Here's a quick video that walks you through the different sections of Zoho Creator. Learn how to use Zoho Creator for data collection, data analysis and reporting and also how to build a customized business application.
Before you start creating an application, analyze on what you actually want your database application to do and the information you want to maintain. This will make it easier for you to create your application. Follow these simple steps to gather your requirements:
Identify the information you want to manage and the different categories they belong to. For example, the information to be managed for a Sales database will have broad categories like Productand Sales. In Zoho Creator, each category will become your application's Form.
Next, list out the items that need to be managed under each category. For example, the Product category will have items like Product ID, Product Name, Vendor, Unit Price etc., and the Sales category will have items like Product, UnitsSold, Revenue, Cost, Profit etc. Each item will be the Fields that will appear in the Form.
Identify the relationship between the data in one category and the data in the other category. In the "Sales Database", information about the product need not be repeated in the Sales form. You can create a relationship between the Product form and Sales form, so that Sales can reference the specific product record from the Product form.
Once you have gathered your requirements, sign-in to Zoho Creator at creator.zoho.com and create the application by clicking Create New Application button. You can choose the one that suits your requirement. Each option is explained below.
The Add Form option enables you to create your application by adding blank forms and customize it by adding the required fields (or) to create your application with pre-built template forms that suits your requirement.
Steps to create application from scratch
In the Create New Application page, the Add Form option will be selected by default, as shown in the screen-shot below.
Specify the application name and form name in their respective boxes. For example, let us create a Sales Database application with a form called Product to enter product information.
By default, the Create From Scratch option will be selected to create your application with blank forms. If you would like to create your application with pre-built form templates select the option Use Form Template.
Select the time zone relevant to your location from the Time Zone drop-down menu.
A Zoho Creator application can be either Private or Public. A public application can be accessed by anyone and indexed by search engines . A private application can be accessed only if the owner of the application shares it with specific users. Shared users can add, modify and delete records based on the edit permissions provided by the owner. By default, an application created in Zoho Creator is "Private".
Click Create Now to create the application.
The application named Sales Database will be created with a blank form named Product in the Forms tab. You can add the required fields to your form through easy drag & drop of the required field types, as shown in the screen-shot given below.
Zoho creator uses "VIEWS" to display the data collected via Forms. Views are nothing but tables that are automatically populated with data added to a Form. Every form by default has its view created in the View Tab. The name is usually [FORM-NAME] View. In the screen-shot given below, a Product View is created for the Product Form we have created above, and listed in the View Tab.
To submit data into your Forms and view the data submitted, click on the Access this application button. For more details, refer the section Access this application.
To add new forms, modify forms, configure fields, configure form/field actions or set email notifications, refer the section Forms.
To create new views, modify views and configure views refer the section Views.
Create application by importing data
You can turn your excel data into a Zoho Creator application in two ways:
Copy/Paste Data from the XLS file
Import Data from the XLS files by specifying the file name
Comma separated values (.csv) or Tab seperated values (.tsv) stored in other file formats can also be used to create your application with data.
To create an application by importing data,
Select the Import XLS icon from the Create New Application screen.
In the Specify application name box type in a name for your application. This name appears on the Home page when your application is created.
Choose the import type as Paste Data to copy-paste data from your .xls, .csv or .tsv file (or) choose import type as Import Local Data to import data from your .xls, .csv or .tsv file by specifying the file name (or) choose Download Migration Tool to migrate your data. For example, in the screen-shot given below, we have chosen the Paste Data option to create an application by pasting data from an excel file.
If the data contains a date field, select the Date Format that matches the date format contained in your excel file.
Select the Time Zonefor the application from the list of time zones.
Click onFinish to import the data. The "Importing Data" dialog will display the data in the following format.
The Form will be created with the Application Name.
The data in the first row will be displayed as the default Label Names for each column. If you want to change a field name, type a new name in the Label Name box.
The default Field Type is displayed based on the type of data pasted for each column. If you feel that the field type listed is not appropriate you can change it by selecting the appropriate field type from the drop-down list.
Click Finish to create the application with data. In the screen-shot given below, the application named "Product Management" is created with the data and is displayed in the "Product Management Form View". To edit the Forms and Views in the application, click on the Edit this applicationlink.
To add new forms, modify forms, configure form/field actions or set email notifications, refer the section Forms.
To add new views, modify view or configure views refer the section Views.
