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Formatting Answer Choices

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About Formatting Answer Choices

Once you’ve created a question and formatted it the way you want, it’s time to add some choices for your respondents to pick from. This page will cover all the ways you can add, remove, and customize the answer choices to your questions.

Adding Answer Choices

To add answer choices, select the question and then click the plus or minus sign beneath Choices on the editing pane to choose how many choices you want your question to have. You can also click directly on the number of choices and type the number you’d prefer to have.

Choices field in the question editing pane is set to 4

Click directly on the text of an answer to edit it. You can start editing the next answer choice below it (or add a new choice if you’re at the end of the list) if you hit the return or Enter key while editing an answer choice, as seen below.

Adding choices to a question by typing and pressing enter

Editing Answer Choices

To edit an answer choice, simply click the answer choice in the survey editor and type the choice into the text box.
Editing an answer choice

Qtip: Click the arrow next to your answer choice for more answer choice customization options, such as adding answer choice display logic or changing the choice’s font. See Additional Dropdown Options for more information.
Attention: If you’ve already collected data, be careful when editing answer choices so you don’t invalidate your data! See Editing an Active Survey for more information about what edits are OK.

Edit Multiple

You can edit all of your answer choices at once by using the Edit multiple feature.

  1. Select the question you wish to edit.
    In the survey builder, selecting a question and clicking "edit multiple" from the choices section of the editing pane to the left
  2. On the editing pane to the right, select Edit multiple.
  3. In the text box, type in each of your question’s choices, separating new choices with line breaks.
    A new window opens where you can list options. At the bottom-right of the window are buttons for Apply & Cancel
  4. Click Apply to save your changes or Cancel to eliminate them.
Attention: The Edit multiple feature is disabled as soon as you collect data on your survey. This is to prevent invalidation of your data. If you copy a survey where this feature has been disabled, the copy will also not contain the Edit multiple feature.

Suggested Choices

Qualtrics has suggested choices that can help you build questions. These contain answer choices for common survey questions, such as demographics or asking satisfaction on a standardized scale. To add suggested choices:

  1. Select the question you want to add these choices to.
    Adding suggested choices to a question
  2. Enable Use suggested choices.
  3. Select the choices you want to use from the dropdown.
  4. If desired, select Reverse order to use choices in the reverse order, e.g., from “agree to disagree” instead of “disagree to agree”.
  5. Under Choice display, select between one of the following:
    • Show all: Select this option to add the suggested choices and give each scale point its own choice text.
      Example: In this example, we added suggested choices for “agree” to “disagree,” so each answer choice has text.
    • Show first and last: Select this option to insert the suggested choices but only give the first and last scale points their own choice text.
      Example: In this example, we added suggested choices for “agree” to “disagree,” so only the first and last answer choices have text.
  6. If desired, adjust the number of suggested choices you need. Since these are based on text provided by Qualtrics, you will not be able to decrease the number of choices past a certain point; you can always add extra answer choices, in case you want to include an additional option, such as “N/A” or “Don’t know.”
    the choices option for changing the amount of automatic choices
Qtip: Suggested choices may appear on your question automatically. The software looks for key terms and builds out answer choices for you. For example, in the screenshot below, the software recognized the phrase “How satisfied” and built out a Likert scale accordingly. Disable this by deselecting the Suggested choices checkbox for the question, or click the dropdown to select a different choice list.

Additional Dropdown Options

When you click to edit an answer choice on a question, there’s a dropdown with lots of useful settings that can enhance your choices. For example, if your list of choices includes “Other,” you can add a text box to this choice so the respondent can elaborate; you can add display logic to a choice, so that respondents don’t see choices that are irrelevant to them; you can open the rich content editor, and change the font color and size of your answer choice; and much, much more.

The dropdown arrow next to a choice being edited expands into a menu

Qtip: Some of these options will vary depending on the question type and format you are working with.
  • Allow Text Entry, Text Entry Size, and Text Entry Validation: Enables text entry on the answer choice (e.g., an “other” text box) while also allowing you to choose the text box size and any specific requirements for the text entry answer.
  • Rich Content Editor: Allows you to edit the formatting of your answer choice by adding bolding and font effects, inserting images, and more.
  • Insert Graphic: Allows you to insert an image as part of the answer choice.
  • Exclude From Analysis: Excludes the data for this answer choice from data analytics and reporting. The data for answers marked as Exclude From Analysis is still recorded, it is only ignored in analyzing the data.
  • Insert Piped Text: Inserts piped text, which dynamically displays your desired text based on the respondent.
  • Add Display Logic: Allows you to add display logic to answer choices, so you can hide or show certain answer choices when conditions are met.
  • Assign to Group: Allows you to group answer choices together.
  • Move Up & Move Down: Allows you to move your answer choices up and down in the list.
  • Remove Choice: Deletes your choice from the question.

