere.
For this reason, you should always specify the fields to save if you use checkboxes. If you tell FormBreeze what fields to save, then blank values will be inserted when the checkboxes are not checked and things will line up properly.
The Use the field order above for emailing submission results lets you also use this list of fields for the data that is emailed to you. You can specify a list of fields here and check this box even if you don't want to save the data.
Send an Email to the Visitor (Autoresponder) [top of page]
Check this box if you want to send an email message such as a "thank you" note or confirmation to the visitors that fill our your form.
Specify the name of the field in your form that will contain the visitor's email address. (If you get in the habit of naming this field "email" things will be easier.)
Next, specify the email address and the name that you want the message to be from. The visitor will see the name in the From area of his or her email application and will be able to reply to the email address.
Specify whether the message will be Plain text or HTML.
To create an HTML message, you can design the message in your HTML editor and then copy the body section (from <BODY> to </BODY>) and paste it into the message body area. Important: make sure that all references to graphics, style sheets or other files in the message have a full URL. If you use a relative URL, like SRC="myfile" things won't work properly when the person receives the email.
Last, fill in the message subject and body.
You can include field names enclosed in double square brackets in the body of the message: [[FieldName]]. These will be replaced by the actual data when the email is sent. As always, the field names must match exactly what you have used in your form.
Sending a Follow-up Email to the Visitor (Follow-up Autoresponder) [top of page]
This feature lets you automatically send a second email to the visitors that fill out your form. Unlike the regular autoresponder above, this email is sent at a later time.
If your form is geared toward marketing a product or service, this type of follow-up can greatly increase your chances of turning prospects into customers. Having FormBreeze do this follow-up automatically can save you a great deal of time.
FormBreeze decides when to send the follow-up email by counting the number of subsequent visitors that submit your form. You can control the amount of time that elapses before the follow-up is sent by calculating the average number of submissions per day. For example, if your form is submitted approximately 5 times per day, then 15 new submissions would result in a delay of approximately 3 days.
While this technique does not allow you to control the timing of follow-ups exactly, it is generally quite effective, and it introduces a natural variation in timing that is not unlike what might occur if you followed up by sending the emails manually. In general, the most effective delay is probably from 1-5 days.
If you are not sure what number to start with, start with a relatively low number like 3-5. If the average number of daily submissions goes up, you can then increase this number gradually. It is better to increase the number than to start with a high number and then decrease it (the system will take longer to adapt to the new setting if you start high and then go low).
You can test your follow-up autoresponder message by setting the delay to zero (0). This will cause the follow-up message to be sent immediately. Don't forget to click the Save All Changes button after making this change (and again when you want to change it back to a positive value).
The remaining items in this area are the same as for the regular (immediate) autoresponder above. The follow-up autoresponder will be sent to the same email address as the regular autoresponder; it will just happen later.
As with the immediate autoresponder, you can include field names enclosed in square brackets in the body of the message. However, for follow-up autoresponders the number of fields you can use is limited to 2 for standard accounts and 5 for professional accounts. The reason for this limitation is that FormBreeze must store the data so it can be used when the follow-up email is sent in the future.
FormBreeze Standard accounts have a follow-up autoresponder for Form #1 only. Professional accounts have follow-up autoresponders for Forms #1,2 and 3. Therefore, you should arrange things so that the forms for which you want to use follow-up messages appear first.
Subscribe the Visitor to a Mailing List [top of page]
This feature lets you automatically send a subscribe email from the visitor to a mailing list like Majordomo or Listserv. This allows you to automatically build a mailing list as people fill out your form. Many web hosting accounts include mailing list service; check with your hosting provider. This feature can also be used for follow-up responder services (like GetResponse) that can automatically send a series of follow-up marketing messages spaced over time.
The visitor's email address comes from the same field specified in the autoresponder section above. Make sure this is correct even if you are not sending an autoresponder.
For next two items, you will need to check the documentation for your mailing list software to make sure they are correct:
The email address of the list is the address to which subscribe commands should be sent.
The Subscribe Message Text is the text that will be inserted into the message. This is usually something like "subscribe ListName".
You can include fields in the subscribe message text just as with the autoresponder. This allows you to include other subscription information if necessary. For example, if the email address is required: subscribe mylist [[email]]
Sign up the visitor only if field "optin" is checked. This feature allows you to add the visitor to your list only if he or she "opts-in". To use this feature, you must have a checkbox field on your form with the name "optin". The name must match exactly. In this case, the visitor will be subscribed only if the box is checked.
Here is the HTML code for an "optin" checkbox:
Checked by default: <input type="checkbox" name="optin" value="ON" checked>
Cleared by default: <input type="checkbox" name="optin" value="ON">
We have found a few cases where our clients have received spam or other annoyance form submissions. In cases where this may be a problem, FormBreeze allows you to block submissions from specified IP addresses.
