Data Handling

Data File

When a project is complete, the survey results can be sent by email or exported via iTunes.

In general, most researchers will choose to use the email option. It is simple and intuitive to participants. File sharing is more likely to be useful if the researcher provides the participants with devices, which are then returned.

The results are exported as a CSV file. There will be a data file for each participant ID. A run-once survey may be run with different participant IDs and thus there may be more than one file. If there is one participant ID, as is always the case for a scheduled survey, there will be one output file per project (see the image below). Unopened survey runs (i.e., that have not been responded to) are not saved or recorded.

The first four lines of the data file are as follows:

  1. Survey Name
  2. Author
  3. Subject ID
  4. Blank

Below this header information, every 3 lines reports on one survey run. The first line of a survey run has “Start time” and “End time” headings in Columns A and B and question numbers from Column C on. The second line has the start and end timestamps in Columns A and B and the responses listed from Column C on. The third line is a timestamp for each response.

The following data file (opened as a spreadsheet) is for 2 survey runs with the following question types:

  1. List
  2. Checkbox
  3. Slider
  4. Text

Opening Data Files

The data files are "csv" text files. These files can be opened by many software programs, probably the most convenient being spreadsheet programs.


Recent versions of "Numbers" will open the file correctly and do not need these special instructions.


Opening the data files using Excel may require using the import wizard rather than just clicking on the file name. If the survey has text questions, some languages will require the data file to be opened as an UTF-8 encoded file. Instructions for how to do this are below. Older versions of Excel may have slightly different instructions but there are many web sites with instructions on how to do this.

  • Data
  • From Text/CSV
  • Choose the file
  • Select "65001 : Unicode (UTF-8)"
  • Click "Load"

Merging Data Files

To facilitate data analysis, you can choose to use an Excel file available for download.

This Excel file has macros that will simplify the process of combining multiple data files and multiple survey runs. Note that it is not supported on Macs.

To use the file, follow these steps.

  • After opening the Excel file, enable editing and macros if asked.
  • Copy the data files into the same directory as the Excel file.
  • Go to the "Dashboard" worksheet and click the button "Combine Files".

Although our server is regularly scanned for malware, like all files from the internet, you should ensure you verify the file that you download is virus free.

In many cases, organizations will have policies relating to macro-enabled Excel files downloaded from the internet. For this reason, the source code has been made publicly available. This will allow review of the code and even allow users to create a new Excel file. We encourage users who have technical expertise to contribute their own code to the project. Please see our repository for the source code and the license under which the code is made available.