Allow Text Entry

Sometimes you may need to give respondents an option outside of your list of answer choices. Allow Text Entry lets you add a text box to your answer choice, allowing respondents to enter their own answer choice.

Example: Let’s say you ask respondents to pick their favorite ice cream flavors from a list. If their favorite isn’t listed, you can create an “other” option for the respondent to specify their favorite flavor.
An "other" text box in a multiple choice question
Attention: Allow Text Entry is not compatible with dropdown multiple choice questions.

Adding & Removing Text Entry on Answer Choices

  1. Select the answer choice you’d like to add text entry to.
    allowing text entry on an answer choice
  2. Click the arrow next to the answer choice.
  3. Select Allow Text Entry.

To remove text entry from a question, follow the same steps above.

Text Entry Size

Once you’ve allowed text entry on your answer choice, you can choose the size of the text entry box.

  1. Select the answer choice with text entry.
    selecting the text entry size
  2. Click the arrow next to the answer choice.
  3. Select Text Entry Size.
  4. Choose the size of your text entry box. Your options include:
    • Small
    • Medium
    • Large
      Qtip: Preview your survey to make sure you like the size of your text entry box!

Text Entry Validation

For answer choices that have Allow Text Entry enabled, you can force participants to input only a certain type of text response. For example, you might be looking specifically for a response that includes only numbers.

  1. Select the answer choice with text entry.
    adding text entry validation to a text entry box
  2. Click the arrow next to the answer choice
  3. Select Text Entry Validation.
  4. Choose the type of validation to use. Your options include:
    • Force Response
      Qtip: If the respondent chose the option with text entry on it, they have to fill out the text box. For example, if you chose “Other,” you cannot submit the question without specifying your choice.
    • Valid Email Address
    • Valid Phone Number (You can choose the country)
    • Valid US State
    • Valid Postal Code (You can choose the country)
    • Valid Date (You can choose what format)
    • Numerical Value
      Qtip: This validation allows respondents to use periods (.) and commas (,) as part of their numerical value.
    • Text Only (Non-numeric)

Insert Graphic

Insert one image into the answer choice. See Inserting Graphics into Answer Choices for a full guide on using images in answer choices.

On a choice in a question, the blue dropdown expands a menu, and one of the options is insert graphic

Qtip: You can also insert images into an answer choice using the Rich Content Editor.

Additional Graphic Options

Once you’ve used the Insert Graphic option, additional settings will appear in the dropdown.

Graphic Size dropdown

  • Edit Graphic: Choose the graphic to insert into the answer choice. This can be from your library, or you can upload a new image to your library.
  • Edit Text: Text for the choice that displays with the graphic.
  • Text Position: Make the text display to the top, bottom, left, or right of the graphic.
  • Remove Graphic: Remove the graphic from answer choice.
  • Graphic Size: Change the size of the graphic. You can choose from preset dimensions, or choose Custom to adjust the size manually. If you’ve resized the image, you have the option to select Show full size when clicked. This means the image will change back to its original size when the respondent clicks it.

Exclude from Analysis

When an answer is excluded from analysis, this means the data is hidden from data and reports (not deleted). This means the excluded value will not be used to calculate averages, sums, or other aggregate metrics; will not appear in filters or data exports; will be automatically excluded in Stats iQ; and will be hidden in recorded responses, Results-Reports, and Advanced-Reports.

Example: Let’s say you’re collecting feedback from students about a training you ran, and you ask your respondents to rate the training on a scale from 1-10. You include a “N/A” option for respondents who may have missed the training. You can mark the “N/A” option as Exclude From Analysis so it does not influence your data analytics, such as calculating the average score of the training.
  1. Select the answer choice you want to exclude.
    marking an answer as exclude from analysis
  2. Click the arrow next to the answer choice.
  3. Select Exclude From Analysis.

