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What's new in OpenForms


Post submission process improvements

We're actively investigating how to make our post-submission features like response workflow and custom documents even better. Some of the features we're looking at right now are ways to request information from respondents, and integrating Azure AD into workflows.

Connecting OpenForms to the apps you use most

We're working hard to connect OpenForms to essential applications like Esri ArcGIS and Microsoft Office365 SharePoint. Soon you'll be able to validate respondents' location data against Esri databases, and push OpenForms response data directly to SharePoint lists. 

Reach out, get involved

If you're interested in getting involved in any of the above or telling us how to best serve your needs, reach out. We're always excited to develop features in consultation with our customers.

6 JUNE, 2023

Validate location answers with Esri ArcGIS


We've improve the experience of location-specific forms with the new Esri ArcGIS connector.

Choose your location data

The Esri ArcGIS connector adds new functionality to the location field, by checking location answers against data in your organisation's Esri ArcGIS account. 

This data can include:

  • Council or city boundaries
  • Service areas
  • Smaller, bespoke lists like recreation areas

How residents benefit

Form authors using the Esri ArcGIS connector can opt to restrict answers to locations in their Esri datasets only.

This means residents from outside your city don't waste their time - and yours - requesting services you can't provide (like bin collection). 


Local residents, meanwhile, can quickly find specific places - like camp sites - by seeing only validated locations when they search.


The connector can even pull visual data like boundaries and points of interest from your Esri ArcGIS account, to help guide respondents. 


What you need to know

As the Esri ArcGIS connector leverages the location field, using it doesn't require extensive changes to existing forms. Once an admin has configured the connector, form authors can select it in their location field to start validating answers.

Admins can configure as many Esri ArcGIS connectors as form authors need, so your forms can cater to a variety of location specific scenarios.

This connector is a powerful enhancement to location-specific forms, available to all organisations on current (non-legacy) OpenForms Enterprise and Teams subscriptions. 

Not sure what subscription you're on? Reach out today.

That's not all

We haven't neglected continuous improvement while working on our headline feature. In addition to building the Esri ArcGIS connector, we've also improved the session timeout experience for all OpenForms users. 

Previously anyone using OpenForms was automatically logged out after 90 minutes of inactivity, without warning. Now, after 75 minutes, users are presented with a warning that they'll be logged out soon and an opportunity to extend their session. If they don't extend, they'll be logged out after 90 minutes as usual. 

As always, we've also been squashing all manner of bugs. Here's a few that some of you previously reached out about:

  • Previously, exported emails (such as .msg files) submitted using the file upload field could not be read by reviewers or reporters. This has been fixed now.

  • Previously, if respondents removed every instance of a repeatable group in a form, that form would crash. This has been fixed.

  • Previously, bulk exports of responses to forms containing snippets were prone to failure. They export successfully now. 

  • Answers to email fields piped into notifications, reminders, and other automated emails could previously contain random, unexplained spaces. No longer. Phew! 

Sunsetting older version of do it yourself integrations

One final update of note, regarding older versions of do-it-yourself integrations:

From December 2023, we will only support version 4 (or later) data connections and OpenForms API keys. 

As of this release, your developers are no longer be able to create version 1, 2, or 3 data connections or OpenForms API keys. 

Existing data connections and API keys using these older versions will keep working for now, but we'll be ending support for them in December 2023.

We anticipate fully phasing those integration versions out in June 2024, at which point they'll stop working entirely. 

If you're using older versions now, you'll need to update your data connections, API keys, and middleware by June 2024 to avoid interruptions.

We will reach out multiple times before then, but if you want to talk further now, get in touch with our support staff. 

20 MAY, 2023

As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we’ve made updates to OpenForms across the board.

  • We’ve updated how number field values are displayed. In our last major release, we introduced commas to long number values (like 1,234,000) to make them easier to read. Many of you reached out to tell us you're using number fields to collect data like phone numbers and postcodes, so we’ve made that function optional. If you’d like to add commas to number values, you can do so in the field settings for number fields. (It’s on by default for calculations and payment fields).
  • We've improved the answer piping experience when piping content from standard, repeatable, and office use only groups. Those fields are now easier to identify in answer piping dropdowns. We've also made it easier to pipe form content into email subject lines by displaying a dropdown menu as soon as you initiate piping by typing "{{".
  • Repeatable groups that respondents have left unanswered are now piped into custom documents as blank values (previously, placeholder text was piped into these fields).
  • We’ve updated the styling for the default response PDF to make fields like standard and repeatable groups, checkboxes, and matrices easier to read.
  • We’ve tightened up how printable forms work, too. Now if you use lists to populate fields like dropdown, checkboxes or ranks, these will be displayed properly.
  • We’ve changed the styling on text field character limits so if you’re using these, they no longer appear as red text to respondents (which might read as an error on their part). Character limits are now displayed in a more neutral black font.

