Skip To Content


Notes provide further information and instruction when designing your survey. Notes can contain text, images, video, or audio.

Style notes

XLSForm supports the following limited subset of HTML syntax for styling notes in your form:

Format typeHTMLResult

Font color

<font color="red"></font>

Text is in red.


<a href=""></a>

Link to website.



Text is bold.



Text is in italics.



First heading format.



Second heading format.



Text is centered.



Text is indented blockquote.



Text is underlined.



Text is in typewrite font.



Text is in strikethrough font.

You can also use a hyperlink to provide links to phone numbers and emails. The following example will display in your survey as a link that, when selected, will have the user's phone dial the number.

<a href="tel:555-555-5555">555-555-5555</a>

If the device is not a phone, the user will instead be prompted to select a phone app they have installed. This is ideal for situations such as presenting emergency numbers.

Similarly, you can also link to an email address. This, for example, would open the device's chosen email client when selected and send an email to the address referenced.

<a href="">Email</a>

The same HTML syntax can also be applied to labels.

Dynamic labels

Notes, labels, and hints in your survey can display the contents of another question by referring to the question name in the text using the format ${field_name}. This can be useful to display the contents of fields that don't need to be exposed otherwise, such as calculations based on previous answers, or the name of a person being surveyed from a previous question in the label of the next question.

Calculations can't be performed in a label or hint. If you want to display the results of a calculation, make sure the calculation is in a question.

Visually combine notes

The XLSForm format only allows one of each type of media (image, video, or audio) to be added to a note question. To work around this limitation, subsequent notes will be visually merged so that they appear as one note in your form. This means you can include multiple note fields one after another in your survey. When viewing the form, the notes will appear as a single note.

Notes in the feature service

Depending on how a note is configured in the XLSForm, the question behaves differently when the survey is published.

If a note is given a name or is provided a value through either a default value or calculation, a string field is created for the note. A user filling out your survey in the Survey123 field app cannot input anything in this field, but any values held in it will be submitted to the feature service.

If a note has no name, default value, or calculation (or it had a name value, but no default value or calculation, prior to Survey123 version 2.5), no field is generated for the note in the feature service. It acts only to store and display read-only text.

If a republished survey will add a field to the feature service, you will be warned that this change will add a field. If you want to use a note question to store values but don't want them submitted to the feature service, set bind::esri:fieldType to null for that question, and no field will be created.


Note question names in surveys created in the Survey123 website are prefixed with generated_note_ to ensure the note doesn't get a field in the feature service. These prefixed field names should not be removed or renamed, and the question should not have bind::esri:fieldType set to null, as this will cause a conflict in the website.