Form filling is one of the more repetitive, boring tasks. In a personal capacity, we have to fill in web forms to access gated content or submit our personal information to companies. And in a professional capacity, we have to deal with systems that aren’t data-entry friendly and require us to painstakingly enter info manually.
Surely, there’s a better way to fill forms in? (Spoiler alert—there is!) Cue automation. Your browser’s built-in autofill might have given you some idea of how automated form filling works, but third-party tools and scripts take it to a whole new level.
To help you escape a lifetime of manually filling in forms, we’ve put this guide together to get you familiar with automating this process. We’ll explore different tactics, including the use of Python scripts, third-party tools like Magical, and your browser’s native features.
How to automate web form filling (3 top tactics)
If you’re trying to automate web form filling, there are three main methods you can use to make this process speedier. How do you know which tactic is right for you? Well, that will depend on what type of form you’re looking to fill out and your level of technical expertise.
1. Use your browser’s built-in autofill
Most popular browsers come with native autofill features to help users automatically fill in:
- Email addresses
- Credit card information
These fields are sufficient for personal needs, but browsers don’t leave much room for customization. And they aren’t much help for filling in other people’s details—like a lead’s contact information, for example.
Browser autofill features are straightforward and easy to use. Browsers typically store information like addresses and your name by default, and they’ll prompt you to store passwords or credit card information.
To see which details of yours are saved in your browser, check the saved information by following these steps for:
- Microsoft Edge. Select the “Settings and More” icon in the upper-right corner. Then press Settings > Profiles, and use “Personal Info”, “Passwords”, and “Payment Info” to add your details.
- Mozilla Firefox. Select the Settings icon in the upper-right corner, and press “Settings” from the drop-down menu. Now, press “Privacy and Security” and use the Forms and Autofill section.
- Google Chrome. Select the Settings icon in the upper-right corner, go to Settings > Autofill, and press one of the options: “Passwords”, “Payment Methods”, and “Addresses and More”.
- Safari. At the top of the screen, select the menu bar, open the “Safari” menu tab and choose Preferences > Autofill. Check the boxes for the fields that you need auto-fill enabled for.
2. Use a third-party automation tool (like Magical or Zapier)
Third-party tools like Magical and Zapier help to automate form filling for both personal and professional use. Magical, for instance, has two features to help automate web form filling:
- Transfers: This lets you move data from your open tabs to web forms or other applications (like CRMs or Google Sheets). No need for manual copy-pasting!
- Text expansion: This lets you save information as text shortcuts and recall them to automate form filling with just a couple of keystrokes.
Magical for personal information
Here’s how to use Magical to automatically fill in personal information:
Let’s consider a situation where Spiderman wants to create text shortcuts for his personal information. For example, here’s how Spiderman would create a shortcut for his real name:
Now, he only needs to type //name when he wants to fill his information into a form, and Magical will take care of the rest:
Similarly, Peter Benjamin Parker can save his email by creating a text shortcut for firstname.lastname@example.org, which he can store using the //email shortcut (he can also save his other email accounts and select the right one from a selection). This makes it easy for him to fill in forms anywhere on the web. (I guess they don’t call him a web-slinger for nothing, huh?)
Magical for transferring information in bulk
Now, let’s take a look at how to use Magical for filling bulk information into web forms. This is especially useful for sales pros, recruiters, and customer service teams that handle lots of information about prospects, applicants, customers, or users.
These teams frequently have to transport information to customer relationship management (CRM) software or an applicant tracking system (ATS). But, unfortunately, legacy software doesn’t make it easy to input external information—so you end up manually entering each piece of data, one entry at a time.
This is where Magical helps. Thanks to the Transfers functionality, teams can teleport data from their open tabs to any other system (ATS, CRM, or even Google Sheets). There’s no tedious copy-pasting or data entry involved—Magical takes care of all the heavy lifting.
For example, sales pros can update their CRM with information about prospects by opening a Google Sheets tab with the data, and Transfers will move the data into the CRM.
Zapier for transferring information in bulk
Zapier is one of the most well-known workflow automation tools, used for connecting apps and automating business processes. Their Transfers feature—a more recent addition—works similarly to Magical’s version by selecting a source and destination:
However, there is one key difference between Magical and Zapier’s Transfers features. Zapier’s requires integrations between your apps, while Magical’s works without integrations.
3. Use code: How do you automate data entry in a webform using Python?
Tech-savvy people might prefer to use a programming language like Python to create their own scripts to automate form filling—but non-technical users will find this option challenging.
If you’re curious and find yourself asking, how do I create an autofill script? Then this comprehensive guide can help you out. Otherwise, no-code tools like Magical and Zapier are more straightforward to use.
Which should you choose: Browser autofill, Zapier, or Magical?
If you need to fill in simple personal information, your browser’s built-in autofill features should be enough. But if you need to customize saved information or export information that isn’t yours (like details on prospects or customers), you’ll need to consider a third-party tool like Magical or Zapier.
As we discussed in the previous section, Zapier and Magical both have Transfers features that let you automatically fill web forms in with a bulk of information. But which of these tools should you use? We advise using Magical if:
- You need a tool that’s easy to use—just add Magical to Chrome to start using it.
- You don’t want to rely on integrations.
- You don’t need a fully fledged workflow automation tool.
Zapier is a better option if you need a dedicated workflow automation software that also supports transferring bulk data. (But, fair warning: Zapier can be overkill unless you also need it for automating business processes and tasks.)
Ultimately, the best way to automate form filling depends on your specific needs. Many people get by with their browser’s in-built automation features. But if your work involves tedious data entry and copy-pasting information into web forms, it might be time to speed up your workflow.