6 MARCH, 2023

Sign on the dotted line (and more) with office use only groups



At OpenForms, we've always worked hard to move paper-based processes online and bring disparate online processes together.

Now we're taking another major step with office use only groups.

Fully integrated into workflows 

Office use only groups let reviewers complete their own dedicated form fields as responses move through a workflow. 

Reviewer's answers to those fields become part of the responses they've actioned. 

Like all response data, office use only information is:

  • Visible to subsequent reviewers
  • Exportable
  • Ready to pipe into custom documents

Export and archive

To help you archive the data you collect from residents and reviewers, we've also overhauled our bulk export tools.


Now response records - complete with office use only data and custom documents  - are easier than ever to export and archive using the new exports area.

Making sense of numbers

While we've been working on this major feature, we've also made a small adjustment to how OpenForms displays answers to number, payment, and calculation fields.

This numeric data now uses commas to make big numbers like 1,234,567 easier to read when viewing responses (though still hard to count on your fingers).

This is a quality of life visual-only change. Your numeric data is still stored without commas in response data, so calculations and third party connections can work with it just like they always did. 
As always, if you're collecting data like postcodes or phone numbers, it's best to use a text field. This will retain zeros at the start of data like Australian phone numbers, and besides, commas can look a little strange in phone numbers. 

Ready to go?

Office use only groups are a powerful new feature that makes OpenForms even more of a one-stop-shop for managing interactions with your residents and staff.

If you need to:

  • Add a signature to a permit approval
  • Upload additional files to a submitted response
  • Add receipt numbers from other internal systems

Then office use only groups are for you.

Best of all, if your organization is on an up to date Enterprise plan, office use only groups are included in your at no extra cost.

Thinking of upgrading your plan or moving up from a Legacy subscription? Chat with us now about this and other great features in the pipeline for OpenForms Enterprise.

30 JANUARY, 2023

Quality-of-life improvements to OpenForms, focussing on repeatable groups and security. 

Repeatable groups

A highlight of our last major release, repeatable groups are a huge time saver for form authors looking to collect repetitive data. We've made a couple of small improvements to this big new feature.

  • You can now pipe fields from repeatable groups into custom documents just like any other supported field. This means your organization can create branded records of itemized receipts, multiple contact details, and more. 
  • We’ve also increased the character limit for repeatable group labels. We’d previously capped this at 15 characters to keep labels on one line in mobile view. We’ve seen that that’s a bit too short for many scenarios. Now you’ve got 35 characters and two lines in mobile view to play with.


As always, security is front of mind at OpenForms. In addition to our constant back-end improvements and bug-fixes, here's a couple of changes you'll be able to see in-product:

  • We’ve increased the minimum acceptable complexity of new or updated OpenForms passwords.
  • We've given account owners the option to allow OpenForms support staff to access your organisation's responses.

    Access to responses can be useful in a variety of help scenarios, and previously our superstar customer success staff could see these by default. We've now given you the option to allow this as needed. (We'll let you know if we need access).
  • While adding the support access feature, we've taken the opportunity to spruce up the Account > Security page to make other settings easier to understand. 

Bug fixes

We've been squashing bugs with our usual fervour. Here's some of the juicier ones:

  • A change in how Google implemented analytics tags was preventing users from accessing analytics data. You can now access that data again. 
  • Oganizations with lots of workflow data couldn't access the Insights page because of a timeout. They can now view it normally. 
  • Previously, bulk exports of form responses packaged with respondent uploads could result in a database timeout error. This has been fixed. 
  • Occasionally, text in section descriptions would be reformatted as links when form authors saved their work. Section descriptions (accessible in the section field settings) work normally now. 

23 NOVEMBER, 2022

This month, we're introducing a feature that improves the OpenForms author and respondent experience. Say hello to groups


standard (1).png


Groups - available as standard or repeatable types - are a way of collecting fields together. Using groups, form authors can:

  • Apply settings like display logic to all the fields in a group as a whole
  • Move, copy, and delete collections of fields quickly and easily

Think of these as smaller, more flexible sections. (You can nest groups in sections, too).

