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Contacts Basic Overview

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About Creating Contact Lists

Contact lists are mailing lists used to distribute survey invitations. Contact lists are also called panels or, simply, lists. They contain each contact’s name and email address, in addition to any other information you feel it’s important to include. The benefit of building a good, detailed contact list is that, in addition to making survey distribution easy, you can save information about your survey-takers ahead of time, and add it to their responses.

Contact lists are managed on the Contacts page, where you can create new lists, create samples of lists, and manage existing lists. Qualtrics has three options for building a contact list:

Qtip: Want to watch a video on how to use Contacts? Visit Collecting Feedback on XM Basecamp for a guided learning experience. Access is included as part of your Qualtrics account.

Available Contact Fields

Whether you add contacts manually or by uploading a list, it’s important to consider the type of information you want to include about your contacts beforehand. You can add any information you want to your list, but we also have a few default fields you should be careful to name exactly as listed:

  • Email: The contact’s email address. (This field is always required.)
  • FirstName: The contact’s first name.
  • LastName: The contact’s last name.
  • ExternalDataReference: Extra information about the contact. This is most often used to store data such as an employee or student ID.
  • Language: The language the user should see the survey in. This field has a pre-defined set of Available Language Codes. EN, for example, refers to English, while FR refers to French.

In addition to these five, you can add as many custom fields as necessary. Examples of fields you might want to add to your list include gender, state, country, occupation, position, supervisor, etc. Once these custom fields are added to your list, they are considered Embedded Data.

Embedded Data saved in your contact list can be attached to the responses of your contacts. That means before the recipient even starts the survey, you have information stored about them in the response, and don’t have to waste time asking for this information again. To include your custom fields in your reports and downloaded data, you must navigate to the Survey Flow and add an Embedded Data element for those fields.

Qtip: If you’ve exported an existing contact list, your exported file will have a RecipientID column. RecipientID can only be used to update existing contacts. If you import a file with a RecipientID column into a new contact list, no new contacts will be created.

Creating a Contact List Manually

  1. Go to the Contacts page.
    The Contacts link on the upper-right and the Create Contact List button on the top-right of the page
  2. Click Create Contact List.
  3. Name your contact list.
  4. Assign your contact list to a folder (if no folder is assigned, your list will be placed in the default “Uncategorized” folder).
    the Create Contact List window with the Name and Folder fields empty
  5. Click Next.
  6. Select Add Manually.
  7. Fill in the Email, First Name, and Last Name for your contacts. Optionally add extra information in the ExternalDataReference and Language columns.
    Add Contacts window with a spreadsheet of contact information
  8. If desired, add additional fields (Embedded Data) by clicking the green plus sign ( + ).
    Add Contacts window with custom Gender and Age columns
  9. In the first row, enter the name of the field. In this example, we added Gender and Age.
  10. Fill out the information for each contact.
  11. To finish, click the green Add Contacts button.

Importing a Contact List from a File

  1. Go to the Contacts page.
    The Contacts link on the upper-right and the Create Contact List button on the top-right of the page
  2. Click Create Contact List.
  3. Name your contact list.
    the Create Contact List window with the Name and Folder fields empty
  4. Assign your contact list to a folder (if no folder is assigned, your list will be placed in the default “Uncategorized” folder).
  5. Click Next.
  6. Choose Import From a File.
    Import from a file in blue in upper-left of contact creation
  7. Create a file in Excel or another spreadsheet software. Alternatively, you can download our example CSV contact list by clicking on the blue Example Document link.
    Example Document link highlighted on the lower-right of the Add Contacts window
  8. Make sure you have a column titled Email.
    Spreadsheet with Email column highlighted
  9. Fill out / add other desired columns (FirstName, LastName, Language, custom Embedded Data fields, etc.). Note that order of columns doesn’t matter. However, spelling, capitalization, and spacing does matter.
  10. Add contacts to your spreadsheet, with one row for each contact (each contact must have an entry in the Email column, though other columns may have blank cells).
  11. Save the file as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) with UTF-8 encoding, or as a TSV (Tab Separated Values). Note that the maximum file size for a contact list upload is 100 MB.
  12. Back in Qualtrics, click Browse and select your file.
    Browse button in the center of the Add Contacts window. Verify Fields on bottom of Add Contacts window, first column highlighted. Add Contacts button on bottom-right of Add Contacts window
  13. Review the Verify Fields preview of your contact list. If a field has not been properly recognized, click on the field name to view a dropdown of options and select the correct field.

