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The 15 Best Free PDF Readers of 2022

Even though they’re over 25 years old, PDFs are still one of the main types of documents on the internet. Whether you’re trying to access your W-2, a contract, or an ebook, it’ll probably be in the form of a PDF. But to view these important documents, you need to download a PDF reader on your computer.

There are hundreds of PDF readers and some can cost you almost a thousand dollars per year, so we sifted through the internet to find the best free PDF readers that you can download online.

Below, we created a list of 15 of the best free PDF readers whose capabilities range from only viewing PDFs to creating, editing, and securing them.

The 15 Best Free PDF Readers

The 5 Best Free PDF Readers for Windows and Mac

1. Foxit Reader

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Foxit Reader is like the Google Docs of PDF readers. You can create, share, and secure your PDFs all on the cloud. To create PDFs, you can upload scans, convert Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel sheets, and even combine multiple PDFs into a new file.

If you want to collaborate with someone on a PDF, you can grant and revoke document access, track who opens your document and view their activity, edit, comment, and also notify readers about new updates to your PDF.

What We Like

Foxit reader also provides multiple security options to keep your PDFs safe and private, like passwords, digital signatures, and encryption. If you create PDFs regularly for your job and need a way to collaborate on the same file, Foxit would be a good option.

2. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

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Adobe’s free PDF reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, connects to the Adobe Document cloud and other cloud storage systems like Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, letting you open, view, share, and comment on PDFs from anywhere and on any device you want.

What We Like

Acrobat Reader DC coolest feature is that it can read text out loud, guiding you along any document that’s challenging to read. Adobe’s free PDF reader is great for any busy professional who needs to annotate PDFs on the go or on their commute.

3. Javelin PDF Reader

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Javelin PDF Reader is a straightforward PDF reader that lets you launch and print standard and encrypted PDFs, annotate them, and bookmark them. Since its download size is two MB and it doesn’t have extra features like editing, the PDF reader is fast with a simple and clean user interface. If you want to read and take notes on PDFs quickly, Javelin is probably the PDF reader for you.

What We Like

Although basic compared to powerhouse Adobe, if you want to read and take notes on PDFs quickly, Javelin is probably the PDF reader for you.

4. Google Drive

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Google Drive is the most accessible PDF converter and PDF storage system. On the platform, you can convert any of your documents, presentations, and sheets into PDF files and upload any PDFs to it for your own viewing purposes. If your only use for PDFs is viewing them or converting files into them, Google Drive is the best option for you.

What We Like

Google Drive allows teams to share documents and collaborate seamlessly thanks to a user-friendly interface and intuitive design.

5. Your Web Browser

Web browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari all have integrated PDF readers. To view a PDF on your browser, all you have to do is click on the PDF link. You can also open PDF files that are already stored on your computer by dragging them to an open tab in your browser.

Additional features included in most browsers’ PDF readers: rotate, download, print, and adjust text size.

What We Like

The most accessible option on this list, web browser readers make it easy to open, read, adjust PDFs. If you don’t need to convert files into PDFs and you only need to view PDFs, you don’t need to download a PDF reader. You can just use your web browser.

The 5 Best Free PDF Readers for Windows

1. Nitro Reader

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Nitro Reader has a reputation for striking a good balance between usability and advanced features. The platform has an intuitive and slick interface, but you also have access to a wide variety of tools to create, review, secure, and share PDF files. To create new PDFs, all you have to do is drag and drop your documents into the reader. Then, you can design your PDF draft with custom colors, font embedding, and orientation.

When you want to review a document, the PDF reader’s review pane helps you edit, comment, and address feedback. If you’re a PDF power user, Nitro Reader could be your best option.

What We Like

To secure your PDF files, Nitro Reader uses QuickSign to password-protect and sign your documents. Sharing documents is also simple and secure — you can share documents with anyone since the PDFs you create in Nitro Reader are compatible with almost every other PDF reader.

2. PDF-XChange Editor

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PDF-XChange Editor is one of the more robust free PDF readers out there. You can create, view, add notes, record and attach audio, highlight text, attach files, strikethrough words, and add signatures. If you need to create, edit, and share PDFs at work a lot, PDF-XChange Editor could be the PDF reader for you.

What We Like

The PDF reader’s coolest feature is its Optical Character Recognition tool — it can scan printed documents and convert the text into a searchable document.