Groups for all occasions

Standard groups

Standard groups give form authors all the content-organization benefits of sections, in a smaller, more flexible package. Authors can use these to more quickly create great forms by applying detailed settings to multiple fields at a time, and move content around in a flash.

Repeatable groups

Repeatable groups are a game changer for form authors working with repetitive data. When fields are collected together in a repeatable group, OpenForms automatically generates additional copies of that group as the respondent requires.

repeatable (1).png


For form authors, this saves a huge amount of time laying out the individual fields needed to collect repetitive data.

Respondents, meanwhile, get the benefit of forms that are broken up into easier to understand chunks, so long forms are less overwhelming. 

Where groups shine

Standard groups are applicable to any kind of form that your form authors might want to organize more effectively. 

We've designed repeatable groups to make collecting particular types of data so much easier. 

If your forms need to collect these sort of data, repeatable groups are a must have:

  • Multiple contact details (like referees)
  • Itemized expenses
  • Time sheets

What you need to know

Being a change to how fields are organised, groups can have some significant flow-on effects to how forms work. Don't worry - the presence of groups in your OpenForms toolkit doesn't affect how current forms work. But before your organization starts adding groups to forms, it's worth getting across how these interact with features like:

Follow any of the links above to learn how standard and repeatable groups work with these advanced OpenForms features.

11 JULY, 2022

Keeping OpenForms secure and performant with improvements and bug fixes.

Piped content from hidden fields now displays properly 

Previously, data piped from fields set to "always hidden" into other areas of a form - like field labels and content fields - would not be visible to residents in the PDF they can receive after submission. This useful functionality for behind-the-scenes date and numerical calculations (among other things) has now been fixed. Piped data from hidden fields is still visible to respondents as they answer forms, and is now showing in their default response PDF. 

We've clarified what happens when you update a form

Sometimes, a respondent answers a form right at the moment that a form author updates it. This normally results in the respondent being prompted to save their progress and reload the form, so they are answering the most current version of the form without losing their progress. If the form author has disabled the ability for respondents to save their progress, we've removed reference to saving their work. They'll have to reload and start from scratch. 

Security and performance improvements

As always, we've been performing regular security checkups of OpenForms. Our most recent penetration test uncovered some minor areas for improvement around inactivity logouts. In response, we've reduced the window for login expirations when a user is inactive from 3 hours to 1.5. We've also tidied up a couple of cookies and database queries to speed up the admin experience. 

18 MAY, 2022

We’re keeping the OpenForms house in order with some improvements and bug fixes. Some of these are long awaited feature improvements that we’re excited to bring you at last, to help you succeed and serve your residents and staff better.

Feature updates:

  • Ask respondents to confirm their email address to ensure they’ve spelt it correctly. This setting will be available in the settings for the Email field.
  • We’ve tweaked the appearance of Text field settings. It’s been possible for form authors to configure Text fields to appear to respondents as multi-line inputs for a while. This is a great way of suggest an appropriate response length. We’ve noticed not many of you were using this, so we’ve made this setting easier to understand. 

  • Dynamically calculate dates based on information respondents have previously provided. With this enhancement to the Date field, you’ll be able to use a respondent’s answer to a previous date field to dynamically generate additional dates. For example - the date that they’ll be eligible for a booster shot based on when they received their last covid vaccine. Find this feature in the settings for Date fields.

Important bug fixes

  • Previously, paragraph breaks were ignored when piping Text fields into custom documents. (So long responses would be displayed as one long paragraph, even if respondents had broken them up when entering information). This has been fixed now, and text will be piped into documents the way respondents entered it. 
  • The “test” mode for the SecurePay payment gateway works properly now, and we’ve added a “test” mode for eWAY too.

23 MARCH, 2022

We’re rolling out a major improvement to help you integrate OpenForms with the rest of your IT systems. Say hello to the Azure AD connector. 

Azure AD.png

If your organisation is one of many that uses Microsoft Azure AD to manage staff access to systems like Office365, you'll soon be able to take advantage of Microsoft’s user management and login tools to centralize and streamline the management of OpenForms users. 

