A recent community blog at Grants.Gov entitled Diet Soda or Regular? Orange Juice or Apple? Webforms or PDFs? admits that choosing whether to use a webform or PDF (or both?) can be both confusing and daunting.
The accompanying training video - available here on YouTube and using some groovy 60's music - explains that there are three ways to complete grants applications forms within Workspace:
1) Complete forms on line (webforms);
2) Download PDFs of individual forms and complete them offline; or,
3) Reuse previous forms
So...how does one decide which way to go? The article provided the following direction.
WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO USE WEBFORMS
- When you fill out a webform, you only need to click the Webform link within your workspace and you can begin filling in data fields in your web browser. Because of this, webforms do require an internet connection.
- Webforms are easy to navigate.
- Data entered into webforms is automatically saved.
- When filling out webforms, the only offline files you need to keep track of are the attachments you will upload into a specific webform.
WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO USE FILLABLE PDFS
- When you fill out a PDF form, you only need to download the file to your computer and make sure you have a compatible version of Adobe’s software. One key benefit of using PDF forms is the ability to complete them offline.
- PDF forms can be easily shared over email with colleagues who do not have Grants.gov accounts.
- There’s also a comfort level that comes with filling in PDF files. The file format has been around for a long time, so many users are familiar with it.
Can't decide? Workspace allows switching back and forth between webforms and PDFs so team members used to working in one or the other can work together. "Both approaches will ultimately deliver the same data to the grant-making agency".
The training video also offers friendly reminders for each decision.
WHEN USING WEBFORMS
- Use the Sections Menu to jump to different parts of the form.
- Changes are auto-saved every five (5) minutes. Data and attachments are autosaved, but the webform is NOT updated the save button is clicked. Click the "SAVE" button often.
- Click the "Errors" button upon completion to receive a list of errors or missing data. A list will be provided that specify the errors and data field and in which section they are located.
- Decide for whom to lock or unlock the form.
- Always click the "Close" button when the form is complete.
WHEN USING FILLABLE PDFS
- ALWAYS lock the PDF first BEFORE making changes to prevent team members from inadvertently updating the form until the user is finished.
- Click the "Save" button to save the form to your computer before beginning work.
- After cd on the form.
- ompleting the PDF, click the "Save" button. Then click the "Check for Errors" button. Errors will be listed and outlined in reFix any fields that require attention and click "Save" one last time.
- Once all errors and fields are fixed, click the "Upload" link to put the form on your Workspace. NOTE: The "Upload" link will not be active on the form is locked by another user.
- Click the "Reuse" link. The next window will warn you that the selected form will be overwritten. This can not be undone.
- Search for the required form in the pop-up window. A preview link is available. "Select" the desired form and proceed. This will take you back to the Forms page.
- ***Warning*** Make sure your Adobe is updated and compatible.
To learn more about webforms and PDF forms, explore the related help articles in the Online User Guide.