Use Microsoft Forms for in-person audience polls

microsoft 365 microsoft forms Apr 12, 2024
A presenter talking to a small audience of business people

Present allows your event audience share their thoughts using their mobile devices

Reading time: 3 minutes

Microsoft has made further enhancements to Forms, including updates to the ‘Present’ feature that first appeared last year.

Collecting live thoughts and feedback from participants during an event is a powerful way to add interaction. It demonstrates you are open to ideas and that there is a collaborative listening culture.

Polls are easy online in Teams, but what about an in-person event or office meetup?

There are some tried and tested products on the market, that let your audience use their own mobile devices to share their views. Did you know you can do this in Forms too?

Let’s be honest, some of the other apps do provide a premium experience, but there are advantages to trying Forms Present mode. Things like:

  1. It’s free!
  2. You don’t need to onboard another app.
  3. Information is collected directly into your OneDrive.

How does it work?

You can create your Forms survey in the usual way, but instead of pressing ‘Collect responses’ click ‘Present’.

An online results page is displayed that you can have on a large screen in your meeting space. A QR code is included for your audience to scan to take part using a phone.

You can easily ask people to fill word clouds, select options or give ratings.

So, what are the snags? Here are our thoughts.

Look and feel

The general look and feel of the Present screen is clean and modern, but it can’t be branded or customised. You can theme your form, but those changes will be reflected on your audiences’ devices only.

Live updates

The present screen quickly updates to reflect that latest information submitted using the shared forms. However, the updates don’t happen until the whole form is submitted. You might need to consider the number of questions you ask to keep people involved.

Lacks control

Unlike some of the paid-for apps, your audience work through the form at their own pace (see comment above about survey length). You don’t have the ability to move people on, or present specific questions at points in time during your presentation.

An obvious workaround is to have multiple Microsoft Forms during your event, your audience would however need to scan a new QR code each time. Not terrible but lacks the slickness of an event wide QR code that other tools offer.


So, with those reflections out of the way we can focus on the positives which we think are:


If this type of activity is something you do rarely, then not having to pay for an additional tool is clearly attractive.


If you are already using Forms, you can have Present running in no time without having to learn how a new system works.


There’s a couple of security bonuses here. Firstly, your data is collected straight into your OneDrive, it is not held on a third-party server. Secondly, you can make sure only people in your organisation can take part in the survey (see top tip below).

Next time you are hosting an event, why not give it a try?  


Top tip: If you choose that only people in your organisation can respond, it will need everyone who takes part to use a device that is allowed to connect to your IT. If it is not important to know who took part (probably isn’t), you might create a better experience  by selecting that anyone can respond. This will make sure any device can join in.

Published: 12 April 2024

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