Guide to Editing Action Forms in Action Network

Action Network is a platform to help activist-run campaigns. I want to share a quick tutorial about how to manage custom forms for “Actions”. In this example, I’m working with Survivors Know on their Powerbuilding Program application. This “action” is an application for a program cohort, so it needs some additional information on the application form.

We start by navigation “manage the form”.

Edit the Form.

Scroll down to the bottom of the form on the right and click Edit Form. This will take you to the edit form page.

Here’s the tutorial for editing form from Action Network

To add questions you drag them from the right side into the form:

“Core” questions can be added by selecting them from the drop down about Blank Questions.

To edit questions just click on a question on the left hand side.

Question Settings Box

This is the pop-up for editing a question. They will appear slightly different for the type of field you select. Let’s go through the common settings.

Name: This is how the data will be labeled in your database, so it’s best to be thoughtful when naming. Remember, the data name is shared across all forms, so if you use the same name in different forms then they will overwrite each other’s data if someone fills out both forms! You might want to do that (asking for a person’s pronoun for instance, if you use the same name ‘pronoun’ then when they fill out the 2nd form months later and have a new pronoun it will update)

Label: This is the text that shows up with the input on the form, keep it short.

Conditional Questions

Let’s say we have a question with a select box and one of the options is “Other”, if the user selects Other we want to display a text field. The bottom two inputs handle that.

Show if the following field name: this is where you put the Name described above from another form field if you want to show the current field only if another field has a certain value.

Has the value of: this is where you put the value that you want the above field to have, in this case “Other”

More info on conditional questions in this Action Network help article

Radios/checkboxes/select: this is where you define the radio buttons, this is specific to checkbox, radio, and select inputs. The pattern here is that you put the radio/select/checkbox label on each line. Optionally you can use the “pipe” character | (shift + \ (normally above the enter key)) at the end of the label and write in the name as it should appear in the database.

For instance, I might want an easy-to-read checkbox label for my user to see: “Yes, sign me up for the newsletter” but I want to just have “yes” appear in my database. So I’d write it like so:

Yes, sign me up for the newsletter|yes

Here’s how the data from the pictured form comes out:

The Name was “leadership_program_cohort” and the Radio Label was written as “Other Sectors|general” so that only the word “general” appears in my data.


Hit me up at hello@dhornbein.com if you want to discuss ways I can help you solve technical problems in your venture.

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