Release 15.4 Preview: Completing Federal Grant Application Forms in Your Web Browser

In part one of our Release 15.4 preview, we introduced the process by which applicants can simplify the management of their Grants.gov accounts.

In part two of our Release 15.4 preview, we are highlighting the arrival of online Workspace forms to Grants.gov.

Previously, all federal grant applications on Grants.gov comprised Adobe PDF forms – either as a single package of forms, or – in Workspace – as downloadable individual forms. Now, federal grant applicants can complete forms within their web browser on a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device, such as a tablet.

Online Forms Illustration
Meet Tricia, a federal grant applicant at a university’s office of sponsored research.

What are the appeals of using online forms vs. PDF forms? Let’s take an applicant named Tricia at a university’s office of sponsored research, as our example.

Tricia needs to submit an application in two months, and so she logs into her Grants.gov account and creates a workspace for her application.

Starting in February, compatible forms in Tricia’s workspace will have an Edit link, in addition to the Download link that previously allowed her to download a fillable PDF of the individual grant application form. See the image below for a close-up of a workspace.

Click the Edit link to open an online form

When the Edit link is present, Tricia can simply click Edit, and the fillable form will appear in her browser window.

Tricia can then begin filling out the form and navigate through its sections by clicking on the left-hand Sections menu. She can also save her work at any time and return to the workspace by clicking the Close button. The following image highlights these actions:

Screen shot of an online form

Upon closing the online form, several things happen:

  • Tricia will be asked whether she wants to lock the form to keep others from editing it. (Note: Other Participants will be able to read the locked form.)
  • If Tricia decides to lock the form, the word [Locked] will appear in the Form Status column.
  • Upon returning to the workspace, Tricia will also be alerted that the form has been saved.

Grants.gov recommends locking the online form

The data Tricia entered via the online form will automatically populate on the PDF form (and vice versa).

So if Tricia decides to email a PDF of the partially-completed form to a colleague, she can simply download the form and email it. When her colleague opens the form, he will see the data fields that Tricia has already filled in.

Online form data automatically populates to the PDF forms

What if Tricia’s colleague wants to make a change to a field? He has three options:

  1. If he is a Participant in the workspace, he can make the changes in the fillable PDF and upload it back into the workspace. Doing this will automatically populate the online version of the form that Tricia initially filled out.
  2. Alternately, if he is a Participant in the workspace, he can edit the online version of the form – as long as Tricia has not locked it. (Depending on his role and access level in the workspace, he may be able to override Tricia’s lock on the form.)
  3. He can also email the edited PDF form back to Tricia, and she can upload it into the Workspace. When she does this, the data will also be synced with the online form.

This added flexibility when completing forms will make filling out federal grant applications easier across Tricia’s organization.

And if Tricia is really excited about using online forms on Grants.gov, she can even continue working on the application in her tablet’s browser on the way home, on the train, or bus.

ContactDo you have questions about the online forms coming to Grants.gov with Release 15.4? Share them below, and we will do our best to answer them.

3 thoughts on “Release 15.4 Preview: Completing Federal Grant Application Forms in Your Web Browser

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