Outlook Polls: Microsoft Forms plugin

Have you ever needed to ask a group of people a simple quick question and receive their answers in one place instead of individual emails? Microsoft is betting the answer to that question is a resounding YES! They have come up with a simple elegant solution to this widespread problem with “Polls” an Outlook plugin that works directly with Microsoft Forms.

For those of you who are new to Microsoft Forms, it is an Office 365 application that allows you to create, distribute, and collect both quizzes and forms. While it is not quite as powerful of a tool when compared to more feature-rich products like Qualtrics, Forms excels as being a quick and easy solution that can meet many people’s data collection needs. If you would like to learn more about Microsoft Forms, please see our Cooperative Conversation (online training held by DASNR IT) recording.

The new addition of Polls into Microsoft Office allows you to ask one question in an email to one or more people. No, you can not do multiple questions. However, you can always create a complete quiz or form using the Office 365 Forms app. This solution is geared for people who need to ask a single question to a group of people and do it fast!

Before you can start using Polls you will first need to add it to Outlook through the Get Add-ins ribbon option on the Home tab. Simply, click the Get Add-ins button, search for Forms, select the Polls by Microsoft Forms plug-in, and click the add button (image below.)

Once installed, a new Polls button will show in your message ribbon when sending a new email. When you click this button a new side panel will open in the email pane that allows you to create and add a question to your email.

After completing and sending the email, participants will be able to answer the survey either in their Outlook client or by clicking the link that is included with the email. The email is also automatically CCed to you (the sender of the email.)

Once the Poll has been sent and answered, you can view the answers easily by looking at the email that contains the question. You can also open the Office 365 Forms application to see the full results in a graph or to download the information in a .CSV file that you can open with Microsoft Excel.

While this is a very feature-light tool, the addition of Polls to Microsoft can make asking simple questions much easier. At the very least it will record the answers in one place instead of having to sort through emails to compare results. It is a welcome addition to our data gathering toolbox.