Survey Control File

Saving the Control File

The Control File needs to be in .survey format to be installed into the App. Save the file created in Notepad or TextEdit by creating a .survey extension in the filename box. This extension name is case sensitive and must be lower case. In the “Save as type” box, select “All Files”. In the Encoding box, select “UTF-8”.

Some software may try and add a different suffix (e.g. TextEdit will ask about this when saving). Make sure it is saved correctly. If there is a problem, you may need to edit the name in File Explorer or Finder by enabling the display of file suffixes.

Importing the Control File

Once the Control File has been saved as a ".survey" file it can be installed into the PIEL Survey App. There are 2 ways of doing this: file sharing or email.

File Sharing

  • Plug the device into the computer and open iTunes.
  • Click on the icon indicating your device at the top of the window.
  • Click on file sharing.
  • Scroll down to the PIEL Survey app and click.
  • In the window on the right you will see a list of all the files currently loaded on the PIEL Survey app, if any
  • Either drag and drop the Control File into this window or click the button "add".
  • The next time you bring the app to the foreground, it will import the file.


  • Email the Control File to a device with a valid email account.
  • On the device, tap and hold the attachment of the email until a menu shows or the icon becomes highlighted (depending on which iOS).
  • Then tap the PIEL Survey icon in the list.
  • If the icon is not visible in the list, tap "More" and scroll to it. You can even drag the icon to a more convenient location in the menu.
  • The PIEL Survey will be opened with the file imported.
  • If you only tapped the attachment, iOS will try and open it. You will then need to click on the "Share" button (with a vertical arrow).
  • This will bring up a similar menu.

Control File Errors

At first you will probably make some errors in syntax when creating the Control File. You may get an error message during the import. Don't worry, even those with minimal technical knowledge about mobile devices learn to use these files very quickly.

In most cases the error message will give a line number and reason for the error. Usually the problem can be found quickly. We are working hard to improve these error messages so that even when you get an error, it is obvious what the problem is.

In many cases, even if there is an error, the app will interpret it as the default value.

The PIEL Survey Home Screen

After importing the survey Control File, it will be displayed on the PIEL Survey home screen. Initially, no surveys are selected and the button at the bottom of the page will say "Select a Survey to Start". Multiple surveys can be loaded into the App but only one of these can be chosen at any time. A survey is made active by tapping it. It will then show as selected (see screenshot below). The changes you will see are as follows.

  • The survey will be shown as selected. In the screenshot below, the third survey is selected.
  • If "can-run-once" is enabled, the start button will show "Start Run-once survey". If not, it will show "Start Scheduled Survey".
  • If "can-test" is enabled, the "Test" button will be highlighted.
  • If there is data, a blue "action arrow" will be seen. In the screenshot below, there is data for the first survey.

A survey can be deleted by swiping the file name to one side, a "Delete" icon will appear (see screenshot below). After tapping this, a warning will appear that all data will be deleted.

The user can also email or delete the data by tapping the blue "action arrow. This will provide the choice (see screenshot below).