Import MS Access Database
Zoho Migration tool for MS Access & Excel is a simple tool to upload your existing MS Access applications or XL Spreadsheets to Zoho Creator. You just need to have your MS Access MDB file, and import it to this tool. All the tables are imported with the relationships intact, you could just check them and upload them to Zoho Creator as an application or Zoho Reports as a database. In case of the excel spreadsheets, you can import the XL file and each sheet becomes a form and corresponding views are created in the application. Click Here, to learn more..
Install from market place
Zoho Creator market place provides the largest repository of business applications for your day-to-day business needs. Application categories vary from IT Management, Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, Education, Non-Profits etc. You can view the demo of the application you require and install it to your account with just the click of a mouse.
To summarize, a Zoho Creator application is basically made up of Forms and Views. Forms to collect the information from the user and store it in the database and Views for viewing, filtering and searching the information collected via Forms.
In this section we will briefly explain the various configurations that can be made to the Forms and Fields in your application.
Add new Forms
To add new forms, mouse over the Forms tab and click on New Form option. In the New Form page,
Specify a name for your form in the Specify form name box.
The option Store data in creator which is selected by default, indicates that the data entered through this form will be stored in the database. (i.e) a unique table will be created for this form at the back-end to store the form data. De-selecting this option will create a Stateless form. The data entered in a Stateless form will not be stored in the database.
The option Generate auto-view for this form which is selected by default, will generate a default view for this form in the Views tab, with all the fields displayed as columns.
You have the option to create the new form from scratch or use an existing template form.
Select the required option and click Done, to create the new form.
For more information on Stateless Forms and their usage, refer the section Stateless Forms
Zoho Creator supports 20 types of form fields. You can add fields to your form and also re-arrange them through simple drag and drop. Choose a field type based on the kind of data that it should contain. By default, Zoho Creator supports validation for an adequate number of field types. For example, if you want users to enter their email-id in a certain field, select the "Email" field type. Zoho Creator checks if the data entered in the form for that field is a valid email-id, else it will display an error message to the user.
Drag-n-drop the required field type from the Insert Fields box displayed on the left-side to your form, as shown in the screen-shot given below.
This will display the dialog where you specify the Label Name for this field as shown in screen-shot. The label name is the name displayed for the field in your Form. Clicking on the Options link will display the various additional parameters that can be configured for this field type. For Formula field type the Options link will not be displayed. You have to specify the required formula expression based on which the value of the field will be created. Refer Formula fields for more information.
Zoho Creator provides the following options to configure your field.
Force users to enter a field value by making it a required field
Set a field as unique so that it will not accept any duplicate values.
Set maximum length for entries in a text/number field.
Hide a field from being displayed in the form and make it accessible only to the application owner.
Set a initial value for a field.
Provide tool tip help for your fields.
Create relationship between Forms
A relationship is a link between two Forms. You can create relationship between forms in the same application or different applications. To create a relationship between Form A and Form B, you have to add a Lookup field in Form B, imported from Form A.
Let us take the example of the Sales Database application we created in the Create application from scratch section with a Product Form. We will now create the Sales Form to record the sale of each product, with fields ProductName, UnitsSold, Revenue, Cost, Profit etc. Here, the field ProductName will reference the ProductName field from the "Product" Form. To do this,
Add a Lookup field in the Sales form.
Specify a label name as desired.
Import data from, Sales Database - Product - Product Name (App name - Form name - Field name)
Display as Dropdown (Single select)
Click Done to update the changes
The lookup field Product which references the Product Name in the Product form is added as shown below. Using the lookup field you can access the product details from the Product form.
Set email notification
Zoho Creator Form Builder provides option to configure email notifications to be sent when new form data is submitted by the user.
Select More Actions -> Set Email Notifications from the form header to configure email notifications.
The Set Email Notification dialog is displayed, wherein you specify the From address and To address of the mail recipient. The Cc, Bcc and Reply-to options can be added by selecting the required link displayed below the To address. You can also assign e-mail ids and form field values dynamically to the From/To and Message fields. To do this, click on the icon displayed on the right-side of the "From", "To" text box or the Insert Field button displayed in the Message header. This will display the Zoho Variables and the form fields, as shown in the screen-shot given below:
TheZoho Variable zoho.adminuserid returns the email-id of the application owner.
TheZoho Variable zoho.loginuserid returns the email-id of the currently logged-in user.
The fields in this form are listed here. Select the field whose value has to be dynamically assigned to the From/ To/cc /message area.
Selecting the check-box Include User Submitted Data will include the data submitted in the form in the email message.
Make sure that the Email Notification Enabled radio-button is selected, (at the bottom of the pop up window). To stop email notifications, set the 'Email Notification' to 'disabled' state.
Select Done to save the settings and return back to the form.
