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Privacy Statement


GSA’S WebForms Site Is Catching On

The General Services Administration has put hundreds of commonly used federal forms on a one-stop web site. These GSA forms, Standard Forms, and Optional Forms can be viewed, filled in, printed, e-mailed or faxed directly from the Internet. This unique site eliminates the need for users to purchase costly formfill packages and makes many commonly used government forms easily accessible to federal agencies as well as the public.

The first issue of Access America Online Magazine on October 2, 1998, carried the story The Web Forms site was later featured in the Federal Times and Government Executive magazine and was introduced to numerous federal agencies in a series of workshops last spring.

Johnny Young, now Director of Creativity and Emerging Technologies in GSA’s Office of Communications, hoped that WebForms would be the first step toward a web-based repository of all federal forms used by the public or federal employees. His vision is coming true.

Over the past year, the WebForms site has grown to more than 25,000 users, including about 3000 GSA employees. Many users have accessed forms from the site 100 times or more. Many agencies, including OPM, have created links to the site from their own web pages, and several have purchased the DocNet software for their internal forms.

Young told the Federal Times "Forms move the government. What I try to do is eliminate, as much as possible, the costs associated with completing and processing of forms." The public has responded very favorably to the convenience of online access, and costs for printing and warehousing paper forms have been reduced significantly, according to Young. The addition of features such as digital signature capability using Smart Card technology and XML tagging for database integration is expected to greatly increase functionality in the future, he said.

Background: GSA Turned a Major Problem into a Visionary Solution

"When a previously-used proprietary forms package became obsolete with the introduction of Windows 95 and NT technologies," Young said, "GSA was faced with the enormous task of redesigning hundreds of widely used federal forms. We were determined to avoid any proprietary limitations in the future, so we sought a software solution which would digitally capture existing forms images from virtually any design package and make them quickly available to agencies and the public on the Internet.

"Many agencies have made significant investments in design software with links to internal databases," Young continued. "Our goal is to provide the current, legally correct images electronically for all government agencies without interfering with their preferred design or workflow procedures. "

Web Forms Has Features to Help the User

Through a development partnership with Intercon Associates in Rochester, New York, and Moore North America, this vision became reality in the spring of 1998. The GSA Web Forms site includes free DocNet TM web-fill software developed by Intercon which can be downloaded once and launched as a helper application each time a form is chosen to view or fill.

John C. Paroda, President, Intercon, said "Since DocNet’s announcement, we’ve had an enormous amount of interest. The response for our seminar attendance was so overwhelming that we had to turn people away. Therefore, we’ve decided to offer at least three more seminars in the fall. This interest has led us to believe we’ve hit a home run not only for us but also for the Government. Currently we are working with strategic partners to develop other "tie-in" applications to DocNet (not yet introduced), including software and hardware products with true e-commerce functionality, which we expect will get as much if not more attention than DocNet."

How WebForms Site Works

Those unfamiliar with official form titles or numbers can use the Query Screen to search by Agency, by keyword in the title, or by form type (i.e. personnel, legal, budget and appropriations) to obtain a listing of all forms matching the criteria selected. Additional forms being added daily to the repository.

Jan Wendler, in GSA's Office of Communications, said "It is not unusual to receive a call from a customer requesting an urgently needed form to meet a contracting deadline. I can now map the fields and make the forms available on the web within minutes rather than weeks. Where electronic images are not available, I can scan the existing paper forms and quickly map them as well."

People Love It

Response from federal agencies and the public continues to be overwhelmingly positive. GSA has received numerous e-mail letters from federal employees and the general public. "They report time savings on key projects and express appreciation for the convenience of accessing these documents," Wendler said.

How Agencies and Their Customers Can Benefit

Young believes that a governmentwide site for all federal forms with related regulations and instructions (in simple language) is one way to help meet the Vice President's goal of interagency collaboration to achieve It solutions to serve the public better. "Customers constantly express frustration that there is no one location to search for documents. They spend hours jumping from site to site hitting roadblock after roadblock," Young said that cost savings in the millions of dollars could clearly be realized based on the following factors:

  • Reduced need for printing and warehousing of paper forms
  • No more obsolescence cost
  • Reduced mailing costs
  • Increased accuracy due to validation rules in the forms as they are filled
  • Faster routing of information/transactions without traditional "paper-passing"
  • Elimination of duplication of effort across agencies to make the same forms and documents available in many formats
  • Reduced software license fees for desktop filler packages.

For More Information

You can obtain more information on this project from:

GSA Office of Communications:
Jan Wendler, 770-390-9696,
Johnny Young, 202-501-1961,
Ted Freed, 202-501-0492,
Intercon Associates:
John C. Paroda, 716-244-1250,


October 4, 1999


Access America Online Magazine Partners
Chief Information Officers Council
National Partnership for Reinventing Government
Federal Communicators Network