Survey Control File

We recommend that researchers thoroughly test their survey prior to sending it to their participants and gathering data. The Survey File allows a lot of flexibility in how you structure and run a survey so it is important that you ensure it collects the data you want in the way that you want.


A control file is a text file which prescribes the content and scheduling of a survey. It must be created as text document using a text editor such as "Notepad" or "TextEdit" and saved with a suffix of ".survey" and a encoding type of "UTF-8".

This encoding is extremely flexible and will allow a wide range of language scripts to be used. It will also accept emojis.


Below is a sample control file. Use this sample as an easy way to develop your own control file. There are some simple syntax rules which must be followed.

  • Each command is placed on a new line.
  • Many commands are optional, often having default values. This will be described in the following text.
  • A vertical bar "|" (usually located above the enter key) is used in the control file to separate its different components. Do not use "|" at the beginning or end of a line. You do not need any spaces before or after this separator.
  • Do not use the symbol “%” followed immediately by a letter in the text of questions.
  • You can put comment lines in a control file by inserting # in front of each line. # stops these lines from being read as a command.
  • Delete a control file line by simply removing it or alternately by inserting # in front it. This second option is useful if there are lines that might be needed later. Rather than repeatedly deleting and reinserting lines, simply add or remove # at the front of the line.

name|PIEL Sample Survey

author|PIEL Administration












exit-message|3|Thank you for testing the PIEL Survey.

placeholder-message|No questions for now, thank you for checking!


#Below are the questions. Integers indicate the question number

1|How did you hear about the PIEL Survey?|From a colleague %NEXT 3|Internet Search %NEXT 3|Advertisment %NEXT 3|Reading a review/blog %NEXT 3|In the Apple Store|Other

2|Please provide details of where you heard about the PIEL Survey. %TYPE text

3|Did you find the PIEL App easy to use? %TYPE slider|Difficult|Very easy

4|What features do you most like about the PIEL Survey? (you can choose more than one). %TYPE checkbox|Ease of use|Accessibility|It's quick|It's intuitive|It's on my iDevice|Other

5|How many times have you used the PIEL Survey. %TYPE list|First time|2-5 times|6-10 times|More than 10 times

6|Did you use our website before using this PIEL Survey? %TYPE list|Yes|No %NEXT 8

7|Please tell us what you found useful on the website and what you would change. %TYPE text

8|Will you use the PIEL Survey again? %TYPE list|Yes|No %NEXT END|Maybe

9|What type of questions will you use in your next survey? %TYPE checkbox|Button|Checkbox|Slider|Text

10|Do you have any more comments? %TYPE text