To block problem submissions, follow these steps:
Determine the IP address that the submissions are coming from. The IP address is included in the email sent to you when the form is submitted. Look at the second line of the email:
Submitted at: Mon Feb 12 21:14:33 2007 by IP: 22.214.171.124
The IP address is the number sequence shown in bold. The IP address is also saved with the submission data if you have checked the option to save the data on the server.
Note: If you have checked the option to treat the form as a "contact form" the IP address will not appear. Either get the IP address from the saved data on the server, or temporarily uncheck this box to receive the data as a normal form.
Copy the IP address from step 1 to the clipboard. Make sure you copy the entire number including all 3 periods.
Then log into your FormBreeze control panel, and scroll to the bottom of the of the page. You will see a place to enter IPs you want to block. Paste the IP address into this box. You can have multiple IP address, separated by commas and/or spaces. Make certain that you copy the entire IP address exactly and that no extra spaces appear within the address.
After entering the IP address, be sure to click the Save All Changes button.
Note: When an IP is blocked, the user will receive a generic error message as though the submission process failed.
Getting your forms working with FormBreeze is easy. You need to do two things: (1) Update your form HTML to work with FormBreeze. The form validation tool will do this for you automatically. (2) Specify the location of your form and its confirmation page in the FormBreeze Control Panel.
The form validation tool will automatically update your HTML code to work with FormBreeze. This saves you from having to do any manual HTML editing. However, if you prefer, you can also easily edit the code manually.
To use the form validation tool, you simply copy the HTML for your entire form page and then copy it into the box in panel 1 of the validation tool. Then click the Continue button and use the visual interface to add field validation to your form. Validation is very important if you want to be sure people enter correct data.
Finally, you continue to to panel #3 and copy the the new HTML code, which have been updated to include field validation and also to work with FormBreeze's form processing service.
How to get your forms working
How to edit your HTML manually to work with FormBreeze
Just set the action in your form tag as follows:
<form action="http://www.formbreeze.com/cgi-bin/process.cgi" ...
then add a hidden field like this: <input type="hidden" name="formbreeze" value="12345-1"> where 12345 is your 5-digit account ID and -1 is the number of the form form in the control panel. For standard accounts, this will be form 1,2 or 3. For Professional accounts the number will be from 1 to 10.
Be sure to use your 5-digit numeric account ID -- not your email address.
Those are the only changes you need to make to your form HTML.
If you don't want to add validation code to your form, you can still use the Field Validation Tool. In Panel 2, do not add any fields to validate. If you don't add any fields, no validation code will be added to your form, but the form processing changes will still be made.
Please check the list below for your specific problem. If you cannot find the solution here, please contact us at email@example.com.
I see a "Form Processing Error" page when I submit my Form.
There is most likely a problem with the HTML code for your form.
Look in your HTML code for the <form> tag. The code should look something like this:
<form method="POST" action="http://www.formbreeze.com/cgi-bin/process.cgi" onsubmit=" return formbreeze_sub()" name="form1">
<input type="hidden" name="formbreeze" value="12345-2">
Two common errors are (1) not having a valid account number (shown in red). This must be your FormBreeze account number, NOT an email address, etc, and (2) Not having a valid form number (shown in blue). The form number appears after the hyphen and indicates the form number in the Control Panel. For standard accounts, this will be form 1,2 or 3. For Professional accounts the number will be from 1 to 10.
After submitting my form, I get a page not found error, or I see a plain white page saying "Thank you. Your Form has been Submitted."
You have either not specified a confirmation page for your form, or you have entered the location incorrectly. The confirmation page is displayed after your form is submitted. The URL/location must match exactly. You may want to copy it from your browser's location bar to avoid typos. Be sure to click the Save All Changes button in the Control Panel after entering the location.
After submitting my form, I do not receive the emailed results (no email is received)
Double check that you have checked the box to have the results emailed to you and that the email address is correct in the Control Panel. Be sure to click the Save All Changes button in the Control Panel after making changes.
I receive an email with my form results, but it only lists the fields. The information I entered is not included.
If this happens you may get an email that looks something like this (your fields are there, but no data is present):
This is because you have entered a list of fields in the Optional: Fields to save box in the Control Panel, but you have not entered he field names correctly. When entering these names, you must enter the field name from the HTML exactly. Here is an example:
First Name: <input type="text" size="20" name="firstname">
Often people make the mistake of entering the red text "First Name". This is wrong. You must enter the blue text "firstname". This is the actual field name. This must match exactly for things to work.
If in doubt just leave this blank. Then things will work automatically.
My autoresponder message is not being sent when the form is submitted
Double check that you have checked the box to send an autoresonder.
Double check that the field name containing the visitor's email address is correct. This is "email" by default, but it must match the name of the field in your form exactly.
Be sure to click the Save All Changes button in the Control Panel after making changes.
When I view my saved data, it is not aligned properly. The number of columns seems to vary.
This is because you are using checkboxes in your form. You can solve this by specifying the fields to save. Please see the discussion here.
I am receiving spam or other annoying multiple submissions to my forms
You can prevent submissions from problem IP addresses.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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