How to Create Google Forms file upload

Update: Google Forms can now upload files. Google Forms had the capability to upload files.

This solution does not use Google Forms. This is an example of using an Apps Script Web App, which is very different than a Google Form. A Web App is basically a website, but you can’t get a domain name for it. This is not a modification of a Google Form, which can’t be done to upload a file.

NOTE: I did have an example of both the UI Service and HTML Service, but have removed the UI Service example, because the UI Service is deprecated.

NOTE: The only sandbox setting available is now IFRAME. I you want to use an onsubmit attribute in the beginning form tag: <form onsubmit="myFunctionName()">, it may cause the form to disappear from the screen after the form submission.

If you were using NATIVE mode, your file upload Web App may no longer be working. With NATIVE mode, a form submission would not invoke the default behavior of the page disappearing from the screen. If you were using NATIVE mode, and your file upload form is no longer working, then you may be using a “submit” type button. I’m guessing that you may also be using the “google.script.run” client side API to send data to the server. If you want the page to disappear from the screen after a form submission, you could do that another way. But you may not care, or even prefer to have the page stay on the screen. Depending upon what you want, you’ll need to configure the settings and code a certain way.

If you are using a “submit” type button, and want to continue to use it, you can try adding event.preventDefault(); to your code in the submit event handler function. Or you’ll need to use the google.script.run client side API.

A custom form for uploading files from a users computer drive, to your Google Drive can be created with the Apps Script HTML Service. This example requires writing a program, but I’ve provide all the basic code here.

This example shows an upload form with Google Apps Script HTML Service.

What You Need

  1. Google Account
  2. Google Drive
  3. Google Apps Script – also called Google Script

Google Apps Script

There are various ways to end up at the Google Apps Script code editor.

  1. Load Apps Script directly from the web address: https://script.google.com
  2. Open a Google Sheet first, then open Apps Script
  3. Go to your Google Drive, then Open Apps Script: https://drive.google.com/drive/#my-drive
  4. Go to your Google Drive, then click on an Apps Script project file
  5. Open Apps Script from Google Docs
  6. etc

I mention this because if you are not aware of all the possibilities, it could be a little confusing. Google Apps Script can be embedded in a Google Site, Sheets, Docs or Forms, or used as a stand alone app.

Apps Script Overview

This example is a “Stand Alone” app with HTML Service.

HTML Service – Create a web app using HTML, CSS and Javascript

Google Apps Script only has two types of files inside of a Project:

  1. Script
  2. HTML

Script files have a .gs extension. The .gs code is a server side code written in JavaScript, and a combination of Google’s own API.

  1. Copy and Paste the following code
  2. Save It
  3. Create the first Named Version
  4. Publish it
  5. Set the Permissions and you can start using it.

Start by:

  1. Create a new Blank Project in Apps Script
  2. Copy and Paste in this code:

Upload a file with HTML Service:

Code.gs file (Created by Default)

//For this to work, you need a folder in your Google drive named:
// 'For Web Hosting'
// or change the hard coded folder name to the name of the folder
// you want the file written to

function doGet(e) {
  return HtmlService.createTemplateFromFile('Form')
    .evaluate() // evaluate MUST come before setting the Sandbox mode
    .setTitle('Name To Appear in Browser Tab')
    .setSandboxMode();//Defaults to IFRAME which is now the only mode available
}

function processForm(theForm) {
  var fileBlob = theForm.picToLoad;

  Logger.log("fileBlob Name: " + fileBlob.getName())
  Logger.log("fileBlob type: " + fileBlob.getContentType())
  Logger.log('fileBlob: ' + fileBlob);

  var fldrSssn = DriveApp.getFolderById(Your Folder ID);
    fldrSssn.createFile(fileBlob);

  return true;
}

Create an html file:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<base target="_top">
</head>
<body>
<h1 id="main-heading">Main Heading</h1>
<br/>
<div id="formDiv">

<form id="myForm">

<input name="picToLoad" type="file" /><br/>
<input type="button" value="Submit" onclick="picUploadJs(this.parentNode)" />

</form>
</div>

<div id="status" style="display: none">
<!-- div will be filled with innerHTML after form submission. -->
Uploading. Please wait...
</div>

</body>
<script>

function picUploadJs(frmData) {

document.getElementById('status').style.display = 'inline';

google.script.run
.withSuccessHandler(updateOutput)
.processForm(frmData)
};
// Javascript function called by "submit" button handler,
// to show results.

function updateOutput() {

var outputDiv = document.getElementById('status');
outputDiv.innerHTML = "The File was UPLOADED!";
}

</script>
</html>
  

This is a full working example. It only has two buttons and one <div> element, so you won’t see much on the screen. If the .gs script is successful, true is returned, and an onSuccess function runs. The onSuccess function (updateOutput) injects inner HTML into the div element with the message, “The File was UPLOADED!”

  1. Save the file, give the project a name
  2. Using the menu: FileManage Version then Save the first Version
  3. PublishDeploy As Web App then Update

When you run the Script the first time, it will ask for permissions because it’s saving files to your drive. After you grant permissions that first time, the Apps Script stops, and won’t complete running. So, you need to run it again. The script won’t ask for permissions again after the first time.

The Apps Script file will show up in your Google Drive. In Google Drive you can set permissions for who can access and use the script. The script is run by simply providing the link to the user. Use the link just as you would load a web page.

NOTES about deprecated UI Service:

There is a difference between the UI Service, and the Ui getUi() method of the Spreadsheet Class (Or other class) The Apps Script UI Service was deprecated on Dec. 11, 2014. It will continue to work for some period of time, but you are encouraged to use the HTML Service.

Google Documentation – UI Service

Even though the UI Service is deprecated, there is a getUi() method of the spreadsheet class to add custom menus, which is NOT deprecated:

Spreadsheet Class – Get UI method

I mention this because it could be confusing because they both use the terminology UI.

The UI method returns a Ui return type.

You can add HTML to a UI Service, but you can’t use a <button><input> or <script> tag in the HTML with the UI Service.

Here is a link to a shared Apps Script Web App file with an input form:

Shared File – Contact Form

Written By:

Sarmad Gardezi A blog scientist by Mind and a Passionate Blogger by heart. Sarmad is Freelancer, Entrepreneur and Google Apps Scripts Developer from Islamabad, Pakistan.

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