Monday, January 21, 2013

Using Excel in SkyDrive To Manage Your Office Pool

Incase you didn't know, I'm a huge fan of SkyDrive, a Microsoft based product that let's you store and share document's in the cloud, giving you access to your files no matter where you are.  As such, I have been deemed a member of the SkyDrive Insider's program.  Should you be interested in becoming an insider, learn more about it here:
A feature that came out pretty recently for SkyDrive, and one that I find very cool, is Excel Survey's.  In short, you can create a survey and share with anyone you see fit, the user can fill out the survey on the web, but you can view the results in Excel via your SkyDrive account, and you can even download the survey results locally to any PC you see fit!

I don't think there could be much better timing for this functionality, today was "Championship Weekend" for the National Football League, and many people will be looking to have an office pool to make the Super Bowl that much more fun to watch (and for amusement purposes only, of course).  When I was in High School, a friend of mine had a huge Super Bowl party at his house, and they had a block pool that required almost no football knowledge, it was a lot of fun! It required you to answer questions like "Who will win the coin toss".. the type of pool that really doesn't require any knowledge of the game itself.

So, I thought it would be fun to throw together an office pool survey, using said SkyDrive capabilities listed above.  What you should know is that this whole process took at most 10 minutes to setup.  So, let's get started!


All you need to get started here is a free SkyDrive account.  No strings attached, no annoying emails, no telemarketers calling you at 3 in the morning asking if you want a subscription to Small Businessman Magazine.. just a free cloud storage account with 5GB of space.  If you don't have an account, hop on over to and create your account.. take your time.. we'll be waiting for ya :)

Makin' Surveys

OK, we have our SkyDrive Account, now let's make our Office Pool Survey!  Go ahead and choose the Create button, and choose "Excel Survey".  You'll receive a prompt asking you to name a file, name your file appropriately

Now, you'll receive a dialogue box requesting you to enter your Survey Details.  Click in the "Enter a title for your survey here" to give a Survey Name, and do the same for your description.  For me, I just entered "Big Game Office Pool" and "Office Pool Questionnaire".

OK, enough with the setup, here comes the fun part.  Click on "Enter your first question here", a sub-dialogue will appear requesting additional question information.  Enter your question, any question sub-title information you feel necessary, and the question type, which can be a variety of options including text, a number, Yes\No, or a Choice.  Here, I had the following details:
  • What Team Will Win The Coin Toss
  • No Sub-Details
  • Type: Choice
  • Choices: BAL\SF
  • Required: Yes
  • Default Answer: Blank

Once done, click the "Done" button, and you return to your main Survey area.  Now, click the "Add New Question" button, add your other questions, rinse and repeat!  You can use whatever questions you want, but if you were curious, here are the questions I asked:

  • What Team Will Win The Coin Toss
  • What Team Will Score First
  • What Team Will Score Last
  • What Type Of Score Will The First Score Be, Regardless Of Team (TD\FG\Other)
  • What Team Will Have The LONGEST PASSING TD
  • What Team Will Have The LONGEST RUSHING TD
  • What Team Will Have The LONGEST Field Goal
  • What Team Will Use A Timeout First
  • What Team Will Win
  • Will Any Team Go For A 2 Point Conversion During The Game (Yes\No)
  • Will The Game Be Tied At The END Of ANY Quarter? (Yes\No)
  • Tiebreaker: Without Going Over, How Many Points Will Be Scored Total In The Game
  • Name
And, with all that done, you're ready to start getting entries into your pool!  The first thing you want to do is choose "Save And View"

Here, you can see how your questions and answers will display.. built in field validation, all data is stored into Excel and available on the web.. told you this was pretty cool!

Now, choose "Share Survey".  This way, we just get a URL to email to other people, and they can access the survey.  Here's the coolest part.  Choosing the Share Survey button tells you that users can submit answers, but not see anyone else's answers.  Go ahead and click "Create"

When given the option, choose to "Shorten" the URL, which will give you a URL similar to the following:

And, when someone fills out the survey, you can see the information within Excel!

So as you can see, Excel Surveys are pretty easy to use, and are very robust.  I know what your thinking.. "Hey Eric.. where's your survey!?!".  OK, OK.. I'm happy to share it out.  

Survey Link:
Folder With Excel File Template:

Hope you enjoyed this post!

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