    Qtip: If the data is not formatted correctly in the preview (e.g., bunched up instead of divided into columns), your data may not be separating (or “delimiting”) correctly. To fix, select the blue Show Options link and choose a different Delimiter and/or Enclosure.

    Browse, Reload, Delimiter, and Enclosure fields

  14. Click Add Contacts.
Attention: Are you having trouble uploading your file? See our CSV/TSV Upload Issues page for additional instructions.

Importing a Contact List from a Survey

Attention: This feature is not available in the new user interface. You can accomplish the same task by exporting your data and importing the relevant fields as a new contact list.

You can also create a contact list from contact information you collected in a survey.

  1. Go to the Contacts page.
    The Contacts link on the upper-right and the Create Contact List button on the top-right of the page
  2. Click Create Contact List.
  3. Name your contact list.
    the Create Contact List window with the Name and Folder fields empty
  4. Assign your contact list to a folder (if no folder is assigned, your list will be placed in the default “Uncategorized” folder).
  5. Click Next.
  6. Choose Import From a Survey.
    Import from a Survey tab in the Add Contacts window
  7. Select a Project to import contact information from.
  8. Select Only include responses within a specific date range if you want to limit which responses you’re building a contact list from.
  9. Select either to Create new contacts or Update existing contacts.
  10. If desired, select to Add Contacts’ Response History.
  11. Click Next.
  12. Fill out the Question and Response (part of the question) that corresponds to each piece of information.
    Last steps of Importing from a Survey
  13. Click Add Field to add additional fields such as Embedded Data, ExternalDataReference, or the respondent’s Language. Click the minus sign next to a field to remove it.
  14. When finished, click Add Contacts.

Using Contact Lists in Distributions

Now that you’ve created your contact list, let’s talk about all the ways you can use them to distribute your surveys.

Emailing a List

The best way to send an email to a contact list is to head on over to the Distributions tab of your survey. From there, you can send survey invites to your contacts.

Distributions tab within specific project

However, if you’d like to email a contact list without including a survey link, you can do this right inside the contacts list.

Emailing without a Survey Invite

Attention: This feature is not available for all users.
Qtip: Emails sent without a survey will appear in the contact’s personal history. However, they will not appear in any survey distribution’s history, because they are not attached to a survey.
  1. Go to the Contacts page.
    Going into contacts and selecting a list to email to
  2. Find the list you want to email.
  3. Click the dropdown arrow.
  4. Select Send Email to List.
  5. Compose your email.
    Email draft

Attention: In order to comply with the federal CAN-SPAM Act, it is advised that you include an opt out link in every email that you send to individuals outside of your organization.

Clicking the button to insert an opt out link

Qtip: When emailing respondents, remember to create mailings that have value to them. The more emails contacts receive emails that annoy them, the more likely they are to opt out of your contact list!

Managing Contact Lists and Samples

The Contacts page isn’t just for making new lists – it’s also for managing the ones you’ve already made. Check out these pages for more information on managing contacts and creating samples.

  • Purchasing Contact Lists / Respondents: Providing panels to researchers has turned into a robust industry. If you’re interesting in purchasing a panel from Qualtrics, reach out to our Research Services team here.
  • Edit Contacts in a List: Learn to import updates to a contact list, add more contacts, delete contacts, subscribe and unsubscribe contacts, and consolidate duplicates.
  • Manage Multiple Lists: Learn to delete lists, filter list contacts, export lists, share lists, or move lists into folders.
  • Creating Samples: Learn to break existing lists into subsets.

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