The Unofficial Top 10 GoCanvas Features for a #Paperless Paradise

By Jason Good on February 4, 2013

Top TenDavid Letterman has done his top ten list for decades which has spawned a “go to” topic for bloggers and journalists everywhere that need a theme for their article.  Since we haven't used this theme yet, I figured it was time we jumped on the bandwagon!  What do GoCanvas subscribers love the most about GoCanvas?  Why do businesses and organizations rave about GoCanvas and all of the time it saves them compared to using paper forms?  I'm glad you asked.  Here are my top ten features based on my experience in helping hundreds of businesses go #paperless!

10. Export Data

Any data you capture with GoCanvas can be exported as a CSV file.  The data is divided by GoCanvas app.  So if you have a work order app within GoCanvas and a time card app within GoCanvas then you can export just your work order data or you can export just your time card data.  Or both!  Want two weeks worth of time card data?  Just go right online to the GoCanvas website and export it.  No more wasted time manually entering employee time card information from paper forms into Excel so you can add up everyone's time.  You could upload the data right into your own accounting system, too.  Most systems will allow an import of a CSV file.

9. PDF Visible

This is a hidden gem at GoCanvas!  Whenever I point this out to subscribers they offer me their first born and all kinds of other wonderful things.  This feature allows you to control what fields within your GoCanvas app are displayed on the GoCanvas PDF that can be emailed to customers and colleagues.  Perhaps you want to capture data while on-site with a customer but don't want that data to show up in the PDF.  No problem!  Just set the “PDF Visible” option for those fields to “Never”.  Or maybe you have calculations in your app that are necessary to quote a price, but you don't need your customers to see how you're calculating your prices. Again, set the “PDF Visible” option for those calculation fields to “Never”.  Or maybe you just don't want fields you leave blank to show up on your PDF.  Why show a customer a bunch of blank, un-used fields like you do with paper forms???  Just set the “PDF Visible” option for all of your fields to “If value present (value not blank)”.  Voila!  Only fields that have data in them will show up on the GoCanvas PDF!

8. Search Submissions

New subscribers to GoCanvas always wonder what happens to their data.  Well, it is stored safely and securely (Data is encrypted at all times) on our servers.  And it is accessible anytime via the GoCanvas website to our subscribers.  They can log in and click on the “Submissions” area.  The data is divided by app (As mentioned above) so they can then click on the particular GoCanvas app they want to search.  Then there is a search box and they can type in any word they want (For example, a customer name.) and any submission with that term in it will come back.  Or they can use our advanced search capability to search by any specific field in that particular GoCanvas app (Like the “Customer Name” field.).  They can easily see which employee submitted the data along with the time and date.  Let GoCanvas worry about storing all of your data and just jump online to search for it when you need to put your hands on it.  It is right there waiting for you anytime!

7. Save Submission

When using your customized GoCanvas apps on your mobile device, you can save a submission in the middle of it and come back to it later.  You can save as many submissions within as many separate GoCanvas apps as you like (Based on your device's storage capacity) and complete them later when you have time.  Your customer doesn't want to stand there while you fill in your data, right?  Just like you might fill out your paperwork later in the truck, you can do the same with GoCanvas.  Just save it and open it later to finish.  Or maybe you have to start filling out a new form while in the middle of another one… no problem!  Save the one you're on and open another one.  You can find the “Save” option by hitting the “Menu” button within GoCanvas on your mobile device.  Try it!

6. Reference Data

This feature is mega-powerful (That is a word, right?)!  This allows you to upload a customer list or a price list and auto-populate fields from that list.  Do your folks out in the field price things out incorrectly on paper?  I thought so.  Our subscribers can upload their price list and their users can then choose a service/part/material from that list and have the associated price auto-populate in a “Price” field.  That “Price” field can be a “Read Only” field, too, so the user can't change that price.  This will bring continuity to your pricing and will prevent your services from being priced incorrectly.  Plus, if your price list is really long your users might have to go back to the office and spend an hour putting an estimate together.  Yikes!  GoCanvas subscribes can generate estimates right on the spot even if their price list contains thousands of items. Reference data rocks and will save your users a ton of time entering data that you already know!

