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Manage Questions

Questions form the structure of a CiviForm program. When a CiviForm Admin creates a question for one of their forms, the question is saved in the global question bank. When programs reuse the same question, all Applicant data related to the question gets autofilled. This reduces duplicate data entry and ensures accuracy by using previously vetted information.

Create a question

Watch the video or follow the step-by-step guide below.
Create new questions in the shared question bank.
  1. 1.
    Sign in to CiviForm as a CiviForm Admin.
  2. 2.
    Click Questions on the navigation bar.
  3. 3.
    Click Create new question and select a question type. For more details on question types, go to Question types.
  4. 4.
    Enter the information for the question.
  5. 5.
    Click Create. The new question appears in the list of questions.
Tip: You might want to develop a naming convention for your questions. For example, address-residence, address-work, etc.

Question Export Settings

When a CiviForm Admin creates a question, they must choose an export setting. The export setting controls whether data will be exported in the demography CSV, which is the CiviForm Admin's exported data. The export setting does not affect the Program Admin's exported data. The CiviForm Admin selects one of the following data export options:
Don't allow answers to be exported - the answer won't appear in any way in the exported data.
Export exact answers - the raw answer as provided by the applicant will appear in the exported data.
Export obfuscated answers - the raw answer as provided by the applicant will not appear in the exported data, and instead, an "obfuscated" answer will appear. Obfuscated means that the applicant's answer to the question is cryptographically obscured, exporting text that is unique to the applicant's answer but does not reveal what the original text was. It is impossible to derive the applicant's original input from the resulting exported value. Only other questions with the exact same answer will have the same exported value.
For example, in a social security number question, the following inputs would result in the corresponding outputs:
Input: 123-45-6789 Example obfuscated output: d158596dd5a6cae6fcb282832885631553ecc8c8b0bf07f84c4aa691953cd0da
Input: 123-45-6780 Example obfuscated output: 01ba4719c80b6fe911b091a7c05124b64eeece964e09c058ef8f9805daca546b

Edit a question

You can edit both unpublished and published questions. To edit published questions, you need a new version. For more details on versioning, go to Manage versions for programs & questions.
  1. 1.
    Sign in to CiviForm as a CiviForm Admin.
  2. 2.
    Click Questions on the navigation bar and select a question.
  3. 3.
    Click Edit draft.
  4. 4.
    Modify the question information fields.
  5. 5.
    Click Update.

Archive a question

If a question is no longer in use by any program, you can archive a question.
  1. 1.
    Sign in to CiviForm as a CiviForm Admin.
  2. 2.
    Click Questions on the navigation bar and select a question.
  3. 3.
    Click Archive.

Restore an archived question

When you restore an archived question, you can use it in your programs. You can restore an archived question up until the next version is published. For more details on versioning, go to Manage versions for programs & questions.
  1. 1.
    Sign in to CiviForm as a CiviForm Admin.
  2. 2.
    Click Questions on the navigation bar and select an archived question.
  3. 3.
    Click Restore archived.

Question types

You can customize your program to include multiple different question types. The table below shows the supported question types, along with the expected data input.
Type
Use case and expected data
Address
An Applicant’s address. For example, residential, work, mailing, school, etc.
Currency
Currency questions are formatted with a decimal point (.) as a separator between the dollars and cents.
Useful for asking income and debt-related questions (e.g. wages, benefits received, loan amounts, etc).
Checkbox
Useful when Applicants need to check multiple items to answer the question fully.
Tip: If you want Applicants to select only one option from a group of options, use a Dropdown or Radio Button question instead.
Date
Suitable for capturing dates. For example, date of birth, graduation date, employment start date.
Dropdown
Useful for long lists (>8 items) of static data where a single selection is required. For example, a daycare program restricted to certain daycare sites.
Email
An Applicant’s email address.
Enumerator
Allows applicants to create a list of one type of entity. For example, household members, vehicles, jobs, etc.
Enumerators do not store question data. Instead, the data is stored within the repeated questions within the enumerator.
Enumerators also allow you to dynamically add multiple questions whenever needed, reducing program clutter. For example, you can create a repeater to ask the same questions for every member of an Applicant’s household.
Enumerator questions must be the only question in an enumerator screen.
File Upload
Allows Applicants to upload files to support their application. For example, PDF files and images (PNG, JPG, GIF).
File Upload questions must be the only question in a screen.
ID
Useful for requesting identification or account numbers. For example, a resident's utility account number.
Only numeric numbers are allowed. The minimum and maximum length for this field can be defined in the question settings.
Name
A full, legal name.
Number
Applicants can enter a numeric value. For example, annual household income.
Numbers must be integers only with no decimals allowed. Users can increase or decrease the number using the arrow buttons within the field.
Radio Button
Suitable for a short list (<=7 items) of static items where the Applicant is required to select only one option. For example, simple yes/no questions or employment status.
Tip: If you want Applicants to select multiple options in a question, use a Checkbox question instead.
Static Text
A free form field that includes the ability to add bullets, accordions and urls to a screen. For example, to create a welcome or warning screen within your program.
Formatting Tips:
For a bulleted list - start a line with star (*) and space( )
For accordions - start a line with 3 hash signs (###) followed by a space ( ) and the accordion header, followed by a right angle bracket (>) with the text for the accordion. [Note: You will need to publish the question to preview the accordion content]
Urls will render on the site
image
Example of resident-facing experience:
image
Text
A free form field that can store letters, numbers, characters, or symbols.