23 most common types of forms and where you need them

There are so many different types of forms online to gather and analyze data in one place, all while creating a user-friendly experience.

We will concentrate on the 23 most common examples and their purpose: 

  • order forms
  • contact forms
  • reservation forms
  • employee application forms
  • interview evaluation forms
  • performance appraisal forms
  • expense report forms
  • incident report forms
  • survey forms
  • registration forms
  • feedback forms
  • time-off request forms
  • vendor registration forms
  • travel expense forms
  • invoice forms
  • waiver forms
  • consent forms
  • release of liability forms
  • complaint forms
  • medical consent forms
  • medical history forms
  • donation forms
  • volunteer contact forms

Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses, and the types of form you use should be one of the most efficient elements of your business website. 

How you collect and keep track of important information can make a world of difference to how your company works. 

Different types of forms and their purpose (with examples)

Electronic forms are versatile, and this explains why so many organizations are making the switch to paperless forms.

Let’s look at 23 common types of online forms you can use to make your organization’s data collection and storage more straightforward than ever.

Order forms

Sales are the backbone of most e-commerce businesses.

This type of form allows your customers to outline what they want to purchase along with their payment method and any other details that are relevant to their order.

However, paper forms can be damaged, misread, or simply delayed, making it harder to fulfill your orders.‌

Meanwhile, e-forms not only prevent those customer relationship management (CRM) problems, but they also offer particular benefits that make sales simpler than ever.

An e-form can be filled out without the hassle of printing and mailing paper documents.

This removes a barrier between your potential customers and your product or service.

‌You can also use PandaDoc’s secure e-signature and payment functionality to complete the entire order through the e-form.

When everything your prospects need is collected into a single e-form, your sales team can focus on making sales instead of doing paperwork.

Contact forms

A contact form is a web-based tool designed to facilitate communication between website visitors and the website owner or organization.

Typically found on the “Contact Us” page, it allows users to submit inquiries, messages, or feedback by filling out a structured form. 

The form typically includes fields for the user’s name, email address, subject, and a message box for their query.

Contact forms streamline communication, making it easy for users to reach out while providing essential information for a prompt and effective response.

Reservation forms

A reservation form is an online or physical document to secure bookings for various services or events.

It typically includes fields for the customer’s name, contact details, date and time preferences, and the specific service or resource they wish to reserve. 

Reservation forms are commonly employed by businesses in the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, and event venues.

By collecting essential information, these forms help establishments manage their bookings efficiently and enhance the overall customer experience.

Employee application forms

Every business is made up of people, which is why it’s so important for HR professionals to do their due diligence when hiring new employees.

Finding the right fit for a position can be difficult if it requires sifting through paper documents and soliciting physical applications.

After all, highly qualified employees will likely ignore any position that makes the application process conditional on physical documents.

This is where this type of form can help.

By using electronic job application forms, you can solve two problems at once.

PandaDoc’s form builder software allows you to create the type of form you need to pick out successful candidates.

Ask the questions that matter to your organization with a simple checkbox and drop-down answers. You can even automate file uploads into a central database.

Meanwhile, when highly qualified applicants see a simple and user-friendly application, they’re more likely to apply for the position.

This gives HR professionals a better selection of candidates for every position and a better workforce going forward.

Interview evaluation forms

These types of forms are structured documents used by hiring managers or interviewers to assess and score job candidates during and after an interview.

They include predefined criteria such as communication skills, job knowledge, and cultural fit. 

Interviewers use the form to provide quantitative and qualitative feedback on a candidate’s performance, aiding in the objective evaluation of multiple applicants.

These forms serve as valuable tools in the decision-making process, ensuring a comprehensive and consistent assessment of candidates.

Performance appraisal forms

A performance appraisal form is a document used by employers to assess an employee’s job performance over a specific period.

It typically includes criteria such as job knowledge, communication skills, teamwork, and goal achievement. 

Supervisors use the form to provide feedback on strengths and areas for improvement, setting the stage for constructive discussions during performance reviews.

The appraisal form serves as a crucial tool in evaluating an employee’s contributions, facilitating goal-setting, and informing decisions related to promotions, raises, or training opportunities.

Expense report forms

The purpose of these forms is to itemize and submit details of incurred business-related expenses for reimbursement.

They often include sections for expense categories, dates, amounts, and a description of each expense. Employees attach relevant receipts as supporting documentation. 

The expense report form streamlines the reimbursement process, ensuring transparency and accurate record-keeping for both employees and the organization.

Incident report forms

Incident report forms are crucial documents used to record details of unexpected events, accidents, or occurrences within an organization.

They usually capture information such as the date, time, location, and a detailed account of the incident.

The form often includes sections to identify contributing factors, witnesses, and actions taken in response. Incident report forms serve as essential tools for organizational documentation, analysis, and, when necessary, improvement of safety protocols.