3. MuPDF

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MuPDF is a standard PDF reader for viewing and editing PDF files. You can fill out text forms, annotate documents, and use it to convert PDF files into other file types like HTML, SVG, and CBZ. You can also write scripts in Javascript to alter your documents.

What We Like

If you want a low-memory PDF reader that you can easily edit and view files on, MuPDF is your best option.

4. SumatraPDF

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Even though SumatraPDF lacks some advanced features like annotation, document signing, and form-filling, Sumatra PDF provides an intuitive and fast reading experience — it has multiple viewing modes like single page, book, and presentation and shortcuts that help you navigate any PDF file. If you just need to read PDFs for work, consider using SumatraPDF.

What We Like

The variety of Sumatra PDF’s viewing modes make it easy for users to quickly access and read the information they’re looking for.

5. Slim PDF

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Slim PDF is one of the smallest PDF readers in the world, taking up just 15 MB of space on your computer. Despite its tiny size, this free PDF reader comes with a lot of advanced features that complement core functionalities such as those allowing you to print, search, zoom and rotate PDF files.

It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

What We Like

Slim PDF is small but mighty. If you are looking for a solution that strikes the perfect balance between being lightweight and powerful, Slim PDF is a great choice.

The 5 Best Free PDF Readers for Mac

1. PDF Reader Premium

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With over 50 million downloads, PDF Reader Premium is one of the most popular PDF readers for Apple Devices. It has powerful functionality that lets you view your PDF in multiple tabs, annotate your document with images and sticky notes, organize your files with tags, sign signatures and fill out forms on your PDF, and store and transfer PDFs through a variety of cloud services. Anyone who frequently uses PDFs for work should consider downloading PDF Reader Premium.

What We Like

In addition to editing and signature capabilities, PDF Reader Premium makes it easy to export documents to a variety of formats like JPG and DOCX.

2. Preview

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Even though Preview is the pre-installed PDF reader on every Mac, it’s more powerful than you think. On Preview, you can view and annotate your documents, combine documents, fill out and sign forms, edit images, share files, and even export a password protected PDF, if there’s sensitive information on your document. Preview is the best choice for someone who wants to use one PDF reader for personal and professional matters.

What We Like

Preview is the best choice for someone who wants to use one PDF reader for personal and professional matters.

3. Skim

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Skim is a PDF reader that was originally designed to help academics read and annotate scientific papers in PDF format, but they’ve now improved their functionality to let anyone view any type of PDF file on the reader. On Skim, you can highlight text, take notes, take snapshots, export notes as text, and integrate with third party apps like BibDesk, a bibliography manager.

What We Like

Designed with academics in mind, Skim’s annotation and markup features put it above the competition.

4. Soda PDF

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Soda PDF is one of the best PDF readers for reading visual documents like digital catalogs, magazines, and comic books — you can even view files in 3D. The app also lets you create and edit PDFs from scratch. Soda PDF sells an online PDF platform too, so they drive demand for it by offering free PDF tools on their website like convert to PDF, convert from PDF, merge, split, & compress, sign & secure, and insert elements like watermarks and page numbering. You can use these online tools as a proxy for a downloadable PDF reader if you want to save space on your computer.

What We Like

Having both a web-based app and desktop version gives users the flexibility to read PDFs on any device.

5. Wondershare

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While Wondershare isn’t completely free, it does offer a free trial. However this may be a good option for someone who needs a pdf editor for one-off projects.

With Wondershare PDFelement, you can not only edit documents and convert them to PDFs, but it also allows for digital signatures, watermarks, and makes it easy to create forms.

What We Like

Wondershare’s free version offers a robust assortment of features and functionality users typically would need to pay for.

Edit PDFs With Ease

PDF editing software is a must for businesses and professionals. Having the right PDF editor can aid your team with collaboration and file management.

This article was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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29 of the Best Form Builder Tools for 2022

You’ve heard it before – forms are the gold standard when it comes to capturing leads, learning about industry trends, doing market research, and even just getting some customer feedback.

If you’re looking for the best online form builders, we’ve compiled a list of the top 30 currently available. Plus, discover the steps to create an online form.

Before we dive into the best form builder tools for 2022, let’s talk about what a form builder exactly is.

