Exporting, publishing, and using your data
SurveyCTO makes it easy to not only collect data, but also to export, publish, and start learning from that data. Everything you need to get started is located on your server console's Export tab. There, you will find two simple options for accessing and using your data: downloading your data directly, or using SurveyCTO Desktop. You can also start learning from your data immediately by using the Data Explorer.
You can explore your form data as soon as it starts coming in by using SurveyCTO's built-in Data Explorer. Summarize individual fields, summarize relationships between fields, and drill down to browse individual submissions.
The Data Explorer can also be used to share direct access to form data with people that do not have user accounts on your server. This can be helpful if you are working with someone who only needs access to the data from one form. See sharing data with external viewers.
Directly download your data in the most common and convenient formats, directly from your server console. Using this option, you can generate .xlsx files for use with Microsoft Excel, .sav files for use with SPSS, or .csv files for a universal data format. This option exports your data as a single wide-format spreadsheet that includes extra columns for both repeated data and multiple-choice questions, or as a series of long-format spreadsheets. See the topic on understanding the format of exported data for more details. Media files included in your data (e.g., photos or audio recordings) are included in the data as URLs that you can use to download those files, or you can download them directly from the download page.
SurveyCTO Desktop is the most flexible and powerful way to export your data. Once installed on your desktop or laptop computer, Desktop will help you to synchronize data between your computer and one or more SurveyCTO servers – and even between your computer and other computers, or between your computer and mobile devices. It provides a wide range of data export formats and options, plus: powerful tools for working offline; convenient access to the server console, Support Center, and other online resources; and more.
Data identifiers and format
Exported form data always includes a fully-unique identifier for each and every filled-out form (also known as the submission's "key") in the KEY column; use this identifier to uniquely identify and track all form data. All exported data also includes the version number of the form definition used when each form was filled out, in the formdef_version column; use this column to make sense of the data if your form has changed over time. See Understanding the format of exported data for more.
Data export reports
Every SurveyCTO export includes a data export report to help consumers of that data contextualize it. See Data export reports for more on those reports.
If you have encrypted your form data with your own encryption keys, you will need a form's private key in order to download or explore its data. If you don't have the private key, you will only be able to see data for fields that were explicitly marked as publishable. (And, to access a file attachment – like a photo or audio recording – you will need the private key, even if the field is flagged as publishable.)
In addition to everything discussed above, a range of additional options are also available to you. One of these options is publishing your data to cloud-based external platforms (e.g., Google Sheets and Zapier) for visualization, sharing, and triggering automated processes. You can learn more about this and other options in the following help topics: