5 Easy Ways to Automate Your Business Forms Using Reference Data

By keith bateman on May 26, 2016

One of the most powerful(and underutilized) features of GoCanvas is Reference Data. Reference Data gives you the ability to automate business forms to streamline business processes; simply take an Excel based list (.CSV) of values and populate them into your GoCanvas forms. So instead of having to manually type in the value of every field like you would have to if you were still using paper forms, you can now select from a pre-populated drop down based on the Excel sheet you imported into GoCanvas!

The best part about Reference Data is that you can directly connect the columns of data from your Excel sheet to the fields in your GoCanvas form, meaning that if you select a value from Column A:2 it will automatically populate B:2, C:2, D:2, etc. If you have more questions about setting up Reference Data to automate business processes and simplify data entry, click here to learn more.  

(Highlighted to illustrate how Reference Data can connect data in your app)


Top 5 Ways to Use Reference Data

  • Customer/Project Lists – Just like in the example image above, loading a list of customers into GoCanvas can save you and your users a lot of time when filling out your apps. Simply by selecting a Drop Down list in the app, your users can have access to your customer database and simply select the customer in which they are servicing. Once selected, this will auto-populate the address, city, state, and zip code of the customer automatically! This will ensure speed, accuracy and data validation every time. You can easily export a customer list from Quickbooks(or other software system) as a base file to creating your customer or project Reference Data file!
  • Material Lists – The best way to ensure that the right pieces of equipment are ordered, inventoried, or documented is by loading the exact list right into your app! The example below shows how easy it is to load the details of each material into your spreadsheet before you import it into GoCanvas. Material lists also can help with accurately calculating jobs costs because we can use the Calculation & Summary functions of GoCanvas to pull to the price of all materials used automatically. Improve your small business operations today!

  • Service Lists – Importing lists of your available services is extremely valuable because it allows your users to quickly provide quotes, generate invoices or complete work orders with accurate, real-time information. No longer does an employee have to carry around a catalog book or give a rough estimate on the cost of a job, but they will now be able to show the customer the actual cost of services and have the customer digitally sign right on the device for each order form.  

  • Employee Lists – Many GoCanvas apps are used just to track employee activities, whether they be time, labor, safety certification, etc. Instead of having an employee fill in all their information(see below) every single time, what if they could simply select their name? Then they could log just their time and submit it to the office! Or if a Safety Supervisor is performing a site inspection and observes a violation, he/she can quickly pull up the employees name/info and  submit the information in real-time without delay. This is gold for a business owner. 


  • Scoring/Rating Lists – One of the most popular ways to use Reference Data is to import scoring criteria right into your GoCanvas apps! This applies to almost every industry imaginable! Building automatic scoring into your app allows you to focus just on doing your job and not having to worry about totally up all the “Pass/Fails” or “Good/Bads” that appear on your 100 point inspection. Using Reference Data, you can use the Summary function and have GoCanvas tabulate  the total score for your app so you can automatically see what your score is when you are done! It is 100% accurate, fast, and easily updatable whenever the scoring criteria is updated.


Want to learn more about Reference Data or GoCanvas?