With no shortage of options, the best form builder apps tend to be quite similar and user-friendly. Whether you want to make a contact form, a sign-up form, or a survey, form tools are the easiest way to create web forms, with drag and drop questions, multiple form fields, and different color and structure options.

Once your responses start coming in, most forms will also import each entry into a spreadsheet or centralized database and send you notifications when people complete them.

Regardless of the form builder you choose, there are a few key steps you’ll want to follow when creating a form for the purpose of lead generation:

1. Identify the goals of the form.

Are you aiming to generate sales leads, or are you merely planning to add contacts to your email list?

Once you identify what you’re looking for from your prospects, you’ll be able to determine what information you’ll need to get from them on the form.

2. Pick a form builder tool.

Many online form builders are free or very affordable, but they might not have all the features you need. For example, some might not embed well onto the site you use because of your CMS.

Meanwhile, others might not link up to your email marketing software or CRM. Figure out which tool is the best match for your business needs.

Jump to the section on form builder tools here.

3. Include name and contact fields.

This step is pretty self-explanatory. As you begin creating a form, you’ll want to get your visitor’s first and last name.

You should also ask for their contact information, such as an email or phone number.

Keep in mind that your ask should be appropriate for the context. For instance, if someone’s signing up for your marketing newsletter, they might just want to give their email.

Meanwhile, if someone is interested in getting a demo of your product, they’ll be more likely to give their phone number or work address.

4. Add additional demographic information as needed.

Along with the standard name and email details, it may be valuable to gather more demographic information about your prospect, such as job title/

This can give you added insight into the daily life of your prospect and signal how much buying or decision power they have within their company.

For example, if a CEO fills out your form, they might be a stronger lead than an intern with no purchasing power.

Along with learning about a person’s role, you might also want to learn more about their company to get an idea of organizations that might be interested in your product or service.

For this reason, include a form area where they can note where they work, where their office is located, and what type of business category their company falls within.

Lastly, company size. While a startup might not be able to buy an enterprise product, an enterprise company might want a more intricate or advanced product.

5. Figure out which fields are must-have vs. nice-to-have.

If you’re simply looking to add people to your email list, you probably won’t need to request too much information beyond name, email, and interests.

But, if you’re sending out a form to generate leads or learn more about your target audience, you might want to ask a few more specific questions, such as age, gender, or location, to get a feel for who your prospects are.

While you may be tempted to add more fields to cover all your bases, asking too much at once may actually deter leads and lower your conversion rate. As such, only ask what you need.

6. Set up an automated follow-up email that’s triggered once the form is submitted.

After someone takes the time to fill out your form, it’s standard to send a “thank you” or “welcome” email letting them know the next steps.

For instance, if it’s a newsletter, let them know how often to expect the email, which topics are discussed, and include a peek into previous emails.

If it’s a “Contact Us” form, the follow-up email should confirm receipt of the form along with an estimated response time.

The more clarity you provide, the better experience for the user.

30 Online Form Builder Tools

Form tools today usually offer many different features too, like progressive profiling, smart fields, and interactivity.

Ultimately, there’s a form for each of your business’ needs and goals – and we’re here to help you pick the best-fit tool specifically for you.

1. HubSpot’s Free Online Form Builder

HubSpot’s online form builder is one of the most powerful form builder tools available. The tool combines the foundations of form creation with cutting-edge technology to give you much more capability than a normal online form builder can – and it’s also free.

Even though it’s one the more advanced form builder tools, you don’t need any technical expertise when you use HubSpot’s form builder. You can quickly create forms with the drag-and-drop form builder and convert anonymous website visitors into leads with unlimited forms, fields, submissions, and custom forms that all connect to your contact database.

Once someone fills your form out, they’re automatically routed to HubSpot CRM. Once they’re in your CRM system, you can set reminder tasks, call them, and send them one-to-one personalized emails, letting you better manage and nurture relationships with your contacts.

HubSpot’s form builder also has data enrichment for contact profiles and deep integration with HubSpot’s marketing hub, making it a good option for teams who want a single system to manage their forms, contacts, and marketing efforts.

2. HubSpot’s WordPress Plugin

Have a WordPress site but still want to leverage HubSpot tools to generate leads? With HubSpot’s WordPress plugin, you can create forms, assign them within a workflow, and use them to generate landing-page leads. Contacts generated with your forms can also be stored in your HubSpot CRM.