You can also send email notifications when existing form data is modified or deleted or for selected records in a view, by adding Deluge Script with the Send mail task.
Configure Form actions
Make your application more powerful and dynamic by adding complex logic to your forms with the help of Deluge Scripting. The Deluge Script Builder provides a drag-and-drop user interface to add form action scripts. It can be invoked from the form header by selecting More Actions or by directly selecting the Script tab.
You can configure the following action scripts to your form, when a new record is added or when an existing record is edited/deleted.
"On load" scripts that are executed when the form is loaded for adding or editing a record. For example, set a date field in the form with the current date or to hide a field when the form is loaded.
"Validate" scripts that are executed when a new record is submitted or when an existing record is modified and submitted or when an existing record is deleted. These scripts are executed before the form data is stored in the database. For example, check if a field value falls within a specified range, restrict the number of registrations to your form etc.
"On success" scripts that are executed when a new record is successfully submitted to the database or when an existing record is updated or deleted from the database. These scripts are executed after the form data is stored in the database. For example, send a mail to the admin user_id when a record is deleted.
"On click" scripts that are executed on click of the custom buttons that you have created in your Stateless Forms. For example, create a stateless form to specify the search criteria and on click of the Search button display a HTML view with the search results fetched from a Contacts Management form.
Actions on Form load
The Sales Form in the Sales Database has a field called Sale_Date. In the screen-shot given below, we have configured an "on load' script to set the "Sale_Date" field with the current date, when the form is loaded. To do this,
Select the "Sales" Form
Select Form Actions -> on Add -> On Load
Drag & drop the Set Variable Deluge task to the editor area
Click Edit and select the variable as "Sale_Date" and the value as the Zoho variable zoho.currentdate. For more information on Zoho variables refer the topic Deluge System Variables.
Save the script. When the form is loaded the "Sale_Date" field will be displayed with the current date.
To execute an On Load script when a form is loaded to edit a record, select Form Actions -> On Edit -> On Load and add the required script.
"Validate" Form action
The Sales Form in the Sales Database has a field called Units_Sold. In the screen-shot given below, we have configured a "Validate' script to check if this field contains a value of 5 or more. If not, an alert message is displayed and the submission is canceled.
Select the "Sales" Form
Select Form Actions -> on Add -> Validate
Drag & drop the if Deluge task to the editor area.
Click Edit and specify the if condition as "input.Units_Sold < 5"
Drag & drop the alert Deluge task and specify the required alert message,
Drag & drop the cancel submit Deluge task.
Save the script. When the form is submitted, the value of the Units_Sold field will be validated. If it is 5 or less, the data will not be submitted.
To execute a Validate script when a record is submitted after editing, select Form Actions -> On Edit -> Validate and add the required script.
To execute a Validate script before deleting a record, select Form Actions -> On Delete -> Validate and add the required script.
Actions "On success"
In the screen-shot given below, we have configured a "On success" script to redirect the user to a particular url when a record is submitted to the "Sales" form.
Select the "Sales" form
Select Form Actions -> on Add -> On Success
Drag & drop the Open URL Deluge task to the editor area.
Click Edit and specify the url to be opened and select the option to open the url in the same window, new window, parent window, popup or iframe.
Save the script. When a new form data is submitted, the openUrl task is executed which redirects the user to the specified url.
To execute a On Success script when a record is submitted after editing, select Form Actions -> On Edit -> On Success and add the required script.
To execute a On Success script when a record is deleted, select Form Actions -> On Delete -> On Success and add the required script.
Actions on click of Form button
Zoho Creator supports creating stateless forms that does not generate a table at the back-end. you can add custom buttons to this form and write deluge script in the "on click" event of the custom button. The scripts can be programmed to do anything you can do in Deluge Script. This gives you the flexibility of storing the entered data into any field of any record of any Table in Zoho Creator. You can even use it to retrieve data from any field in any record of any Table in Zoho Creator. Refer the Help topic Stateless Forms for more information.
Refer the topics under Deluge Reference for more information on the description, syntax, examples of all the Tasks and Expressions supported by the Deluge Language.
Configure Field actions
You can add scripts to perform actions on specific fields in your form. For example, validate a specific field data, display other field values based on data entered into a field, send mail when a field value is updated etc. The scripts that are configured at the Field level are classified as On user input script and On update script. To add a Field action script, move mouse over the field and select the option "Actions on user input" or "Actions on update", as shown in the screen-shot below. This will display the Deluge Script Builder.
