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Digitize Paper Forms: Definitive Guide [2024] - Alpha Software


Humans have used paper to tell stories, share knowledge, and even exchange goods since its invention 1900 years ago. It’s still used today in almost every industry as the primary medium for collecting and sharing information.

However, paper has shown to be among the less reliable medium – companies lose 7.5% of all paper documentation and each lost document costs the company from $350 to $700. This stings even more when you consider the negative environmental impact of producing paper at scale. Paper’s importance in our daily lives has been outweighed by the waste it produces.

DRAFT IDEA Digitize Your DataThankfully, there is a better way to collect, store, and organize information in the digital age: digital forms. 

Digital forms are basically digitized paper forms businesses can use to collect and share information efficiently. Digitizing paper forms doesn’t just solve the problem of misplaced and misused paper – it also provides added value with improved analytics, faster processes, and enhanced data security. 

Want to create digital forms without writing a single line of code?Try AlphaTransForm for free!


Table of Contents

  1. What is a digital form?

  2. What is the difference between a digital form and paper form?

  3. What are the benefits of using digital online forms?

  4. How can I digitize paper forms?

  5. How to digitize forms using Alpha TransForm?

    • How to create a form from scratch using Alpha Transform?

    • How to create a form using a template on Alpha Transform?


What is a digital form?

A digital form is the electronic version of paper forms used to collect, store, and share data. They are also known as e-forms, electronic forms, online forms, or web forms.  

Some examples of digital forms include:

  • Purchase order forms in Excel,

  • Invoices as Google Docs or PDFs,

  • Holiday request forms in your HRM software,

  • Inspection forms created using Alpha TransForm,

  • Customer information forms hosted on Google Forms.


What is the difference between a digital form and a paper form?

Digital forms serve the same purpose as paper forms – they’re used to collect information.

The only difference is: digital forms do it faster and more efficiently. You can use them to collect information on just about anything with fewer errors, duplicates, or mistakes due to unreadable handwriting; a common problem with using paper forms.

Digital forms are also completely customizable and easily editable.

You can find tools to quickly create and share forms with text boxes, drop-down menus, dates, and file uploads, without any programming experience. It’s also easier to store and manage digital forms compared to paper forms since they don’t get damaged over time.


What are the benefits of using digital online forms?

Easier data collection and management is the main reason to migrate from paper to digital, but there’s much more digital forms have to offer:

Digital forms are more budget-friendly

Companies spend $120 million annually on paper documents. Moving to digital forms reduces your overhead by a significant amount. Moreover, investors consider things like ESG in their strategies these days, meaning if you’re a “green company” you increase your chances of raising funds.

Digital forms provide more accurate data

The information collected using digital forms is more reliable since you can help users with features like auto-filling, mandatory fields, and preset conditions. By having these in place, you decrease the chances of producing incomplete or wrong forms.

Digital forms make teams more efficient and productive

25% of people say completing paperwork takes up most of their time that could be spent doing more productive work. By using digital forms, you can automate parts of the process and make it faster and more efficient.

Digital forms are more secure

Paper forms are easy to lose and they’re also a nightmare to organize. On the other hand, digital forms don’t get damaged, and they’re easy to find and organize. You can also encrypt them to prevent unauthorized access. Moving to the cloud will additionally reduce the possibility of losing anything.

Digital forms provide a better customer experience

Digital forms make collecting information less tedious. Customers can quickly enter all the information without missing a field and attach any documents required. After that, they just need to hit submit and they’re done. There is no need for any unnecessary back and forth or misunderstandings, creating a much better user experience. 


How can I digitize paper forms?

The fastest way is by scanning and saving them as PDFs or images on your mobile phone or laptop. You can also take a photo of the form with your phone and convert them into a pdf document later.

Then there’s software like Google Forms that lets you create digital forms from scratch. They’re a great way to collect information quickly but have limited functionality and don’t integrate well with every system. 

What you need is a truly customizable tool that lets you kickstart your digital transformation and collect information on the go, like Alpha TransForm.


AlphaTransForm is the complete digital form solution that lets you: 

  1. Integrate forms seamlessly with most systems
  2. Build and deploy mobile forms apps and data collection forms in minutes 
  3. View and analyze data in real-time — organized in charts and dashboards with Alpha TransForm Analytics


Here’s how you can use Alpha TransForm to create digital data collection forms and simplify your workflows:


How to digitize forms using Alpha TransForm 

Alpha TransForm is a no-code form-building software that lets you create digital data collection apps from scratch. It is the complete data collection solution to improve your productivity and streamline your processes. 