Survey forms

Survey forms are a structured tool designed to collect data and opinions from a targeted group of respondents.

They often consist of a series of questions covering various topics or themes.

Survey forms can be distributed in various formats, including online questionnaires, paper forms, or face-to-face interviews. 

The information gathered through survey forms is then analyzed to draw insights, make informed decisions, or assess public opinions on specific matters.

An example of this type of form would be a customer satisfaction survey, which measures customer satisfaction levels to identify areas for improvement in products or services.

Registration forms

These types of forms are designed to collect essential information from individuals interested in joining an event, program, or service.

Typically, they include fields for personal details such as name, contact information, and sometimes demographic information. 

Registration forms streamline the enrollment process, ensuring that organizers have accurate attendee information.

They serve as a means for individuals to express their interest and provide event organizers with the necessary data to plan and coordinate effectively.

Feedback forms

The best way to learn what people think of your organization is to ask them.

Feedback forms are a valuable tool for analyzing the success of different initiatives and understanding where your organization can improve.

However, convincing people to complete feedback forms can be complicated if they need to turn in a physical document.

Online feedback forms are quicker to complete and more likely to generate a response than a physical type of form.

When a document is easier to return, more people will give you their opinion, and you’ll develop a broader understanding of your customers’ opinions.

Even better, with feedback forms and automation like those at PandaDoc, every response is automatically collated into a single database.

This makes it easy to analyze how people respond in real-time, without the need for data entry.

Your organization can respond to problems as they come up instead of waiting until monthly or quarterly check-ins.

Time off request forms

This example of a form is used by employees to formally request leave from work for personal or professional reasons.

It typically includes details such as the requested time off, the reason for the request, and the employee’s contact information. 

The form may also specify the type of leave, whether it’s paid or unpaid.

Time off request forms facilitate communication between employees and employers, helping organizations manage staffing and ensure smooth workflow during employee absences.

Vendor registration forms

A vendor registration form is a document utilized by organizations to gather essential information from potential suppliers or service providers interested in doing business with them.

It includes fields for company details, contact information, products or services offered, and possibly references or certifications.

The form enables businesses to create and maintain a database of approved vendors, streamlining the procurement process.

Vendor registration forms play a crucial role in establishing and maintaining effective supplier relationships while ensuring compliance with organizational standards and requirements.

Travel expense forms

These types of forms are used by employees to report and request reimbursement for expenses incurred during business-related travel.

They often include sections detailing expenses such as transportation, accommodation, meals, and other miscellaneous costs.

Employees are required to attach relevant receipts for each expense to support their claims. 

The travel expense form facilitates accurate record-keeping and ensures that employees are appropriately reimbursed for their business travel expenditures.

Invoice forms

This example of a form is issued by a seller to a buyer, providing a detailed breakdown of products or services rendered along with associated costs.

It usually includes information such as the invoice number, date, billing and shipping addresses, and a line-item description of each product or service provided. 

The form specifies the quantity, unit price, and total amount owed.

Invoices serve as a formal request for payment and help maintain transparent financial transactions between businesses and their clients.

Waiver forms

A waiver form is a legal document that individuals sign to voluntarily relinquish their right to pursue legal claims or seek compensation for certain risks or activities.

It details the potential hazards or liabilities associated with participating in an event or using a service. 

By signing the waiver, individuals acknowledge their understanding of the risks and agree not to hold the organization or individuals responsible in case of injury or loss.

Waiver forms are commonly used in activities such as sports, recreational events, or adventure tourism to mitigate legal risks.

These types of forms are legal documents that individuals sign to provide explicit permission for a specific action, procedure, or participation in an activity.

They often outline the details of what the individual is consenting to, including potential risks and benefits. 

Consent forms are commonly used in medical procedures, research studies, and various activities where informed and voluntary agreement is required.

The purpose of a consent form is to ensure that individuals are fully aware of the implications of their decision and are giving their consent willingly.

Release of liability forms

This example of a form is a legal document that individuals sign to waive their right to pursue legal action against an organization or individual in the event of injury, damage, or loss.

It details the potential risks and releases the liable party from responsibility for any harm that may occur during a specific activity or service. 

By signing the form, individuals acknowledge their understanding of the risks involved and agree not to hold the organization or individual legally accountable.

Release of liability forms are commonly used in activities such as sports, recreational events, or adventure tourism to minimize legal exposure.

Complaint forms

A complaint form is a structured document that allows individuals to formally submit grievances, concerns, or complaints to an organization or entity.

It includes sections detailing the nature of the complaint, the individuals involved, and any supporting evidence or documentation. 

The form provides a standardized way for individuals to express dissatisfaction with a product, service, or situation.

Once submitted, the complaint form becomes a valuable tool for organizations to investigate and address issues, enhancing customer satisfaction and resolving disputes.