Actions on user input script is a client side action which will be called whenever the value of a field is modified either by the user or through script. It is used to improve the usability of a form by validating field data even before it is submitted or display other field values based on the value specified in this field. The On user input script is executed before the changed data is persisted in the database. The On User input script will not be called if there is no change in the value of the field (i.e if the new value being set is same as the old value.)
Actions on update script is executed whenever the value of a field is modified and the changed data is persisted in the database. For example, send mail if the value of a status field is updated.
Field Actions -> On User Input
The "Sales" form in the Sales Database has a field called "Units_Sold". In the screen-shot given below, we have configured a "On user input' script to calculate the "Revenue" based on the number of units sold for a product. The script will be executed when the user inputs the value in "Units_Sold".
Select the Sales Form
Select Field Actions -> Units_Sold (field name) -> On user input
Drag & drop the Fetch Deluge task to the editor area. Click Edit and fetch the record from the "Product" form whose name is same as the product selected in the "Sales" form, store it in a variable named "rec"
Drag & drop the Set Variable Deluge task to the editor area. Click Edit and select the field "Revenue" and set it with the value of (input.Units_Sold * rec.Unit_Price)
Save the script. When the user inputs the value in Units_Sold field, the script will calculate the "Revenue" and set it in the Revenue field.
Field Actions - On Update
If you want to perform action whenever the value of a field is modified, you can write an on update script for that field. The on update script is executed after the changed data is persisted in the database.
Refer the topics under Deluge Reference for more information on the description, syntax, examples of all the Tasks and Expressions supported by the Deluge Language.
Zoho creator uses "VIEWS" to display the data collected via Forms. Every form by default has a view. The name is usually "[FORM NAME] View". For example, if you have created a "Product" form, a default view named "Product View" will be created in the Views Tab as shown in the screen-shot below. You can create any number of views with criteria, filters, grouping and sorting from the View tab. To submit and view data, click on the Access this application button.
Add new views
You can add any number of views for a single form. To add a new view,
Mouse over the view and Select the View -> New View option from the View tab.
Zoho Creator supports the following view creation formats. You can display your form data as a List, summary, Excel sheet, calender, chart or HTML page.
Select the View type, specify the view name, select the form based on which the view is created and the access permissions to be provided for this view.
Click Done to create the view.
The data entered in the form will be displayed in the View. To view the data submitted, click on Access this application button.
Set criteria and filters
Zoho Creator allows you to easily create custom views for specialized reporting needs. You can,
Set Criteria: Configure a view to display records that match a specific criteria. For example, in the screen-shot given below we have configured the Sales view with criteria to display the sales for the last 7 days for Product A. You can also set complex criteria with AND/OR operators or a combination of both, from the GUI using the Advanced option or using Deluge Script.
Set Filters: Filters are a set of named criteria that allows users to view specific records in a view. Default filters will be created for drop-down and date fields. You can create custom filters by selecting the New Custom Filter button.
Set complex criteria and filters using AND/OR operators or a combination of both, from the GUI or using Deluge Script.
Change Field order
Zoho Creator allows you to re-arrange the field order by easy drag-n-drop.
Selecting a view from the View tab will display a Preview of the view. Move a field by clicking on the field heading and dragging it to the desired location, as shown in the screen-shot given below:
Show/Hide columns, Change display name, Sum numeric columns
Select the Column Properties option in the View Configuration tree to control the display of columns by checking the required check-box, change the display name of columns in the view or enable summation for numeric fields by clicking the Sum icon that is displayed.
The username and time when a record is added or modified and their IP address is automatically recorded by Zoho Creator. To display this information in the view, select the required column with name Added User, Added Time, Last Modified User, Last Modified Time, Added User IP Address, Modified User IP Address.
Click Done to update the changes.
Set Column widths
Select the Column Properties option in the View Configuration tree to specify the width of columns by checking them and providing the appropriate width in pixels/percentage.
Click Done to update the changes.
The column widths will be adjusted only if the horizontal scroll bar is displayed in the view page.
Records can be grouped by specific column(s) - by status, by category etc to view records in a organized way. You must select at least one field for grouping by selecting Set Grouping option in the View Configuration tree. Records with same value for the selected field(s) will be grouped together.
By default, records are sorted by the order in which they are added. Latest records come on top.
To sort by another field, from the left pane, from under "Records", select the Set sorting option and select the field from Left Hand Side. Click on the Add button to add it to the Right Hand Side.
To change the order of sorting, select the field and click the "Sort Asc/Desc" button.
To sort by multiple fields, select multiple fields from Left Hand Side and add them to the right hand side. You can move up and down to change the sequence by which the records will be sorted.
Click Done to update the changes.
