Feature Focus: Import Your Database with Reference Data

By keith bateman on January 12, 2017


Introducing: Reference Data

Speed up data collection with automated fields

When new users ask, “what makes GoCanvas so different than paper?”, I immediately point out Reference Data. The reason is that with paper, you are always stuck in 2nd gear filling out your form. There is no faster way to manually fill out a piece of paper unless you grow a 3rd arm. With Reference Data, you are instantly putting your employees into 5th gear by giving them access to your company catalogs and database from right within your mobile forms.

How it works

Reference data is a core feature that is available for all users of the GoCanvas platform. You simply upload a .CSV(Excel) file with the information you wish to connect to your mobile form(s) and use the App Builder to connect that datasheet to the relevant data fields. After this quick update has been made, your users will be able to dynamically pick from these values when filling our their mobile form.

For example, say your employee selects the value “John Doe” from a drop down field in the mobile form. By selecting “John Doe”, this will automatically populate the Address, City, State, and Zip Code fields that correspond to that specific value. Below is an example of the datasheet that would have been uploaded and connected to the mobile form.                                             Getting started with Reference Data


Best Use Cases

The great thing about Reference Data is that it can be applied to almost every industry and process.

The most popular use cases are:Getting started with Reference Data

  • Customer & Vendor Lists
  • Project Locations
  • Parts, Price, and Material Lists
  • County or State Tax Rates
  • Employee Names
  • Inspection Scoring

Each of the above would typically reside in an Excel sheet (like the one above), so Reference Data simply takes that data and makes it accessible through your mobile forms. No more carrying around spreadsheets or catalogs.


The first obvious benefit of using Reference Data is the time savings. Instead of having to look up and fill out multiple fields manually, you can simply just fill out a single field (usually a drop down) and have it automatically populate the rest of the form. This can easily save you 5-10 minutes per section compared to manually filling out each field.

The second benefit is data quality. When using Reference Data, you are eliminating the need for data lookup or hand typing. What this means is that since the information is being populated from a company spreadsheet, the likelihood of a misspelling or incorrect value is essentially eliminated. Therefore you no longer have to worry about things like incorrect client addresses or inaccurate service quotes since all the information is pulling directly from the corresponding spreadsheets.

Getting started with Reference Data

The third benefit is automated scoring and reporting. Many customers use Reference Data to create inspections with simple sometimes complex) scoring based on how each user fills out the form. This is most prevalent within inspection forms where you are reviewing a number of items and need to get a final score/rating.

Reference Data allows you to assign a numerical value like “1” every time an item is marked as “Pass” and then automatically total up each item into a final score. This scoring functionality not only allows you to get instant insight as soon as one of your employees fills out an inspection, but it also saves you the time of having to manually review each form and count up their score.

With automatic scoring, reporting is made a snap. Now a manager can receive a PDF report, see if it “Passed” or “Failed”, and immediately start making corrective actions if necessary.

Overall, Reference Data is for anyone looking to cut down on mistakes, speed up data capture, and increase the quality of their data. If you are not currently using this feature, reach out to Info@gocanvas.com to learn more!