Use this premium connector to:

  • Speed up onboarding by automatically creating OpenForms accounts and assigning roles like account owner, admin, and reviewer to any staff members in particular Azure AD user groups.
  • Centralize and automate staff management. As your staff move between positions in your organization, simply move users between Azure AD user groups to seamlessly give them all the OpenForms permissions they need for their job (and none that they don’t). This can even include workspace assignments. When staff move on from your organization, deactivating their profile in Azure AD will automatically deactivate their OpenForms account.
  • Take advantage of Microsoft’s login processes. Once managed through the connector, users login to OpenForms with the same the Microsoft SSO credentials they use for other Azure AD-managed systems in your organization, like Office365. Managed through Azure AD, these credentials support two factor authentication, login auditing, password cycling and more. 

Who this connector is for

If you already use Azure AD to manage an OpenCities site, this connector is included in your Enterprise plan. (You’ll just need to configure it for OpenForms).

For all other organizations, including those on legacy Enterprise plans, contact our customer success team to discuss how this connector can extend and streamline your OpenForms experience.

This is a two-stage release

To lay the groundwork for this connector, we’ve made a few changes to the way OpenForms works. 

The following updates are live as of March 23, 2022.

  • Organizations can now have multiple account owners. These high-level users will retain their previous permissions, and gain the ability to assign OpenForms roles to Azure AD user groups through the connector. We'll also be updating how billing notifications work: invoices and receipts will be sent to all of your organization's account owners, but in the event of any issues, we'll reach out to a primary billing contact.
  • We’ve improved workspace administration. We’ve tightened up workspace settings to be easier to use and more consistent with the rest of OpenForms. Workspace admins will automatically gain author and reporter access to forms in their workspaces, just like they do elsewhere in OpenForms. (Don’t worry, you can still fine-tune access to sensitive responses with form-level permissions). Once the Azure AD connector goes live, you’ll be able to add Azure AD user groups to workspaces as well.
  • We’ve updated how user quotas work. Just a heads up - it will be possible to exceed your user quota with external user management systems like Azure AD. We’ve made sure you can still access mission-critical tools like response exports and review workflows in the event that this happens. 
  • Character limits are communicated to respondents. If you've set a character limit for a text field, OpenForms will now show and dynamically update that limit as respondents fill out your form, so they always know how many characters they have to work with. 
  • Duplicate individual fields. Previously, when using the form builder, you could only duplicate whole sections of your form. Now you can duplicate individual fields, too. 
  • Filter users by role and status. We've updated the user listing to make it easier to search large organizations. 

Shortly after release, once we've ticked off a final checklist with Microsoft, the Azure AD connector itself will go live.

We’ll let you know when you can start taking advantage of this powerful new feature, but in the meantime, why not familiarize yourself with how the Azure AD connector works so you can plan your implementation with your IT team and hit the ground running.

17 FEBRUARY, 2022

As we put the finishing touches on our Microsoft Azure AD connector - due for release this quarter - we’re bringing you some of the little improvements and updates you’ve been calling out for in OpenForms. 

Here’s what's new in our 17 February 2022 update:

  • An improvement to the accessibility and readability of error messages in your forms. We're making it easier for respondents to distinguish between error, warning, and confirmation messages by adding an icon to error messages.
  • We've built prototypes for Esri and Sharepoint integrations and we’d love your feedback! Check out the links below to learn more:
  • The date and time in submission details should now match the selected timezone for your organization. Previously,  a small handful of locations were still using the system timezone, causing particular confusion in emails.
  • The button to generate a link for printable PDFs of a form now works properly.

We've also continued to put work into improving the security, performance and usability of OpenForms along with many other minor fixes and improvements to keep everything running smoothly.

6 DECEMBER, 2021

We've been hard at work rebuilding the connectors area to make it easier to do more with OpenForms. Say hello to the integrations area.

Screenshot of the new Connectors library, a filterable list of in-built integrations available in OpenForms

Here you'll find our new connectors library: a searchable, filterable gallery of ready-made connectors that we'll be continually adding to in upcoming releases.

Each connector in the library now includes a list of features and a setup guide so you know exactly how they extend OpenForms.


This release we've added a new payment gateway for all clients - Authorize.net.

As always, we've included continuous improvements across the board. Check out the list below.