The tool also makes the form creation process easy. Although it’s from HubSpot, you don’t need to leave your WordPress dashboard to get the same form-building experience that you can find on our Marketing Hub.

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3. Popupsmart

To improve your lead management and capture leads, you can opt to use popup forms with Popupsmart, an easy-to-use popup builder. With this no-code tool, you can create webinar signup forms, newsletter signups, contact forms, and registration forms within minutes without any coding or programming experience.

Popupsmart makes it practical to add new form fields, phone inputs, email inputs, checkboxes, dropboxes and radio input fields, images, CSS, and custom fonts to a popup form. In addition, you can use smart tags and set your pop-up form’s appearance depending on your industry or customer persona.

With advanced audience targeting features, you can show your popup form based on language, device, location, exit intent, and traffic source. By turning the autoresponder email feature on, you can get notified when a form is submitted and follow up with warm leads.

The Lead Table section will show all user data acquired from your form. Thanks to modern and customizable popup form templates, you can create yours in under five minutes to increase conversion rates with your form popups.

4. WPForms

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WPForms is a beginner-friendly WordPress form builder that makes it easy to add beautiful forms to your website with just a few clicks. It’s used by over 4 million users, and users love it for its wide variety of templates (over 100+ available).

Easily integrate your WPForms with an email marketing service like HubSpot or collect payments for bookings and orders with Stripe and Paypal integrations.

5. Gravity Forms

Another WordPress-powered plugin, Gravity Forms helps you create amazing forms with the help of multi-page/multi-step forms and a number of time-saving features.

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With this tool, you have access to a variety of integration options and add-ons for email software, messenger platforms, payment options, and automation software. You can also create advanced forms, but, for non-techies, they can be a little complicated to set up.

6. JotForm

JotForm is an online form builder with an intuitive visual editor, known for making form building faster than ever.

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The tool has all the normal form-building capabilities as well as unique fields to customize your own forms. It also integrates with almost every marketing platform. The free plan caps out at five forms, with up to 100 entries per month.

7. Moosend

Moosend’s online form builder is a great tool to increase your lead generation and expand your email lists. Part of the all-in-one marketing automation platform, Moosend’s subscription forms are easy to create through the drag-and-drop builder.

You can build popups, online forms, and floating bars to convert your website visitors into subscribers for your brand. The builder has a form template library to help you out with your creations.

Moosend’s subscription forms can be displayed on specific pages and they are responsive to convert your mobile-first users. This allows you to easily leverage location data to show your popups based on a visitor’s city or country for a more personalized experience.

8. Woorise

Woorise is not only a form builder tool but an all-in-one lead generation and marketing platform that allows you to create a wide range of interactive campaigns such as landing pages, forms, surveys, quizzes, viral giveaways & contests, accept payments, and more to collect leads and engage your audience.

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Woorise features include a modern landing page and form builder, 40+ field types and thousands of social actions, 100+ interactive templates, conditional logic, real-time email notifications, multi-language support, and built-in analytics.

Woorise also integrates with popular marketing platforms such as Hubspot, ActiveCampaign, Aweber, Google Analytics, Bitly, Zapier, PayPal, Stripe, and many more allowing you to automatically send your new leads to the tools you already use.

9. Pabbly Form Builder

Pabbly Form Builder offers unlimited form submissions, file uploads, payment collection tools, users, storage, multi-page forms, conditional logic, and conversion rate optimization features.

The tool includes a highly customizable form builder that enables you to create, customize, personalize each form you build. You can adjust the spacing between different form fields, customize colors, shadows, borders, background, font styling, and much more.

Pabbly also offers multiple types of forms to embed on your website, sliding and pop-up forms you can use to capture leads for your business.

When it comes to organizing your form submissions, you can easily manage incoming submissions with a variety of pre-built filters, like “new” or “needs response”.

10. Paperform

Paperform is a no-code solution to building thoughtfully designed forms that are also digitally smart. Paperform is an all-in-one tool with a focus on flexibility. You can make sales, take bookings, communicate with customers, and put manual processes on autopilot all in one form.

The tool features 27+ question fields, as well as conditional logic, scoring, and calculation fields to help you create a powerful form that interacts with your respondents in real-time.