In the medical field, consent forms are a mandatory element for HIPAA adherence.

Tracking patient consent forms and expiration dates is critical to avoid potentially costly lawsuits.

However, paper documents can be lost or destroyed, leading to problems down the road.

That’s why many mental health, dental, and telehealth treatment consent forms are all being moved to online providers like PandaDoc.

Not only are these online alternatives easier to track and keep up to date, but they also provide a secure way to collect signatures.

PandaDoc’s robust, secure e-signature functionality helps you track each patient’s consent in a legally trustworthy manner.

A verified e-signature on these types of forms can make the difference between a document that holds up in court and one that doesn’t.

Meanwhile, patients receive a clear notification that their consent form has been received, providing a solid paper trail for all parties.‌

Medical history forms

Medical history forms are comprehensive documents used by healthcare providers to gather a patient’s detailed health information.

They usually include sections covering personal details, family medical history, current medications, allergies, and past illnesses or surgeries. 

Patients must provide accurate and thorough information to assist healthcare professionals in assessing their overall health and making informed treatment decisions.

The medical history form is crucial in ensuring patient safety and delivering personalized healthcare based on individual health backgrounds.

Donation forms

Soliciting donations is crucial for the success of a non-profit organization.

Anything you can do to make it easier for potential donors to complete their contribution helps your organization better achieve its mission.

Paper donation forms do have a long history in non-profits.

However, they also bar younger and technologically-inclined people from making their first donation to causes they support.

‌On the other hand, donation e-forms offer a simple solution for connecting with the next generation of donors.

Most younger people are comfortable with online transactions and may not have a way to donate with other types of forms.

An electronic donation can collect the donor’s contact information and contribution through the same payment form.

People without checkbooks can use an e-form to donate with PayPal or their credit or debit cards instead.

This one simple change can connect your non-profit with a whole new audience of potential supporters.

Volunteer contact forms

Volunteers are the force behind many non-profits’ success.

As people choose to take time out of their day to do good work for others.

However, since volunteers don’t get compensated for their work, it can be easy to discourage them from signing up if paper contact forms are the only option.

Online volunteer applications are the type of form that connects your non-profit with many more eager volunteers.

Instead of requiring them to hunt down paper forms and mail them in, PandaDoc’s e-forms empower potential volunteers to sign up from their mobile devices or PCs.

With this type of form, you’re respecting your volunteers’ time and effort by making the application process as simple as possible.

It’s also better for your organization.

These e-forms consolidate all your volunteers’ information and availability into a single location, so you can make schedules and contact people without the hassle of searching paper documents.

This allows you to focus on supporting your non-profit’s mission instead of troubleshooting timetables.

What are e-forms or online forms? Why use them?

There was a time when paper forms were used to be the only way of gathering the data your organization needed, but that is no longer the case.

Today, e-forms have taken over as the most effective way to collect information and use it to power your company ahead.

An e-form is an online document that does all the work of old-school paper forms but without their limitations. Like paper forms, an electronic form contains text fields for the reader to fill out.

However, their online nature makes e-forms easier to turn in and process than any physical document, which explains their popularity worldwide.

Forms can be found online and offline in many different contexts, from e-commerce and online surveys to administrative paperwork.

They are an effective way to input data or make selections and are integral to many processes and services. We use forms for streamlining transactions, communication, and record-keeping – where would we be without them?

But why are electronic forms, in particular, so effective at what they do?

There are three significant benefits e-forms have over paper forms.

By making the switch, your organization can:

Save time

Online forms by nature are an instant way to collect information.

Switching to e-forms helps you trim the time it takes to send and receive paper forms along with the processing time to input data.

Prevent mistakes

Physical forms make human error impossible to avoid.

Data entry takes time and can lead to typos or misreading messy handwriting.

By swapping to e-forms, you guarantee that you collect exactly what was submitted in the form, with less potential for error.

Encourage responses

The best way to encourage people to share their information with your organization is to make it easy.

Electronic forms make it easy for your audience to submit data without the hassle of writing it out by hand.

When new forms are easy to fill out and turn in, you’ll get more responses and a better collection of data.

Many types of forms, one unbeatable solution for your needs

No matter what type of form data you need to collect, the right digital platform can streamline your workflow dramatically.

With instant submission and centralized data collection, your organization can manage everything from orders and petitions to medical consent without needing to print or store any physical documents.

We know that ‌deciding on the right e-form builder can make all the difference to your company.

PandaDoc is the industry leader in form building, and that’s the reason why so many businesses opt to work with us.

Whatever type of form you need to manage, our reliable software can help you.

Form creation tools, e-signatures, payment functionality, and a secure platform make PandaDoc the perfect choice for all your e-form needs.

‌Sign up for your PandaDoc 14-day free trial to explore how PandaDoc can help your company go paperless today.