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Guide: Collect Anonymous Attachments with MS Forms
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Mar 21, 2024 8:00 AM

Guide: Collect Anonymous Attachments with MS Forms

by HubSite 365 about Timo Pertilä (Forward Forever) [MVP]

Power Platform Consultant, Microsoft Business Applications MVP

Pro UserFormsLearning Selection

Unlock MS Forms Potential: Collect Attachments from Anonymous Users Easily!

Key insights


  • MS Forms is recognized for its simplicity and effectiveness but lacks in customization and editing capabilities.
  • Collecting attachments from anonymous users poses a challenge as MS Forms primarily allows submissions from organization's own users.
  • Timo Pertilä shared solutions to gather data and attachments from anonymous users utilizing SharePoint's document library and Flow automation.
  • Two methods are introduced: sharing a document library folder with a link and using SharePoint's "Request files" feature for more secure file collection.
  • Linking the collected attachments back to the form responses can be achieved by saving answers and attachment links in a database like Dataverse or SharePoint.

Collect Attachments in MS Forms From Anonymous Users

Microsoft Forms is an integral part of the Microsoft 365 suite, praised for its user-friendly interface and integration capabilities. However, a significant limitation is its inability to collect attachments from anonymous users directly through the form. This restriction hampers the tool's flexibility, especially for external data gathering or incident reporting scenarios where additional documentation may be required from individuals outside the organization.

Timo Pertilä from Forward Forever proposes solutions to circumvent this limitation. By creating a simple Forms to gather incident reports, users can indicate if they wish to attach documents. This triggers a follow-up email providing instructions for submitting attachments via SharePoint, utilizing the document library's sharing capabilities.

  • Setting up a document library on SharePoint for file collection.
  • Using Flow to automate the process once a form is submitted.
  • Creating a folder for each user, sharing it with a link that grants anonymous access.

To ensure that external users can upload documents, SharePoint site settings must allow for external file sharing. This methodology enables anonymous users to add attachments securely, preserving privacy and accessibility.

Additionally, an alternate method involves SharePoint's "Request files" feature, which simplifies the user experience but requires back-end setup via SharePoint API, as demonstrated by Nick DeCourcy.

  • Differences in user visibility between the two methods.
  • Requirement for enabling file sharing to unauthenticated users.
  • Linking uploaded files back to the form responses for easy organization.

Read the full article MS Forms – Collecting attachments from anonymous users



People also ask

Can Microsoft Forms collect anonymous responses?

To facilitate anonymous responses within Microsoft Forms, navigate to "More form settings" and deactivate the "Record name" function. This action enables respondents to submit their feedback while maintaining anonymity, offering a channel for candid employee insights without disclosure of identity.

Can you upload files to Microsoft Forms from people outside the organization?

Regarding the capability to upload files, this feature is restricted to internal organization use only, primarily due to data privacy concerns and to mitigate the risk of introducing malware through files from unknown sources.

Can Microsoft Forms take attachments?

In Microsoft Forms, it's possible to configure your surveys or quizzes to include questions that necessitate file uploads from respondents. By incorporating a specific question type dedicated to file attachments, respondents can easily attach the necessary files to their submissions.

Where are Microsoft Form attachments stored?

Attachments collected through Microsoft Forms are securely saved within the Microsoft OneDrive account belonging to the form's creator. Additionally, guidelines on managing and granting access to these attachments are provided, ensuring secure and efficient file handling.



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