Which Palette Item Should I Use?

Which widgets (or items from the palette) you use in your form have a significant impact on the behavior of the form at run-time (while your end users are filling out the form), what options are available to you as you design your form, as well as how easily the data is understood when viewing the View Responses page.

When designing your forms, you should use the Item that most closely matches the data types of the questions you're asking.   For example, If you need to ask a numeric based question, then use the Number item not a Single Line Entry field.  When your users are filling in your form, the Number field will automatically validate that the user has entered a numeric value, and as a form designer you can specify numeric ranges that are allowed.   Additionally charts and graphs in the view responses page will automatically provide summary views of the data, where if you used a Single Line Entry field, you would not take advantage of either of these features.

Proper widget selection is also vital due to the fact it's not possible to change the widget type without losing existing data.   If you remove a Single Line Entry field, and replace it with a Currency field for example, all previously submitted data captured by that Single Line Entry field would be lost.  So make sure to give proper consideration to the item types used when designing your forms.

Using the correct widget types also allows you to more easily build Rules and Formulas into your form, as the Rules and Formula's tabs use the type of item to help you build your logic. 

There are many specialized items to choose from in the palette, where each comes with specific validation and options to ensure the data captured is in the desired format for that item type.  Date fields are best for capturing date information, Time fields are best for capturing time of day, Currency fields are best for capturing monetary values, etc.  Its also important to understand what types of items will be automatically summarized in the charts and graphs of the View Responses page.

The following table describes each item type and what type of specialized properties can be set in its Edit Properties dialog as well as an indicator that lets you know if it will automatically be summarized as a chart in the View Responses page.

Palette ItemDescriptionSpecialized Properties (in Edit Properties Dialog)Chart-able

A Section is used to contain other items and is useful
for grouping items together. Sections can contain other sections.

Allows the user to collapse and expand the section in the form.-
TextA Text item is used to present formatted text to the user.
Text items are useful for headings, long descriptions, instructions, and legal text.
Presents a rich text editor for entering formatted text and images.-
Single Line EntryA Single Line Entry captures a single line of data, such as a First Name.Can specify the maximum number of allowable characters.No
Multi-Line EntryMulti Line Entry captures multiple lines of data, which is useful
for capturing a large amount of text, such as comment fields.
Can specify the number of rows to display to the user.No
NumberNumber is a Single Line Entry field that contains validation logic
to ensure a number is entered.  Number also contains properties
that allow you to control the range and format of how the number
is displayed.  If the validation fails, the user is not allowed to submit the form.
Can specify the allowable range, and number format (found in the Advanced tab).Yes
CurrencyCurrency is a Single Line Entry field that contains validation logic to ensure
a currency amount is entered.  A numeric value is entered, and the field
formats the number into the specified currency format.  If the validation
fails the user is not allowed to submit the form.
Can specify the currency type and the allowable range (found in the Advanced tab).Yes
DateDate provides a date picker for the capturing of date information.Can specify the date format and allowable rangeNo
TimeTime provides a time picker for the capturing of time of day information.Can specify the time format and allowable rangeNo
EmailEmail is a Single Line Entry field that has validation logic to ensure a
proper email address is entered.

Page NavigationPage Navigation adds a set of smart next and previous buttons to
the form to allow the user to navigate between pages.  Page
navigation is only needed when your form contains more than one page.
Can specify button images and location of buttons (header,  footer, or in-place).No
ButtonButton is a generic button that can be modified to carry out custom actions.Can specify button images.No
ImageAn Image item is used to add an image to the form.  Use Image to add
banners, headers, or footers.
Allows for upload of image off disk, or reference image on web.No
Drop DownDrop Down presents a choice list to the user when the drop down is
selected.  The user must choose one of the choices provided.  Also
eferred to as a pop-up.
Allows for entry of choice list values, or can hook up to. service to retrieve choice list values from external system.Yes
Select OneSelect One presents a list of options to the user, from which the user
can only select one.  Also referred to as a radio group.
Allows for entry of choice list and either horizontal or vertical alignment of choice list.Yes
Select ManySelect Many presents a list of options to the user, from which the user
can select any number of the options.  Also referred to as a check group.
Allows for entry of choice list values and either horizontal or vertical alignment of choice list as well as specifying the number of choices that must be selected.Yes
SurveyA Survey item presents a survey style question format. The user is
asked a series of questions, and is provided a series of choices to answer the questions.
Allows for entry of choice list values and questions.  Also allows for either select one or select many mode.Yes
CheckA Check represents a single check box to the user allowing them
to specify a true or false answer.

Choice SliderA Choice Slider is a slider object where the choices are string values. 
There is no limit to the number of choices that can be defined and the
slider locks to each choice defined.  If you provide too many choices
then the UI may become "messy", ideal implementation of this item
is generally less than 10 choices.
Can define the start and stop labels which are shown at the edges of the item. Can hide the choice (tick) labels.Yes
LineA horizontal line.Designer can change thickness and color.No
Numeric SliderA Numeric Slider is a slider object where the choices are numbers.The number of choices are defined by properties in the item, where you set the Start and Stop values and then the Number of Ticks. Can force the slider to Snap to ticks, specify start and stop labels, show tick labels and assign custom CSS class name.Yes

Here's the same information, but for those items found in the Specialized Palette drawer.

Palette ItemDescriptionSpecialized Properties (in Edit Properties Dialog)Chart-able
Tabbed FolderTabbed Folder is another type of container which is effectively one or more sections in single location. Each section is accessible by clicking its “tab”.Can add/remove/rename the tabs.No
TableTable is a data table with rows and columns of data which have been input using a child form defined when configuring this item.Can control button layout, style and names. Allows number of rows as well as width of columns to be specified.No
HTMLHTML is an item which can show custom HTML markup. Any CSS added to the form also applies to this markup.
WebsiteWebsite is an entry field with a constraint which requires a URL that begins with http://, https://, ftp://, or ftps://
Web LinkWeb Link is highlighted text that, when selected, opens the specified URL in a new browser tab or window.Can provide a Link Alias to  show “friendlier” link text and specify the URL.No
MediaMedia provides the ability to show a media file from the supported types: .avi, .mpeg, .mpg, .wmv, .wma, .mov, .mp3, .mp4, and .swf Provides a file browser which allows selection of a file to upload and ability to specify region media is played in.No
AttachmentAttachment allows for the attachment of a single file to the form.  If form is being rendered an an iOS6 device, then this will allow images to be attached.  Images can either be captured from the camera or chosen from the camera roll.
PasswordPassword is an entry field whose displayed characters are masked. Allows for an option to provide a second “confirmation” entry field and logic to ensure that both values match.No
Time StampTime Stamp is combination of a Date item and a Time item to create a single “time stamp” valueAllows for valid ranges to be specified as well as controlling the date and time formats.No