There are two common ways to program your questionnaire in SurveyCTO. Either by using the form builder or by writing your code in an Excel Sheet. The form builder is useful for the absolute beginner and also when you need to make a quick edit in a form already uploaded to the server. However, the complexity of a typical DIME survey makes all projects sooner or later switch to coding in Excel.
As a questionnaire grows bigger, even the best coder lose the overview over the questionnaire. This is the most significant advantage of coding in Excel. While it is possibly to push through and keep using the form builder, data sets from questionnaires not finalized in Excel tend to be less well structured and more cumbersome to work with.
We do not object towards starting programming in the form builder, but we strongly recommend that the questionnaire is at least reviewed in Excel. Experienced coders tend to skip the form builder part altogether, apart from making a quick update to a form already uploaded to the server.
- It is easy to switch back and forth between the form builder and the Excel method. Therefore, one way to transition into coding in Excel might be to create something in the form builder that can be downloaded and inspected in Excel format.
- While it is easier for a beginner to start in the form builder, we strongly recommend you to switch over to the Excel Method as soon as possible, as you will have to do that eventually unless your questionnaire is very short.
The form builder is a feature that SurveyCTO provides on their servers.
How to access?
You access it by going to the Design tab and click on any form that already exist. After clicking the form a menu appears below it. Click
edit and this questionnaire will be opened in the form builder. If you do not already have a form you want to edit, then click
start new right at the top of the section Your Forms. After you have filled in the forms and generated your questionnaire, you can click
edit online and it will open your new questionnaire in the form builder.
How to use?
The form builder is an intuitive web interface where you add new questions, groups, etc. by the click of a button. After creating a question you fill in a form with question type, question label, skip patterns, etc.
How to switch to the Excel method?
Save your work in the form builder and when you are back to the Design tab on your server, you can click the questionnaire. After clicking it you have a menu below the questionnaire, click
download, and in the second menu that appears click
form files. You then get a list of the files associated with the questionnaire. Download the
Spreadsheet form definition (filename.xlsx) and then open that file in Excel.
Programming in Excel
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This article is a part of the chapter Questionnaire Programming.