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When users fill out one of your survey forms, they generally start with the first relevant question, fill it out, and move forward, repeating this sequence question-by-question until they reach the end. That represents the most basic – and the most linear – way that users can navigate through your form. There are other possible methods of navigation, however, both within your survey form itself and within the built-in SurveyCTO interface provided for navigating forms.

Within a field or group label, for example, you can hyperlink to another field or group by simply adding a ${fieldname} or ${groupname} reference (hyperlinked references are always enabled for web forms; on mobile, enable the Hyperlink field references option in SurveyCTO Collect). For example, say that you have two different modules for two different respondents (in groups named "module1" and "module2"), followed by a concluding section for the surveyor (in a group named "module3"), and you want to offer surveyors the option to easily fill out these modules in any order. Just before module1, between module1 and module2, and between module2 and module3, you can add note fields that reference ${module1}, ${module2}, and ${module3} in each of their labels. When hyperlinked field references are enabled, these group references will display hyperlinked labels that the surveyor can use to jump to any of the three modules.

Survey modules as independent forms
While modules inside a single survey form have their advantages, it is also possible to have each module as a standalone form. Case management can be used to organize them together as a single survey observation. If data from one module is required inside another, offline server dataset publishing can be used to seamlessly connect your forms using server datasets — without an Internet connection.

You can use these kinds of hyperlinks to add quicker access to menu-style navigation wherever you think it's most appropriate. A few notes on employing this kind of form navigation:

  1. When colored form navigation is enabled (which it always is for web forms; on mobile, enable the Color form navigation option in SurveyCTO Collect), hyperlinks to groups will be colored red if one or more required fields within the group still require responses; otherwise, the links will be green if no required fields remain. This can help users who are jumping around within a survey to remember which groups of questions still require responses.
  2. When entering label text into Excel, you can include line-breaks by pressing Alt+Enter on Windows or Control+Option+Enter on a Mac. (Note, however, that a lone line-break between two field or group references will be ignored. If you have a series of group references on separate lines without any other text, you will need to add commas at the end of each line, bullets like * at the beginning of each line, or something else between the lines; that way, the line-breaks will not be ignored.)
  3. If you reference a repeat group within a field or note label (as in ${repeatgroupname}), then hyperlinked labels will be displayed for all instances currently in that repeat group.
  4. In the label for a repeat group, you can reference one or more fields within the repeat group itself. Thus, for example, if you have a repeated set of household roster questions that include household member names, you can refer to the name field within the repeat group's label. This can help when reviewing or navigating the form.

SurveyCTO also provides a built-in user interface for navigating forms, which appears whenever somebody (a) returns to a form after having saved it earlier, or (b) clicks on the Go to Prompt option while filling out a form (on most devices, this is a button with an arrow pointing to a dot). This interface lists all relevant fields in the form along with their current responses, and it allows the user to jump to any field (or to the end of the form). A few notes on how you can optimize this built-in navigation:

  1. To visibly organize fields in the built-in interface, put those fields inside groups with "organized" in the appearance column of their begin group rows. Each organized group's fields will appear indented under the label for that group. (And if you want a group's fields to be "folded up" by default – so that the user needs to click on it to expand its list of fields – specify "organized-closed" in the appearance column of the begin group row.)
  2. If you want the list of fields to include lists of repeat-group instances, disable the Auto-collapse repeat groups option in SurveyCTO Collect. By default, only the overall label for the repeat group is shown, and the user must click on that label to show the list of instances. (Whether this list is shown immediately or needs to be expanded, the fields within a repeat group can only be shown once the user clicks on which instance to display.)
  3. If you want fields and groups to be colored green or red based on whether or not they have been completed, enable the Color form navigation option in SurveyCTO Collect (all non-required fields will always show as black, and coloring is always enabled for web users).

To make it easier for users filling out repeat groups to keep track of where they are, review data entered so far, and navigate around, you can put "table" or "table-labeled" in the appearance column of your begin repeat rows. That will add a summary table underneath your repeated questions, which users can use to review data and jump around as needed.

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