FAQ for survey creators

Survey creation

Form management

Location sharing setup

Survey creation

When should I use the Survey123 website to author my surveys versus ArcGIS Survey123 Connect?

The advantage of the Survey123 website authoring tools is their ease of use: you can start creating surveys with no training. The question types and smart survey features available through the Survey123 website authoring tools are limited but are sufficient for basic surveys. If you need more advanced question types, a large number of questions, or more complex rules, you'll need ArcGIS Survey123 Connect. In either case, your surveys will be displayed in the Survey123 website survey gallery, and you can share them and analyze your collected results in the Survey123 website as well.

Can I import existing XLSForms?


ArcGIS Survey123 allows you to take existing XLSForms and import them into ArcGIS. You'll use ArcGIS Survey123 Connect to do this.

If you create surveys that you want to share with others, you can send them the .xls (or .xlsx) file via email to import into Survey123 Connect for publishing.

Can I show specific questions based on the answers from other questions?


In the Survey123 web designer, you can set visibility rules to hide questions by default and show them based on the answer from another question. Visibility rules can be set on all question types. For more information, see Visibility rules.

In Survey123 Connect, you can use the relevant column to hide questions by default and show them based on the answer from another question. No data will be submitted for a question that is not relevant, and any data previously entered in the field is deleted. For more information, see Form expressions.

In Survey123 Connect, you can also use the body::esri:visible column. This column works the same way as the relevant column except it doesn't clear the value of a question hidden by the expression and still submits the hidden value to the feature layer. For more information, see Question visibility.

Do I need to include a map question in my survey?


If you do not include a geopoint, geotrace, or geoshape question in Survey123 Connect, the main feature layer for your survey will have a geometry type of esriGeometryPoint. The point location is populated with the location information available from the device at the time the survey was opened.

This behavior applies even if the survey has repeats that contain map questions but doesn't include a map question outside of the repeats.

If you do not include a map question in the Survey123 web designer, the main feature layer for your survey will have a geometry type of esriGeometryPoint. The point location for each survey response will default to 0,0.

Can I control the initial extent, scale, basemap, and search in the map display for my geopoint, geotrace, or geoshape question?


You can configure the map settings for geopoint, geotrace, and geoshape questions on the Map tab in Survey123 Connect. A default basemap can also be set for individual map questions using the map parameter in the body::esri:style column of the XLSForm.

All basemaps used in the Survey123 field app must use the Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere projection. Basemaps with other projections can only be used in the web app.

By default, search returns results from the entire world, using the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service to search for the addresses. Signed in users will also see all of the organizations Configured geocoding services. To set a specific locator in the map display, see Geosearch.

Can I use non-ASCII characters in my survey?


In ArcGIS Survey123, you can create surveys that display questions in any language or multiple languages. Non-ASCII characters are not allowed in the name column of your choices or survey worksheets.

Do surveys support right-to-left languages?


Surveys support right-to-left displays.

How many questions can a survey contain?

When publishing to ArcGIS Online, a survey can contain a maximum of 1,024 columns (including system fields). For more information on ArcGIS Online limitations, see Troubleshoot. The maximum number of columns that a feature layer published to an ArcGIS Enterprise portal can contain depends on your enterprise geodatabase. See the documentation for your database management system to determine size limits. In both cases, this maximum limit can be circumvented by placing part of your survey into a repeat with a repeat_count of 1 and storing that part of the survey in a related table.

This maximum may exceed the practical maximum amount of questions you can include in your survey before facing performance issues. The practical maximum is dependent on a combination of the type of questions used in your survey, the number of questions used, and the hardware that someone uses.

Is there a limit to the number of choices for a select one, select multiple, or rank question?


While there is no limit to the number of choices for a select one, select multiple, or rank question, practical limits may apply. For example, a long choice list may be difficult to browse on devices with a small display. Consider using the autocomplete appearance for select one and select multiple questions to filter choices.

Long choice lists in the choices worksheet may also be slow to load. For better performance, it is recommended that you store long choice lists in an external .csv file. For more information, see External choice lists.

How can I restrict user input for a question in my survey?

For surveys authored in Survey123 Connect, Esri custom columns, such as body::esri:inputMask, can be used to restrict user input.

In the Survey123 website and web app, what is the difference between cache answer to this question and Draft mode?

For each question that you define in the Survey123 website, there is a cache answer to this question option. This option is only used by the Survey123 web app (not the field app). When this option is checked, after submitting a survey record, the answer to the question will be cached in the browser and preloaded into the next submission made for this survey on the device. Caching an answer can be set for all question types except Image, File upload, and Signature.

On the Share survey tab of the Collaborate page of the Survey123 website, you can choose to enable Draft mode. When this option is checked, answers to questions will be cached in the browser until the survey record is submitted. Once submitted, all answers are cleared from the cache and are not available for the next survey completion.

As a survey author, you can choose to enable the cache answer to this question option when respondents may need to submit multiple surveys, with questions that repeat the same answer. You can choose to enable Draft mode when respondents may need to start a survey, do something else, and then come back to complete the same survey at a later time.

Can I create surveys from versioned geodatabases?

If using a multiuser geodatabase, layers can use branch versioning but not traditional versioning. Survey123 will target the default version when using a branch versioned geodatabase. For more information, see Versioning types.

Can I prevent read-only questions from recalculating when an existing survey response is opened?

By default, a read-only question that has a dynamic calculation will automatically recalculate when an existing survey response is opened from a URL or from the Inbox, Drafts, Outbox, or Sent folders. To prevent read-only questions from recalculating, set the calculationMode parameter to whenEmpty in the bind::esri:parameters column. For more information, see Calculation mode.

Form management

Can I move my survey files to a different location on my machine?

