Note: This article refers to using Reference Forms with Submittable's new form engine. If you are looking for information on using Reference Forms with our original form engine, please see this article.

Submittable's Reference Forms feature enables organizations to create custom recommendation forms that can be placed within an Initial Form or Additional Form for receiving recommendations or any other type of third-party supporting document on behalf of submitters. Submitters have the ability to direct these forms to the recommender of their choice by entering the recommender's email into the reference form field when completing an Additional Form.

To create a new reference form, follow these steps:

  1. Click on Forms at the top of the page, then click Reference Forms on the left side of the page.
  2. Click the New Form button. This will bring you to the form builder. Here you can create a reference form in the same way you would create any other form.
  3. Give your new Reference Form a name, then drag the desired fields from the tool box area on the left.
  4. You can preview the form you are building at any time by clicking on the Preview button at the top of the page.
  5. When you've finished building the Reference Form, click Save.

Place your Reference Form into an Initial Form or Additional Form

Once you have completed a Reference Form, you can place it into any Initial Form or Additional Form that you send to submitters. When creating or editing forms, you'll see the Reference Form option in the toolbox at the left side of the page. Drag the Reference Form field into your Additional Form.

Give your Reference Form a title. In the example below it is called "Outside Recommendations." Below the title field you'll see a dropdown list where you can select any Reference Form that has been created in your account. Choose the form you want your submitters to send to their outside recommenders. You may add as many Reference Form fields to your Initial or Additional Form as you'd like. You must add a Reference Form field for each supporting document you would like to receive on behalf of submitters, as each Reference Form field can accept one uploaded document..

When submitters complete a Form that contains a Reference Form request, they will enter the email address of their recommender into the Reference Form field. Submitters also have the option to send a Personal Message with the reference request. This is how the Reference Form field appears to submitters completing an application.

Submitters also have the option to send reference requests before actually submitting their form. This enables submitters to get the reference request process started as early as possible. When this option is selected, supporting documents may be received before the actual forms are submitted. However, organizations will not see these reference documents until submitters actually submit the complete form.

Recommenders will be notified by email that someone is requesting for them to complete a Reference Form on their behalf. The email they receive will contain a link to easily access the Reference Form.

Once a form is submitted, administrators will be able to see if reference requests have been received or not. If they have been received, you will also see the date received in the form details.

Note: reference forms can be received to a submission after the Project has been closed for submissions.

How to Open a Reference Form for Editing

Occasionally, you may receive a requests from recommenders (or submitters) to allow recommenders to re-visit a previously submitted Reference Form in order to make changes to the initial Reference Form submission. To do this, open up the Reference Form inside the Submission Details window and click on the purple Open Editing option on the right hand side of the page (see screen shot above). This will generate an email to the recommender, letting them know they can return to their previously submitted recommendation and make any necessary changes.

Interested in adding Reference Forms to your organization's account? If so, please contact our Account Management team here.

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