Home > Survey Creation > How to: Use an excel file as a data list in a survey

How to: Use an excel file as a data list in a survey


SurveyToGo supports using excel data lists in surveys. This can be very useful when you need to use a long list of values in a question and prefer to store the data as an external table instead of as simple question answers. To do this, you can utilize the “Additional Data Lists” feature of SurveyToGo in 3 simple steps:

  1. Step 1: Upload the excel data file
  2. Step 2: Attach the newly created data list to the survey
  3. Step 3: Bind a question to the attached data list

Step 1: Upload the excel data file

Say we have the following excel file we would like to use in a survey:

Before you upload the excel file, you will have to make sure it contains:

  1. An identity column: That is, a column which contains a key that uniquely identifies the row. In our case, it’s the “AirportID” column. The Airport ID is unique for each airport and thus can be used as an identity column. If your data does not have an identity column, please add a “dummy” column and put 1,2,3,4,5… as values to fake an identity column. If you don’t have an identity column you will not be able to upload the file to SurveyToGo.
  2. A name column: This is just a column that contains the actual text we would like to display by default for the row. This can be any column. In our case, the “Airport Name” is the ideal candidate as it contains the name of the airport.

Once your excel file is ready for uploading, simply follow these steps:

  1. Right click the “Additional Data Lists” and select “Create a new subject store”: 

  2. Click the “Browse” button to locate your excel file, then click the “import” button:
  3. The columns of your excel file will show up in the list of fields:
    You should now double click on the field that is your identity column and check the “User Tag” box and click OK:

    This will mark the field as the identity field:

  4. You should then double click the field that represents the name column as check the “Is name” box and click OK:

    This will mark the field as a name field:

  5. Now, all that is left is to give the data list a name and a description and click the “Create” Button:
  6. You should see a message about the successful creation of the data list:
  7. That’s it! You can now see the newly created data list appear in the tree:


After the excel file is uploaded, you can double click the data list to see and edit the values of the list if needed. The data list is now an independent table inside SurveyToGo and can be used by one or more surveys. To edit the data in the list:

  1. Double click the data list: 

  2. You can then change or add as many entries as you need. To edit values, select the field and press F2 to enter the edit mode:
  3. When you are done editing the data, click the “Save” button on the bottom right:
  4. The changes you have made will be automatically reflected in any surveys using this data list.

Step 2: Attach the newly created data list to the survey

Once you have uploaded the excel file and turned it into a SurveyToGo data list, you will need to attach the list to your survey in order to use it. To attach the list to your survey:

  1. Switch to the “Advanced” tab of your survey and click on the “Edit Subject Stores” link: 

  2. Then, click on the “New from common” button which will open the list of data lists available in your organization:
    Choose the newly added data list and click the OK button:

    Then click the “OK” button once more to finish:

  3. That’s it!

Step 3: Bind a question to the attached data list

Finally, the last step is to bind one or more questions to the data list we have just attached to our survey. To do this:

  1. add a FreeText question to your survey: 

  2. And then switch to the answers tab, and configure this question to “Let user choose from a list” and select the “Additional Subject Stores” as the list source:
  3. Next, select the data list you prefer from the list:
  4. Save the survey and you can now run the survey in an emulator and see the list of values appear:

Note that the “Name” field of the data list will be displayed as the text for the answers while the “Identity” field will be used as the answer code.

Visit us at: http://www.dooblo.net

Categories: Survey Creation
  1. Julian Dyer
    September 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Is there any way to load data lists into a multiple selection question? Unless I’m mistaken, the FreeText or Open Ended question types are only single-choice.

  2. Octavio Mendez
    May 14, 2013 at 2:14 am

    How Can I use different names with the same tag for different questions? and also How can I set answers base on this list?

    • July 7, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Hi Octavio, please could you send any questions to support@dooblo.com? this will open up a support ticket for your convenience.

  1. February 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm

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