5. Auto-Email GoCanvas PDF

Why ask your users in the field to type in the email address of your accounting office each time they need to email their time card data in?  Or maybe your sales manager wants a copy of any estimates completed out in the field as soon as they are done?  A very common question from GoCanvas subscribers is “Can I automatically email my data to certain addresses?”  Yes!  For each GoCanvas app in your account (You can have as many as you want!) you can configure “Email Options” that allow you to program in email addresses that will receive a copy of your data each time that particular app is used.  Your user doesn't have to remember (Because you know he or she won't anyway!) to email all time cards to GoCanvas will do it automatically for you each time.  No more delays chasing down time cards!

4. Pictures (Image Capture)

Taking pictures and inserting them into your PDF document is hugely popular here at GoCanvas.  Lots of businesses call us and tell us these gut-wrenching stories about returning to their office after a long day's work out in the field and still facing an hour or two of work creating reports or estimates or inspections or other documents.  They have to download images they captured on their digital camera or mobile phone.  They have to open an Excel or Word template. They have to type in all of the data they captured on paper into that template.  They then have to place the images into those documents.  It takes hours!!  We cringe every time we hear this.  If you're doing this today, please stop.  Let us lead you to a #paperless paradise where you can spend this time doing something worthwhile like having dinner with your family or pounding golf balls at the range.  Heck, do more work, but do work that is going to make your more money!

3. Signature Capture

We have plenty of GoCanvas subscribers who solely use us to capture signatures on their mobile devices.  We have a ton of businesses using GoCanvas for waiver forms.  We have paddle board companies, horseback companies, <a href=''>bounce house waivers</a> and much more using GoCanvas to capture signatures electronically on waiver forms.  The waivers are all stored on GoCanvas and are easily “searchable” in case they are needed.  You just sign right on the screen with your finger and you're done.  But work orders, estimates, change orders, time cards, expense reports and all kinds of things require signatures.  We've got you covered on this one!

2. Email PDF

This one might seem obvious but lots of people new to GoCanvas ask us if they can email the information they collect to whomever they wish.  Why yes, yes you can!  Any data you collect with GoCanvas can be emailed right away (As long as you have a connection to the Internet) once you upload it to GoCanvas.  The data is placed onto a PDF document that is attached to that email.  Your logo can be placed at the top of the PDF.  You can customize the header, too.  There are all kinds of things you can do to customize the standard GoCanvas PDF.  We even can completely customize the document to match your existing paper form.  Our subscribers really love that one, too.  But your user in the field can specify an email address (Your client's address for example) right on their mobile device.   Or as you read in #5 you can program in addresses that will automatically get it.  You can even remove the email option altogether so your user can't share the data with anyone (But you could still auto-email it!).  But emailing an electronic document is very popular amongst our subscribers. 

1. The GoCanvas App Builder

The #1 feature of GoCanvas by far is our powerful App Builder.  This tool allows our subscribers to edit their GoCanvas apps (Work orders, invoices, expense reports, inspections, waivers, or whatever else you're doing with paper forms today!) anytime they wish.  It is a drag and drop tool built into the GoCanvas website so anyone with a little bit of computer skills can do it.  You can add text boxes, check boxes, value lists (drop-downs), image capture fields, signature fields, calculations and much more to your GoCanvas app.  You can label these fields whatever you wish.  And there are tons of features (Like #3, #4, #6, and #9 above!) within this tool that allow you to customize your GoCanvas apps for how YOU do business.  You can build as many separate GoCanvas apps as you want and edit them whenever you wish.  All of your users will always have the most up to date “form” right on their mobile device.  You can build a new GoCanvas app and deploy it to 1,000 users in minutes…literally!  Here is a step-by-step tutorial showing you how to build a GoCanvas app from scratch.

There you have it!  That is my personal top ten.  My colleagues might disagree and I invite them to comment.  I certainly would love to hear from our subscribers!  What are YOUR favorite features and how do they save you time???

Want to try all of this out yourself?  Sign-up for a no-obligation free 30 day trial.  You'll have full access to all of these features (Along with all of the other GoCanvas features!!!) for a full 30 days so you can evaluate this solution for your organization.  And we are here to help.  Our Mobile App Consultants are here to assist you every step of the way.  Contact us at

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