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Use Google Docs to create a weekly football pick sheet

The forms function of Google Docs' spreadsheet app makes collecting a group's selections for each week's games a breeze.

The 2009 football season has arrived, and with it the need for somebody in the office to collect everyone's picks in the weekly football pool. Google Docs' forms function makes recording the pigskin prognostications as easy as siding with whoever's playing the Detroit Lions this week.

On the Google Docs main page, click New > Spreadsheet to open a blank worksheet. Click Form > Create a form to open the Edit form dialog. Give the form a name in the top text box. Type "Name" in the Question Title text box, choose Text in the Question Type drop-down menu, check "Make this a required question," and click Done. Now you'll know who's responsible for each set of picks.

Google Docs' Edit form dialog
Create a text box for football-pool members to enter their names. Google

Next, create a two-item multiple-choice "question" for each game in the pool. Click "Add item" in the top left and choose "Multiple choice." The Question Title field is required, so enter some identifying text, such as "Game 1." Choose "Multiple choice" in the Question Type drop-down menu. Enter the away team in the first option box and the home team in the second. Check "Make this a required question" and click Done.

Now click the Duplicate button in the top right (the double-sheet icon between the pencil and the trashcan) once for each game in the pool. Double-click the copied multiple-choice questions in succession, enter the away and home teams as options 1 and 2, respectively, over the copied teams, and click Done (the "Make this a required question" option should be checked automatically).

Google Docs Edit form dialog with duplicate questions
Copy a game "question" and change the title and multiple-choice options to complete the football pool. Google

Once you've entered the teams for each week's games, click the link at the bottom of the "Edit form" dialog to preview your game form.

Preview the game form
Preview your finished game form by clicking the link at the bottom of the Edit form dialog Google

When you finish creating a "question" for each game, open the resulting spreadsheet and click the Share button. Choose "Invite people" to open a dialog that lets you enter participants' e-mail addresses, add a message, and allow them to edit or merely view the worksheet. The "People with access" and "Advanced permissions" tabs give you even more sharing options.

Click "Get the link to share" to open a dialog from which you can copy the URL to send to pool members via e-mail or IM. Other share options let you e-mail the sheet as an attachment, publish it as a Web page, and change your notification settings.

If you don't like the form's plain-vanilla look, you can choose one of Google's canned themes for your form. You can also view the picks in a spreadsheet or summarized as pie charts, embed the form in a blog or Web site, and change the confirmation message.

By the way, you can try out the game questionnaire I created for this week's NFL games. Just make sure you make your picks before the Titans and Steelers kick off.