Automated QR Codes Using Google Forms

Using QR Codes and Google Forms to Automate Student Check-in

In this post, we look at how you can use the magic of Google Sheets to create unique QR codes for students that reduces check-in to a scan of a QR code and a couple of clicks, and (even better) sends the info to a Google Sheet that can be viewed by teachers and administrators in real time.

This is great for data purposes: How much time does a student spend getting math help? Or (my favorite question) how long does it take the average student to go to the restroom? Seriously, though, this is an amazing tool for ensuring student safety by helping us track where students are at any given point of the day. This would also be a great way to speed up the checking out of equipment (e.g. generating a QR code for each device that will pre-populate all of the information when scanned).

Basic Process

The basic process is to use the “get prefilled link” option in the Form under “more” (the three dots on the top right) to generate a pre-filled URL for the form. We then use this link as a pre-fill URL template for the form. For my Form, the prefill link looks like this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 9.57.36 AM

If we analyze the link, it’s a little messy, but we can see where the pre-fill information (student name) has been placed in the middle. Changing this one piece of information will change the information that automatically populates in that field when we load the form through this link. Google Sheets is a great way to create a unique URL for many students all at once.

The video below shows this process from beginning to end.

Load and pre-fill a Google Form with QR Codes


  1. Create the Google Form that will be used to submit your answers
  2. Create an Excel file that contains all information you want prefilled (students names or emails, etc.) with one cell for each field to be filled.
  3. Get the “prefilled link” for the Google Form and use the “Concatenate” formula in Sheets to quickly create a unique prefilled URL for each student.
  4. Format the sheet with URL in one column, and title in the next
  5. Use the “QR Code Generator” Add-On in Google Sheets to generate codes with titles

A little note:

I keep getting this question, so I want to clarify that this will not fill in a form that is already open. What these pre-fill links do is open the google form with the information pre-filled to minimize typing and possible typing errors.

A special thanks to the King of Google, Mr. Houp, who upon seeing my previous round-about method of generating QR Codes in Sheets, suggested there might be an Add-On for that, which resulted in my discovery of the amazing “QR Code Generator”.


Sharon Gadient is a Math Teacher at Ash Grove High School. This is her eighth year of teaching mathematics, and she still loves it. Sharon enjoys applied mathematics, and has a special fascination with fractals (both the pretty and the useful). Her hobbies include playing with technology, writing, and curling up on the couch with her German Shepherd to watch Dr. Who.

Twitter username @library_ghost


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s