What happens when Forms owner leaves the company?

Brass Contributor


One of the MS Forms Survey owner is going to leave the company but that survey is active i.e. people are updating the survey using Collaborate link. So in this case, what is going to happen? Will this survey be totally lost since the owner of the survey will not be available anymore?



22 Replies

I believe they can share the form with someone else, others can see the responses:
However forms is largely individual at this point which is a problem in this exact scenario.

So even though owner's account is disabled/deleted, the survey will continue to exist and other users can still collaborate?

best response confirmed by Prashant Gupta (Brass Contributor)

My understanding is, as of right now, the form is owned by that user and there is no way to move it to another user. Once the account is deleted so is the form.  In this case the user can download the results for history. There is an option in the form sharing that can give a link to recreate the form from a template (Share As a Template).


Form SharingForm Sharing

You can then use this link to recreate the form in a Group or on a SharePoint site. If you do this the new form link will need to be communicated, but the original will be deleted when the account is deleted.  I mentioned this to the forms team as a missing Admin feature, not sure where they are at with allowing Admins to move/reassign ownership of a form.  Hope this helps.

I am running into this question with my organization now. Does anyone have an updated answer or is the answer still the same: When a user leaves the company, the form is deleted.

I have the same question. I found no official information about a retention period or Forms lifecycle. Based on UserVoice Ownership transfer is not yet possible.

I tested some scenarios with a test account. 3 Forms, 2 of them are shared. I have deleted the account, all 3 Forms are still available and users can add responses. But how long? 


  • 1st Form, a personal form, not shared, still available. In a technical perspective it's now an orphaned Form.
  • 2nd and 3rd Form, a personal form shared with a colleague, still available. 


With the introduced Group Forms it's the same question, what happens with the Forms after a group is deleted? 

Hi, I'm looking into this requirement as it will be better that other user can make a copy of the form directly with the previous responses data.


Please let me know if any program that can join to test on this type of developing features to improve!

I think this part of a blog post on new features being released or worked on will answer the question.

"Greater administrative flexibility
We’ve added several improved administrative capabilities to make managing Forms easier. One of these is ownership transfer, which enables form owners to transfer their form to an Office 365 Group. Once transferred, the form becomes part of that group, is shown in its own tab, and can be managed by any group member. Additionally, administrators will be able to use eDiscovery in the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center to identify and export content found in Forms. (This feature is in development and will be available for all customers soon). Finally, since Forms is part of the Microsoft 365 family, it is compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)."


Hello @Jeffrey Allen,


Is there also some plan to add/create some admin portal for Forms to be managed by some (global admin) role within tenant? I see the scenario that there can be created many Forms by almost anyone within tenant and if such owner will not transfer this Form to group there is totally lost track of such form. There should be some lets say golden ticket that will allow admins to see all Forms and manage its ownership or lifecycle.

As such Forms are ment to be replacement of traditional surveys in SharePoint, there you as site admin were able to delete/manage such created surveys.


Thank you in advance for answer.




I've run into this problem now.  A temp created a form for a team to send to gain feedback.  The temp left over 30 days ago and now the team have told me they can no longer access the form or it's data.


It'd be pretty irritating to have to recreate the Form and it'd be a major headache and loss if we can no longer access this data.


Any suggestions and how do we avoid this in future - creating forms through System Admin doesn't seem the most healthy?

Presently, the best option is to have forms saved as Group Forms, not owned by individuals.


If I'm also the owner of the group with other team members and then I leave the company and have my account deleted would the Group be lost taking the form with it?

@Kevin Crossman wrote:

You can transfer individually owned forms to Group forms now.


If I'm also the owner of the group with other team members and then I leave the company and have my account deleted would the Group be lost taking the form with it?

Groups with no owners do not go away - unless your tenant has (optional/non-default) Office 365 Groups lifecycle rules in place (e.g. owners must opt-in to keep groups active every six months).

Hello @Kevin Crossman,

So this is still in case you have active group lifecycle partial solution. And if Form disappear, there is still need to restore whole group. Still for me something that will play better role is admin option to transfer ownership to somebody else.


Transfer to a group: if the group somehow goes away, you're screwed

Transfer to another person: if that person somehow goes away, you're screwed


I don't understand what your objection is. Either way, the form could go poof. Groups are inherently more stable than individual users / employees in a tenant.

@Kevin Crossman, The biggest problem is that it is still in hands of users. But yes it can be done like this - admin will add yourself to dying group and then if there is option to transfer Form to another live group it is ok.

If you do not know it yet, end users are lasy and they forgot and they are angry when something disappear, especially the managers.

For example, business user has created super important Form that is being used daily to fill survey. But it is created under user account. Imagine that anybody can create Form for such business reasons and admin will not have any idea that it happened. He can suggest users to move it to group. But you are not 100% sure that it happen until you can control it. And if such user will decide to leave you are dumped. You have no control over it and Form is gone. Business is not happy.


RIGHT. Which is why Forms now supports Group Forms (and the ability to move individual forms to Groups),


These are preventative measures against someone doing something stupid. But you can't prevent someone from doing something stupid (example: Marketing VP posts important PPT deck in his OneDrive and then leaves the company, people remaining at company no longer have access to the doc).