Using Google Forms and IFTTT for Event Submissions

We've had folks ask us if it's possible to let other people submit events to their calendar. This way, anyone visiting the calendar would be able to add events to the calendar by completing a form.

While Loxi does not have a built-in way that allows this, there is a way to make it happen using a combination of Google Forms, Google Calendar and IFTTT. Let's walk through the process for setting it up.

Create a Google Form

The first step is to set up a new form over at Google Forms. It's free and pretty easy to set up, especially if you already have an existing Google account.

Start with a blank form:

Next, you'll want to include the following fields in the form:

  • Event Title (short answer)
  • Event Description (paragraph)
  • Start Date (date)
  • Start Time (time)
  • End Date (date)
  • End Time (time)
  • Venue Name (short answer)
  • Venue Address (short answer)
  • Venue City/ST (short answer)

Your form will start looking like this:

Note that you can make any field "required" but it is optional. It might be a nice idea to do it so that submissions complete complete information about the event.

Another tip? Open the form settings and select the option to "Collect email addresses." This adds an email field to the form, allowing you to collect contact information for the people submitting events.

Create a new Google spreadsheet

Now that the form is set up, you will need a way place to send the submissions. This is where Google Sheets comes into play.

From the form you created, click on the "Responses" tab above the form and click the Google Sheets icon.

Clicking the icon and selecting the "Create a new spreadsheet" option automatically creates and opens a new spreadsheet for you in Google Sheets. It even imports your form fields as spreadsheet columns.

Integrate with IFTTT

Haven't heard of IFTTT? It's a service that connects other services so that they can work together. For example, you could set up the camera on your phone to automatically save photos to Dropbox and publish them to Instagram. It's capable of doing all sorts of awesome things like that.

Start by signup into IFTTT. It's free and takes a minute to sign up. Once you've logged in, click the "Create" open in the main menu.

IFTTT is short for "If this, then that" because that's literally how it works. If something happens, then do these things. We're basically going to tell it this: If a new event submission is added to my Google spreadsheet, then create a new event in Loxi.

Click "If This" on the create screen:

Search for and select the Google Sheets option. This will prompt you to connect your Google account to IFTTT if this is the first time you have set up IFTTT to work with Google Sheets.

Next, we're going to choose our trigger, which is a new row added to the Google spreadsheet.

Copy and paste the URL of the Google spreadsheet in the spreadsheet URL field on the next screen:

Now we need to set up the "that" in our "If this, then that" statement. Like we did earlier when creating our "If" statement, click the "That" option. This time, locate and choose Google Calendar as the action service. You may be asked to authorize IFTTT to access your Google Calendar account.

Select the "Create a detailed event" option from the list of possible actions. That takes you to settings screen for that action.

You will use the "Add Ingredient" option to add the following fields:

  • Which calendar: Choose the calendar that will hold the submitted events
  • Start time: Enter {{ColumnD}} {{ColumnE}}
  • End time: {{ColumnF}} {{ColumnG}}
  • Title: {{ColumnB}}
  • Description: {{ColumnC}}
  • Location: {{ColumnH}, {{ColumnI}}, {{ColumnJ}}

Wrapping up

Once the action has been created, click 'Finish' to complete the setup. The last thing to do is contact us and send the import URL for your calendar. We will take care of adding it to Loxi so that new events are added to your calendar when a new submission is created in Google Forms.