It also offers fully customizable elements, including media, typography, themes, and the ability to add custom HTML and CSS as needed.

With Paperform payments, you can easily sell your products, services, and subscriptions to customers worldwide.

Paperform also supports over 3,000 integrations, connecting you to thousands of popular apps and services, bringing all your work under one roof. Integrate Paperform with your favorite support service tools.

Access advanced form analytics. Sync data to Google Sheets. Set up automatic responses. It’s essentially a digital Swiss Army Knife for small businesses.

11. Forminator

Forminator is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create highly customizable forms using its drag and drop form builder.

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What makes Forminator unique compared to all the popular modern forms plugins out there is that it’s completely free. At this time, all features and integrations are included out of the box.

That’s not to say it lacks functionality either. Common premium form features such as polls, quizzes, frontend posting, calculations, and even accepting payments via Stripe and PayPal are all free. It is one of the most feature-rich free form plugins out there.

12. Google Forms

Google Forms’ unique selling point is that it’s fast, free, and easy to use, with unlimited forms and entries. It’s also built into the Google Docs suite, so it automatically pulls your data into a Google Sheet for you to analyze.

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While Google Forms’ design has limited customizations, this form tool is best for quick market surveys, rather than a professional survey or lead capture form placed on your website.

13. 123 Form Builder

123 Form Builder is one of the original online form builders and has been around for more than a decade. Altogether, the tool has 3 million subscribers and over 200 million submissions.

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123 Form Builder is the most popular form building option on Wix and serves enterprise customers including Hilti, ABB, Toyota, and more. With countless templates and over 80 integrations, 123 Form Builder may be the form builder tool for you.

14. Typeform

Typeform takes an innovative approach to the world of form building. With an intuitive design, the tool guides you through the form creation process one question at a time and makes the experience of building a survey fun and interactive.

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Typeform is also great for customer surveys and user research – you can create and send standalone survey links out to your list. If you want to try something with an engaging, straightforward user experience, the tool is a solid option.

15. Microsoft Forms

Microsoft Forms is a simple, easy-to-use form creator that integrates with the Microsoft Office suite. With full customization options, users can quickly make surveys, feedback forms, quizzes, and lead forms.

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Since Microsoft forms don’t integrate directly with an online CMS, the tool might not be the best option for lead generation.

However, the form builder can collect data in real-time and import all your responses on an Excel spreadsheet, so you can perform powerful yet simple analysis with Excel filters and pivot tables.

16. Form Crafts

Form Crafts is a basic form builder tool that has a user-friendly interface and simple design.

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The WordPress plugin allows you to create moderately customizable lead capture forms, email sign-up forms, surveys, and feedback collection forms.

One of Form Crafts’ best features is that it’ll send you email notifications about your lead generation process, so you don’t need to constantly monitor your results anymore.

17. FormTools

FormTools is a flexible form creator that focuses on feedback, data, insights, and beautiful form building.

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The form builder tool allows you to create most types of forms and tracks your results on a visually appealing dashboard. FormTools also give you an option to integrate their app with a third party provider of your choosing, like Salesforce or Dropbox.

18. Wufoo

Part of the SurveyMonkey family, Wufoo is one of the oldest form tools in the space. You can design some appealing online forms with it and it’s super easy to use.

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The app also allows you to embed forms on your website, set up payment fields that are compatible with a number of payment processing services, and turn on automatic email notifications to alert you when someone fills out your form.

19. Ninja Forms

Ninja Forms is a powerful WordPress form tool that’s used by a wide range of marketers, from novices to gurus.

 
The tool is free, integrates quickly and easily with a number of different tools, and it can greatly boost your marketing efforts. Ninja Forms also offers unlimited forms, fields, and submissions. But, sometimes, the tool lacks clear documentation and can be difficult to use when you want to customize your forms.

20. Cognito Forms

If you’re looking for a form builder with sound logic branches and robust payment fields, Cognito Forms is for you. The form tool also offers calculated fields, conditional logic, repeating fields, and more, making it easy and simple to create advanced forms.

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Cognito Forms integrates with Stripe, PayPal, and Square and offers a free version that includes unlimited forms with 500 entries per month.

