How to specify the number of response options in each column list of responses for MC questions

policyandresearchpolicyandresearch New OrleansCommunity Member Qubie ✭

How to specify the number of response options in each column list of responses for MC questions

For single or multi-answer questions with more than one column of response options, does anyone know if there is a way to specify the number of response options listed in each column? For example, if I use two columns and have 8 response options, but would like 5 listed in the first column and 3 listed in the second. By default, it seems that when you select the number of columns you want, Qualtrics just divides the responses between the number of columns, and if it's an uneven number, puts the additional response in the first column.



  • JeremyKJeremyK Lenexa, KSCommunity Member Qubie ✭

    Good afternoon,
    I don't know of a way to specify how many answers you'd like in each column. I believe the Qualtrics platform sets this natively. Digging into the element a little bit in a survey Preview, I discovered this comment in the code:

    choices go top down, left to right, so a question with 4 columns and 6 choices will be: 1 3 5 6 2 4

    I've messed around pretty heavily with trying to modify Qualtrics-built tables with JavaScript and I've never gotten my tables to be clean. Granted, I'm not a JavaScript guru, but there's a lot that goes into the tables. When you start modifying them, you run into unforeseen problems, such as the alternating white/gray shading Qualtrics employs to make their tables more readable and cell padding in column 1 while you're toying with column 2. I know this isn't answer, but it might be in your best interest to reorganize your choices if you'd like the 5 to be grouped together. I'm working on creating a blank "placeholder" and inserting it into a table to do something very similar to what you're after. If I get that code working, I'll make sure to sure it here with you. Best wishes!

  • policyandresearchpolicyandresearch New OrleansCommunity Member Qubie ✭

    Thanks for looking into this. Yes, a placeholder response option for single/multi-answer questions, where the the bubble/square is not seen by the respondent (and there's no requirement for any text to be written into the response option field) would be ideal. Then I could use placeholders to manipulate which response options are seen in different columns (and just exclude the placeholder from analysis to ensure it doesn't show up in my dataset). Please do let me know if you figure out how to do this!
    Best, Hilary

  • JeremyKJeremyK Lenexa, KSCommunity Member Qubie ✭

    Just had a thought.. you could do it this way:
    For your example above, if you need 5 objects in the left column, you'd create 10 choices total (to get your 5 on one side). I've taken a screenshot and attached it to this answer for better visualization. In my example, I've got 5 fruits on the left and 3 spices on the right. I opened the Rich Content Editor on the 9th and 10th labels and added a single space (will show up as   in the html). This takes care of the labels showing, now the only problem with this solution is the 9th and 10th radio buttons.

    I have a script I use to hide non-text objects:

    let qID = "QR~" + this.questionId + "~";

    function hideElement (choiceId)
        elementToHide = document.getElementById(qID + choiceId); = "hidden";
    // Hide undesired checkboxes


    So the function hideElement is what's actually doing the hiding. The bulk of the questionId is built dynamically to make re-using this script in other questions easier, the only thing you have to pass in, in this case, is the choiceId found when you inspect the element. I can elaborate on this further if you're unfamiliar. It worked out nicely that the choiceId equals the logical 9 and 10, but this won't always be in the case. See the second attachment for how the survey loads in Preview. I also added the Exclude from Analysis as you requested so nothing weird would be picked up on the reporting side.

    Any questions, just let me know, thanks!


  • TomGTomG Raleigh, NCCommunity Member Wizard ✭✭✭✭✭


    You could use a vertical MC and add CSS to the question to switch the choice ul to a CSS grid and specify the number of rows in the CSS. You wouldn't need JavaScript or placeholders.

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