Set access permissions
Shared users of a private application or users of a public application will be able to add, edit or delete records in a view only if access permission is provided by the app owner. The Set Permissions option is used to control the access permissions provided to the users. However, the app owner will be able to add, edit or delete records irrespective of whether the access is disabled/enabled to the user.
To invite users to share your application, refer Sharing.
Perform custom actions
Custom actions are function calls that can be invoked on selected records in a view. For example, you can define a function that sends an email and configure that function as a Custom action for this view. You can then invoke the action for selected records in the live mode. For more information on defining functions and configuring them as custom actions, refer the topic Functions.
Create combined view
You can create a combined view with two or more related forms. For example, in the topic Create Relationship between Forms, we created two forms - Product Form to enter product details and Sales Form to enter sales details and created relationship between the two forms. A combined view will display columns from two or more related forms.
To create a combined view from the Product and Sales Form,
Create a view with the form which contains the Lookup field. In our example, the Sales form contains the lookup field "Product" that relates to the product form.
Select the Column Properties option displayed on the left-side of the view.
The lookup field will have the related fields as link. Click on the related fields link, and select the columns to be displayed from the product form.
Click Done, to update the changes.
Create HTML view
One of the most powerful features in Zoho Creator is the ability to create HTML views. The HTML view enables you to create customized views by combining HTML code and Deluge script. You can create a static HTML page as a view and use this page to deliver dynamic content from your database using Deluge Script. The HTML Builder provides an intuitive drag-n-drop user-interface to easily create the required HTML view. Knowledge of HTML is not necessary.
The Customize option offers a variety of layout and themes to customize the appearance of your forms and views. Layouts and Themes can be combined together to create a visually appealing website.
A layout is the arrangement of the Forms and Views in a Zoho Creator application. Select the required layout for your application from the Settings -> Customize -> Choose Layout tab.
Themes define the color scheme of the application viz the colors that will be applied to the header strip, the component header, the buttons on the forms, etc., the over all font that will be applied to the application, the different styles that will be applied to the headers/tabs/ component headers/ forms/ views etc . You can pick from a range of themes from the Settings -> Customize -> Choose Theme tab and also create your own customized themes, to suit your requirements. For example, let us select the Gradient theme with the required color and click on Apply.
Select Settings-> Customize -> Rearrange Links to arrange the forms and views under different sections or to add new sections. By default, all the forms and views will be listed under the Home section. Here, we have added new sections named Forms and Views and placed all the forms under the "Forms" section and all the views under the "Views" section.
Access the application
Click on button, to access the application in Live mode.
By default, a ZC application is private and can be accessed only by the application owner. It can be accessed by users, only if the owner shares it with specific users.
Now let us add a sample record to the Sales form and click Submit.
View the records submitted by selecting the Sales View. The record submitted to the Sales form is displayed in the Sales View, as shown in the screen-shot below:
A Zoho Creator application can be either Private or Public. A public application can be accessed by anyone and indexed by search engines . A private application can be accessed only if the owner of the application shares it with specific users. Shared users can add, modify and delete records based on the edit permissions provided by the owner. By default, an application created in Zoho Creator is private. The owner of the application can share the entire application -or- can share few form(s)/view(s). Users must have a Zoho Creator account to access the application shared to them.
Steps to share the application
Click on Share Tab
Select the Sales View and click on Share to Users. If you want to share the entire application with users (i.e.) all the forms and views of the application, you can select the Sales Database section and then add users.
Add the list of e-mail address of people with whom you want to share the application
If you want to send them an invitation, select the check-box Send Invitation.
Click Share, to share the Contact form. The shared e-mail addresses will be listed under Shared Details.
The number of users with whom the application is shared, depends on your subscription plan. Click on the Go To -> Account Settings option displayed on the top right corner to view your current plan details and the list of shared users.
Embed in Website
Zoho Creator lets you embed Forms and Views in your website/blog just by pasting few lines of code. You can also customize the look and feel of the embedded form/view to match your website. This makes it easy for your website visitors to fill in their data with no hassle.
To embed a form, select the form to be embedded and click on Settings icon ->Embed in your website.
To embed a view, select the view to be embedded and click on Settings icon -> Embed in your website.
For an HTML View, the embed option will be available only in the edit mode. Hence, select the required HTML view from the View tab, and click on More Actions -> Embed in your website from the view header.
Import existing spreadsheets or .csv/.tsv files into Zoho Creator and have your database application up and running in minutes. You can create a new application via import (i.e convert your .xls/.csv /.tsv data into a new Zoho Creator application) or import data to your existing Zoho Creator application. Refer the topic Create new application by importing data for more information.