21. FormStack

FormStack is mostly focused on building business and professional style forms. The tool’s best features include intelligent forms, built-in workflows, and seamless integrations with Google Sheets, PayPal, and MailChimp (and others through their API).

One of FormStack’s more sophisticated features is an A/B testing tool that can compare different versions of your forms and tell you what performs better.

The tool also offers electronic signatures and payments, and users can save their form drafts and return to finish them.

22. FormSite

FormSite has all the essential features you need for cranking out some quick “prototypical” web forms. As one of the more basic form builders, it’s often used for simple contact or feedback forms.

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The tool also has a number of pricing plans that can suit your specific business needs. The free version offers five forms each month with 10 results per form.

23. Clearbit Forms

Clearbit Forms lets you leverage smart forms and flexible data enrichment technology to automatically collect specific user information.

This lets you create shorter forms with fewer fields, and, in turn, produce happier customers (because who doesn’t love a short survey?)

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With two plans designed for startups and enterprises, Clearbit can definitely meet your modern marketing needs.

24. FormKeep

FormKeep is a tool unlike most on this list – it’s an easy-to-use tool that finds a happy medium between coded and drag-and-drop forms.

With FormKeep, you have the option to code your own form, style it according to your brand guidelines, and integrate it with Zapier to manage your submission data.

25. Survey Anyplace

Survey Anyplace is a tool that can be used for form building, surveys, and assessments.

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With full customization to your branding and a unique approach to form building, you can easily collect leads, information, and insights from respondents and instantly return a personalized PDF report to them.

26. Contact Form 7

One of the most popular WordPress plugins, Contact Form 7, has upwards of 5 million active installations on the CMS.

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A free tool for everyone to use, it’s a super simple and basic form creator with a heavy focus on contact forms. But it’s also important to note that the tool has some limitations, especially with its customization options.

27. Conversational Form

An open source platform, Conversational Form lets you transform your web form into a simple chatbot.

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By using a novel and clever way to gather data, this form builder is bound to drive user engagement. At the same time, though, due to its new entrance into the marketing space, it might be difficult to learn your way around the tool.

28. FormBakery

As one of the easiest drag and drop form tools out there, FormBakery lets you build professional forms in the most straightforward way possible.

For those looking to build a super simple form in under five minutes, the tool is a great choice. You can quickly customize forms with your own designs, with no coding necessary.

If you’re looking to build a more advanced form, though, FormBakery may not be the right choice for you.

29. DeviceMagic

DeviceMagic is a mobile form solution on a mission to ditch all paperwork, automate lead generation processes, and enhance data collection.

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Since the tool solely focuses on building mobile forms, it has a number of great benefits over other form builders, like quick and accurate data collection, lower operations costs, and less time wasted on administrative work.

Your Form Builder Tool Options are Endless

Most form builders offer all the essentials needed to make a basic form, but your options start to narrow down when you want better customization and deeper data analysis. Ultimately, for you, the best form tool depends on your team’s purpose and particular business needs.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Future of Automation: 9 Predictions to Look Out For in 2022

As a blend of robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), automation takes care of the mundane tasks we’d rather not spend time on, the work we don’t want to mess up with human error, customer interactions that require instant responses – and so much more.

While automation has been evolving at lightning speed over the last few years, it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. So what does the future of automation look like? We’ll cover that and more in this article.

9 Predictions on The Future of Automation

Automating High-Value Actions
Prioritizing Marketing, Sales, and Success Alignment
Automation as a Vital Part of CRMs
Automation for Greater Personalization
Automation Across a Company’s App Stack
Business Chatbots as Full-Time Agents
AI for Automated Decision-Making
Automating Data Collection and Reporting
RPA Helping Businesses Become More Productive

1. Automating High-Value Actions

Right now, the low-hanging fruit for automation is boring repetitive work. Automating front-office functions may be more challenging harder but it’s becoming more common.

More organizations will soon be using technology to automate quality customer experiences (CX).

According to the HubSpot Blog’s 2022 Marketing Trends Report, roughly 17% of marketers currently integrate automation or artificial intelligence as part of their marketing strategy.

Another HubSpot Blog research survey on media and content planning revealed that over a quarter of marketers surveyed say they plan to leverage automation in their media planning strategy.

With the data showing that consumers are prioritizing CX more and expecting more personalization during brand interactions, this forces brands to consider automation for bigger-scale, higher-impact sectors of their businesses.