Moving your survey files on your machine will cause Survey123 Connect to be unable to find them and will either return errors or show no evidence of the survey, depending on how much information was moved.

Can I move the items for my survey to a different location in my ArcGIS organization?

Moving the items for your survey in your ArcGIS organization after the survey has been published may cause both Survey123 Connect and the Survey123 website to be unable to find them, which may cause unexpected behavior.

Can I transfer my survey files to a different machine?

Yes. After publishing a survey, you can use Survey123 Connect to download your files. Sign in with your ArcGIS organizational account, and click the thumbnail for the survey that appears to download.

Alternatively, to transfer files before publishing, Survey123 Connect will display and open any survey in the My Survey Designs folder, provided all files are present in a folder and share the same file name. On all platforms, this folder can be found at \Username\ArcGIS\My Survey Designs.


Be sure to use the My Survey Designs folder rather than the My Surveys folder that may be present. My Surveys is the folder the Survey123 field app uses for its downloaded surveys.

How can I rename an existing survey?

In Survey123 Connect, the name of a survey as it appears in the gallery can be changed on the Details tab. To update the title that is displayed at the top of your survey form, change the form_title in the settings sheet of your survey's XLSForm.

To change the name of the survey as it appears on the My Surveys page of the Survey123 website, click the Edit Survey Info button on the survey's menu and edit the Name setting. To update the title that is displayed at the top of your survey form, go to the Design page and edit the survey header.

How can I delete an existing survey?

On the My Survey Designs page in Survey123 Connect or the My Surveys page in the Survey123 website, choose Delete from the menu on the survey tile. In the Survey123 website, you can also click the Delete button located at the bottom of the Overview page.

Once a survey has been deleted, it cannot be recovered.

Can I modify an existing survey?

Before you publish a survey, you can modify the survey, such as changing the question label, adding questions, reordering questions, or deleting questions.

Once a survey is published, you can make limited modifications to it. Edits that do not require changing the schema of the feature layer can be made without issue. For more information, see Update a survey.

Why can I no longer ignore SSL errors?

The option to ignore SSL errors has been disabled to address security concerns.

Why does the schema preview for my survey display the field length for select one questions as 255, when the field length for the question in the existing feature layer is less than 255?

The default field length for select one questions is 255. This is to allow for choices of greater length to be added to a select one question in a survey that has already been published. For surveys previously published or created using existing feature layers, the schema preview will always display 255, regardless of the length of the field in the feature layer. When publishing the survey again, the field length in the feature layer will be honored, and a warning will appear if changes to the choice list exceed the current field length.

Location sharing setup

How do I set up location sharing and authorize Survey123?

To use the location sharing capability in Survey123, location sharing must be enabled for your organization.

To access the location sharing capability in Survey123, you must purchase and assign an ArcGIS Location Sharing user type extension to each ArcGIS account that will use location sharing. This user type extension is included in the Mobile Worker user type and is available as an add-on for all other user types . For more information, see User types, roles, and privileges in ArcGIS Online or User types, roles, and privileges in ArcGIS Enterprise.


The Track Viewer web app has its own set of requirements for viewing location tracks and creating and sharing track views. For more information, see view tracks.

The Track Viewer web app can be used to view tracks collected from Survey123. The Track Viewer web app is accessed through your portal. How you access it depends on the software you're using:

  • If you're using ArcGIS Online—Access Track Viewer through the app launcher or by going to https://www.arcgis.com/apps/trackviewer.
  • If you're using ArcGIS Enterprise—Access Track Viewer through the app launcher or by going to https://host.domain.com/webadaptor/apps/trackviewer/ (where host, domain, and webadaptor are replaced by the information about your portal).

To use the Track Viewer web app to create track views, you must be an administrator. To use the Track Viewer web app to view tracks, the view location tracks privilege is required, and the user must have track views shared with them. For more information, see privileges in ArcGIS Online or privileges in ArcGIS Enterprise.

How do I deploy ArcGIS Enterprise to support location sharing in Survey123?

The location sharing capability is included with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7 or later and requires the spatiotemporal big data store. To learn about the various deployment patterns and recommended specs, see ArcGIS Tracker Deployment Guide for ArcGIS Enterprise.

Does Esri have an API for developers to use location sharing?

No. The logic used by Survey123 for storing, managing, and uploading tracks is not available as an API. However, you can use app links to remotely launch the Survey123 field app from your apps.

Do I need ArcGIS GeoEvent Server to use the location sharing capability in Survey123 with ArcGIS Enterprise?

No. Although both ArcGIS GeoEvent Server and Survey123 use the spatiotemporal big data store, GeoEvent Server is not required to use location sharing in with ArcGIS Enterprise.

However, you can complement location sharing with ArcGIS GeoEvent Server. By pairing the location sharing of Survey123 with the geofencing capabilities of ArcGIS GeoEvent Server, you can gain new insight into business processes. For example, you can be notified when a mobile worker has arrived at or left a work location. This insight may help you more effectively manage your field workforce.

Can I use ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server to analyze location tracks?

Yes. ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server includes many tools that can be used to provide meaningful analysis, and it is a good addition to the base deployment of ArcGIS Enterprise to learn more from your location tracks. A few examples include the following:

  • Reconstruct Tracks—Create lines from track points, showing direction and generating a new line network. The line network can then be turned into a transportation network.
  • Aggregate Points—Analyze coverage over an area, such as the area searched during a rescue operation, or the percentage of a utility corridor covered when performing an inspection.
  • Detect Incidents—Identify rapid changes in speed.
  • Find Point Clusters—Identify frequently visited locations by using a density-based clustering method on the movement of your mobile workers.

Where can I learn more about the location sharing layer?

See Track layers for more information.