  • round() A new function for the Calculation field to help round values up or down depending on the number of decimal places you need. We still have the roundup() and rounddown() functions available too
  • Performance improvements when respondents are filling out large forms that use smart logic
  • Security enhancements for Location fields and the antivirus scanner used for checking files uploaded by respondents
  • The verification process for email addresses used to send mail from OpenForms to staff an respondents has been revised with a two-step process to improve the security of email use.
    You'll also notice when setting up a new form that you can select from a drop-down of pre-approved addresses within your organization that already in use in other forms, ensuring spelling mistakes are a thing of the past.
  • Custom Documents now handle SVG files properly, Signature fields no work correctly again and text styles applied to fields in templates are now kept when generating files
  • When submitting a form in Test mode, the redirection on form submit will now work correctly instead of resulting in a blank iframe
  • Data Connections triggered on drop-down and radio button fields using the "Other" option will now correctly re-trigger when the respondent interacts with the textbox to type their 'other' option, similar to triggering on any other textbox field

18 AUGUST, 2021

Over the past couple of months, we've been working to bring you a range of improvements across the display and building experience of OpenForms.

Resident experience

Matrix fields

Checkbox and radio-button matrix fields now have flexible column widths so that content isn't squashed into narrow spaces and words don't break in the middle. Learn more about how you can then create graphs and analyse form responses using Microsoft Excel, even for complex fields such as checkbox, rank and matrix fields.

Screenshot example of a radio button matrix field

Form buttons

The Save, Back and Continue/Submit buttons are much more responsive to empty space when the Save option isn't enabled on your forms and have a few accessibility bonuses built in as well

The buttons are now much more accessible to users, especially on mobile devices which have smaller screens.

  • The tabbing order has been updated to focus on the Continue/Submit button first as this is the most common action
  • When the Save button isn't showing on your form there won't be a gap left behind between the Continue/Submit and Back buttons

Theme versioning

The matrix fields and button changes described above mightn't work  with custom CSS if you’ve been adjusting the appearance of matrix fields or buttons yourself, so to reduce the risk of unexpected styling changes, we’re introducing these changes in a new version of the base OpenForms theme that custom themes are built on.

Any of your themes that utilize CSS or an external CSS stylesheet will be kept on the previous base theme for now, while all other themes will be updated to receive our latest style and accessibility improvements.

When you're ready, you can update your themes to use the latest base theme after you've tested out your CSS and defused any style conflicts. We'll highlight the themes in your account that need your attention.

Screenshot example of the theme admin screen for a theme that needs to be updated from version 1 to version 2


Creating forms

Form listing

We’ve introduced a view toggle to the dashboard forms listing. Now you can toggle between the current full detail view of your forms, and a slimmed-down view displaying only the most important information.

Form building

We’ve gone over the form builder, admin, and connectors areas to tighten up their styling and make it easier for users to interact with certain components.

  • Adding sections to a form is now even easier - simply drag and drop sections to your desired position instead of adding to the bottom of a form.
  • We’ve improved the behaviour of collapsed sections (useful when navigating very long forms). Now they stay collapsed when you click save, but re-open automatically if you leave the form and come back.
  • As of this update, you can quickly assign bold, italic and underline styles or add/edit a link in the WYSIWYG editor (as seen in content fields and elsewhere) by using the standard Windows or Mac keyboard shortcuts.
  • The save and publish process for complex, long forms has been improved to ensure form version issues don't occur
  • Saving form settings is now much faster as you edit and save each section as you go instead of saving the full form on every click

Building workflows and custom documents

Response Workflow

Submission date and time information, and when a form entered a workflow step can now be piped into reminder notifications

The date and time a form response was submitted is now available in all email templates, including those in form settings. Check out more details on piping

Custom Documents

Location fields can now be mapped to custom document templates. Learn more about mapping your templates

We've fixed an issue with payment and calculation fields that are set to output as currency - they will now output with the correct (two) decimal places. You'll see $10.50 instead of $10.5

For developers building integrations

A new version of Data Connections is now available, bringing the JSON format more in line with our Web API output, keeping everything consistent

The Web API has a small enhancement to now include the external ID that is configured on form fields when retrieving form response data

2 MAY, 2021

We're working hard to help you go beyond our default response PDF and present form data the way you need it. With custom documents you can generate official records and other documents automatically from OpenForms responses.

Three samples of custom documents with Point Russell branding

Use this feature to pipe data straight into documents like tax receipts, permit certificates, and standardized letters – or match the layout of paper forms to file away paper and online submissions together.

Some types of files are best used upon form submission while others are better suited during workflow

Custom documents are generated automatically when they're attached to response and workflow emails, so the people that need these official records get them when they need them.

Ready to start creating custom documents? Watch our training webinar to get started.

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