2. Prioritizing Marketing, Sales, and Success Alignment

Automation cannot be successful when operating in a silo.

That’s why it’s key for teams – particularly marketing, sales, and success teams to be in alignment as they greatly impact the customer journey.

It’s no longer enough to automate marketing emails. What about contact handovers when a contact moves down the funnel? Or follow-ups once a lead completes a high-intent action?

Because marketing teams are only one part of the journey, it’s essential that automation workflows account for user behavior beyond marketing.

3. Automation as a Vital Part of CRMs

According to a 2021 LinkedIn report, 75% of sales professionals use technology — usually a CRM — to close more deals.

Despite this, today’s salespeople spend just a great deal of time catching up with admin work and data entry instead of selling.

As sales and marketing teams realize the potential of automation to tackle repetitive tasks, more of the top CRM tools are developing powerful automation features.

These will enable companies to automate routine tasks to speed up sales cycles, send personalized marketing messages, and proactively resolve customer service cases without lifting a finger.

4. Automation for Greater Personalization

Nearly half of consumers say they will likely become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience with a retail brand, according to Twilio’s 2022 State of Personalization report.

Following the pandemic, the need for personalization grew and brands must respond or risk falling behind.

From audience segmentation and drip campaigns to product recommendations and cart abandonment notifications, personalization cannot operate at scale without automation.

This new shift toward personalization means automation will become a higher priority for brands.

5. Automation Across a Company’s App Stack

Businesses have more tools than ever before at their fingertips.

In the future of automation, more companies will have a Head of Business Systems role to oversee their huge number of tools — and this position will hold a vast capacity for impact and change.

More than ever, the SaaS tools we choose will help our businesses become more productive, profitable, and impactful.

For best results, companies will connect their tools to enable automated two-way data syncing and greater accuracy.

6. Business Chatbots as Full-Time Agents

According to a 2021 Vonage report on customer engagement, one in five consumers use live chat or in-app chat daily.

While today’s businesses mostly use live chat to facilitate real-time conversations between consumers and business representatives, more companies are setting up chatbots.

With bots, companies can provide answers to frequently asked questions and even resolve issues without a team member’s involvement. Increasingly, the best chatbots serve as full-time customer support agents.

The key to a bot’s success is intelligence, which still has its limitations, but is improving fast.

In the future of automation, bots will become more useful, more intelligent, and may soon incorporate voice functionality.

7. AI for Automated Decision-Making

Decision-making is tiring.

You need the right data at your fingertips, to look beyond your biases and get agreement from other stakeholders. AI will increasingly provide a solution to this, delivering high-quality data that can help inform the best decisions.

In a 2021 State of B2B Marketing Automation Report, 58% of B2B professionals say the #1 tactic that most amplifies the success of their marketing automation tool is quality data.

While some decisions can be instantly acted on with automation, many will – and should – go back to humans for consideration from an emotional and empathetic side.

8. Automating Data Collection and Reporting

Automating data management is essential to ensure data quality and integrity.

However, reporting doesn’t have to involve confusing Excel exports and hours spent manipulating data.

By consolidating all of your customer data with an iPaaS solution, your tools can deliver more accurate reporting with the information at hand.

9. RPA Helping Businesses Become More Productive

RPA, also referred to as ‘robotics’ or ‘robots,’ is defined as the automation of rules-based processes with software that utilizes the user interface and which can run on any software, including web-based applications, ERP systems, and mainframe systems.

This could include opening emails and attachments, moving files and folders, or filling in forms.

Going forward, RPA is likely to become a more standard part of our workflows, whether via stand-alone tools, features of the tools we’re already using, or integrated apps.

Is automation changing work as we know it?

The short answer is yes, but for the better.

A 2021 PWC survey found that 61% of people globally believe that automation is putting people’s jobs at risk. However, the truth is automation is not removing employment opportunities, it’s redefining roles.

The role of automation is to take care of the tasks that machines can do better than us, removing human error and allowing for scalability.

One common misconception about automation is that it’s a set-it-and-forget-it approach. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

While it does free up time, that time is used to feed and optimize to produce better results. So, automation doesn’t mean losing the human side, it means empowering workers to focus on more impactful work.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Oct. 2021and has been updated for comprehensiveness.