HomeHome : Monthly Tips : Aug 2013

Copy Form Data Before Submitting It

August 2013 — Tip of the Month

Many of us fill out several online forms each week. Some of us may fill out web forms several times a day. Whether your submitting a support request, filling out online survey, typing a private Facebook message, or sending a webmail message, there is one thing you should always do before hitting Send – copy your data.

Every once in awhile a form does not get submitted properly or the server drops the connection between the time you started filling out the form and the time you finish. Some annoying websites even log you out without you knowing it before you have a chance to submit the data. Any of these events may result in an error when you submit the form and the information you typed is not submitted. In some cases, you cannot go back to retrieve the form data you entered, meaning you have to start all over.

Retyping a sentence or two is not a big deal, but retyping several paragraphs is extremely frustrating. Imagine typing a long five-paragraph email to a friend only to see an error message when you finally send it. When you press Back in your web browser, the form is reset and your data is gone. It's not your fault, but you could have saved a lot of time if you copied the form data before you hit Send.

I have had this unfortunate experience more than once. So now I always copy my data before I press the Submit or Send button at the end of a web form. If something goes wrong, I can simply go back and paste the text back into the form and submit it again. This simple step has proved to be useful dozens of times, saving me lots of time and aggravation.

How to copy your data

In order to copy your data, simply select all the text in the message field and press Control+C (Windows) or Command+C (Mac). If the form isn't submitted correctly or your session has timed out, you can go back and press Control+V or Command+V to paste the data into the form.

The same strategy is useful when filling out web forms on mobile devices, which can make retyping messages an even more arduous process. You can typically access the Select, Copy, and Paste options by tapping and holding your finger on the text you would like to copy.

- Per Christensson