Back to School Night Pro Tip: Use Google Forms to Make Parent Contact Lists in Gmail

Do you want to e-mail all parents for your class without entering twenty-five e-mail addresses into Gmail? Would you like parent e-mail addresses to populate in Gmail so you don’t have to remember them?

Thanks to a great idea Damien Akelman showed me at Mooresville Summer Connection, you can have parents answer a quick form and accomplish both these goals. Damien’s idea was to have parents input their information themselves into a Google Form.

This is perfect for Back to School night. Have parents use their phones, classroom devices or simply have them meet in a computer lab. Share the form using a URL shortener such as or

Your form should have four simple questions. Word the questions exactly as you see here:

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This is what parents will see:

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When you have collected your responses, go back to editing your form:

Screenshot 2015-09-10 at 4.44.31 PM

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This creates a Google Sheet with your responses. In that Google Sheet:

Screenshot 2015-07-29 at 2.01.06 PM

You now need to open the CSV and briefly edit it. This means uploading it back to Google Drive if you are using a Chromebook. It’s a small inconvenience. If you are using a computer with Excel, simply use that to edit the CSV. This is the only edit you have to make:

Screenshot 2015-07-29 at 2.03.52 PM

Save your file. If working on it in Google Sheets, you will need to download it as a CSV again. The key is that you have to wind up with a CSV file on your hard drive. The file should look like this when you open it:

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Now go to Gmail.

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This will open a new window with your Google Contacts.

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You will receive the prompt below. Choose the CSV file you downloaded.

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You will see the contacts you just imported on the side of the screen. They will be named “Imported Today’s Date (#of contacts).”

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This is what you see after you click on the group:

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This is what you see when you click on a single contact:

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Now you can e-mail a parent by simply typing their name in the Gmail “to” field:

Screenshot 2015-07-29 at 3.58.18 PM

You can also e-mail the whole contact list by typing the name you gave it in the Gmail “to” field:

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Thanks for reading. I hope this tutorial was helpful for you. Please let me know if you have any questions by commenting below or tweeting at me at @edtechtom.



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