The form builder integrates seamlessly into your current workflow, using form data to trigger other actions like informing stakeholders, generating reports, and creating tickets with notifications. With its in-built analytics dashboard, you can also make smarter decisions using real-time insights on the data collected. 



Getting started with Alpha TransForm

Once you create your free Alpha TransForm account, you can use the software on your browser or download the mobile app. You can create forms using one of two ways: 

  • From scratch for complete control over the form creation process, or
  • By using a template to quickly deploy apps that meet your data collection needs


I’m going to show you how to create a “Medical intake” form using both approaches for this example. In the end, we will have a simple data entry app that looks something like this:



Set up a free AlphaTransForm account to follow along and create your first digital form app without writing a single line of code.


How to create a form from scratch using Alpha Transform

  1. Log in to TransForm Central. 

  2. Go to the Designer tab where you will see two options: Add Blank and Add Template

  3. Click on Add Blank to start with a blank form. Alpha TransForm will open a new form with the Display Name of “New Form1” (1). You can change this to the name of your form. In this example, we will create a basic “Medical Intake Form”.


    The Display Name will be seen in TransForm Central Designer, Management Console tabs, and the mobile app. 
  4. Click on Input Quickstart Text (2) to open the Quickstart Editor, which we will use to design our form. 

  5. In the Quickstart Editor, enter the details you want to collect. We will turn these into fillable fields.

  6. Now, let’s create a menu with options: Male, Female, and Other for the Gender field. To do this, place your cursor on the Gender field.
  7. Select the Set button () next to the “:item 1, item 2, item 3” option in the Quick Reference menu to change the Gender field to a list of choices.

  8. Edit the items in the Quickstart Text editor to “Male, Female, Other”.

  9. Next, place your cursor next to “Date of Birth” and select the Set button () next to the “:date option. The field type is now updated to a Date field.

  10. Place your cursor next to the Signature option and select the “Set” button () for the “:signature” option in the Quick Reference. This will set the field type to an e-signature field. You can use a finger or stylus to sign it and the app will also capture the date and time of your electronic signature. 
  11. You can preview the form in the Simple Preview window to verify everything is in order.

  12. Next, hit Save to save the Medical Intake form and return to the list of forms.

    Once saved, you can’t make any changes in the quickstart method. Instead, you have to click on Edit Form Commands in the Designer tab which will take you to Command Properties, where you can make your changes.

    For example, I forgot to add a ‘Patient Picture’ field in the Medical Intake form. To make the change:
  13. Select the form in the Designer tab and go to Edit Form Commands.

  14. In the left-hand menu or preview menu, click on the ‘+’ symbol to add a new field type. 

  15. This will open a menu with every Field Type. Find and select “Data Field: Photo” to create the photo field. This will let you capture a picture in real-time and upload it to the form.

  16. Update the Field Title to “Patient Picture” and update any properties in the Command Properties menu. 
  17. You can see your changes in the Preview window. Click on “Done” to save your changes and exit.


How to create a form using a template on Alpha Transform

Alpha TransForm has a large template library you can use to create forms. 

  1. Go to the Designer tab and click on the “+” symbol in the Form Types menu. You will see three options: Select Template, Copy Selected, and Add Blank

  2. Click on Select Template to open up a list of templates. Select the template you would like to use. Then, click ‘Copy Selected’.

  3. To edit the form, click “Edit Form Commands” while the form is selected and follow steps 13-17 from the previous example to optimize the existing form template to your needs.

  4. Finally, click “Click to save changes” to save your new form and exit.


Next Steps: 

Digital forms take away the pain of working with paper forms. They are easier to manage, provide more accurate information, and have a longer shelf life. Not to mention the added benefits of easy analytics and customizability. It’s high time to go paperless!

However, you need to find the right form-building tool that integrates seamlessly with your existing workflows.

Digitize paper forms with this no-code app builderThis is where Alpha TransForm fits in as the complete digital data collection form builder. Our no-code form builder is a cost-effective form-building solution, whether you're looking to improve your productivity or provide a better customer experience. 

Start your free trial today or get in touch with us to learn more about how Alpha TransForm can streamline your data collection processes.


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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.