Once enabled, the choice will be marked with a symbol. You can change this setting at any time without deleting your data; this option merely hides the data.
a choice was marked as exclude from analysis as indicated by the circle with a slash through it

The following text is not case sensitive and will automatically turn this setting on:

  • None of the Above
  • NA
  • N/A
  • Not Applicable
  • I Don’t Know
  • Don’t Know

Make Answer Exclusive

Some questions let respondents select multiple choices at a time. But sometime we want to provide a choice like “None of the above,” which doesn’t make sense to pair with any other choices. Make Answer Exclusive ensures that an answer can only be chosen by itself.

Example: Let’s say you ask respondents to select which store locations they’ve recently visited. You include “None” as an answer for respondents who have not visited your stores. You can then mark “None” as Make Answer Exclusive so respondents can’t select that option with other choices. In the below example, we can see the other selected answer choices are automatically deselected when the respondent selects an exclusive answer choice.
  1. Select the answer choice you want to make exclusive.
    making an answer exclusive
  2. Click the arrow next to the answer choice
  3. Select Make Answer Exclusive.
    Qtip: If you do not see this option, that means your question doesn’t allow multiple answers.
    In the quesiton editing pane, section for "answer type," with options for allow one answer and allow multiple answers. You want allow multiple answers to be enabled

Once this option is enabled, that particular answer choice will be marked with a symbol and will not be able to be selected with other answer choices.
Image of the asterisk-like symbol next to an answer choice after marking it as exclusive

Assign to Group

You can group your answer choices together to help keep yourself and your respondents organized. This is especially useful for long lists of answer choices.

Qtip: The Assign to Group option isn’t available for all question types and format. If you want to use choice groups but don’t see the option available for you, try changing the question’s formatting.
Example: In this example, we ask respondents to select what products and services they’ve purchased from us. We group together similar items to make organization easier.choice groups visible in the survey editor

Assigning Choices to Groups

  1. Click on the choice you’d like to categorize.
    Opening a series of menus from the blue dropdown
  2. Click the dropdown.
  3. Hover over Assign to Group.
  4. In the New Group field, type a group name.
  5. Press Enter or return on your keyboard.
  6. When you go to assign the next choice to a group, you can select the one you just made, or create a new one.
    Opening the same series of menus to see Products is now listed as a group, above the field where you can add a new group
Qtip: You can add display logic to answers in a group. If all answers are hidden, the group title will not appear.

Customizing Groups

Click into a group’s name and click the dropdown to view additional options for customization. For example, you can make one group single select and anther multi-select.

Dropdown menu

  • Hide Group Title: Hide the group title in the survey editor and when taking the survey. By default, this option is not enabled and respondents will be able to see your group titles.
  • Rich Content Editor: Edit the name of the group and any corresponding images or font effects using the Rich Content Editor.
  • Move Up / Move Down: Move the entire group up or down the question.
  • Selection:
    • Single Answer Within Question: When you choose an answer from the group, this is the only answer you can provide for the whole question.
    • Single Answer Within Group: When you choose an answer from the group, this is the only answer you can provide for the whole group. You can still select answers from other groups.
    • Multiple Answer Within Question: You can choose any number of answers across the question, regardless of group.
  • Randomization:
    • Use Question Randomization: Use the question’s choice randomization settings. This also means that if you have no randomization settings, none will be applied.
    • No Randomization: Do not randomize the answer choices.
    • Randomize the order of all choices: Randomize the choices within the group.
  • Remove Group: Delete the group. When this happens, all choices in the group are saved, but no longer belong to a group.

Move Choice Up & Down

Move the choice up by one or down by one by clicking the dropdown and selecting Move Up or Move Down. This does not affect your data, but merely rearranges your answer choices in the question.

Third and second to last options in dropdown are to move the choice up or down

Qtip: These options come in handy if you are adding new choices to a survey that’s already collected data. See Testing / Editing Active Surveys for more details.

Removing Choices

Delete the answer choice by selecting Remove Choice from the dropdown.

Last option in the menu the blue arrow opens

You can also use the keyboard to delete a choice by clicking inside the text box of the answer choice and pressing the Backspace or Delete key until the text is gone and the text box turns red.
gif of deleting an answer choice by pressing backspace until the choice turns red and then is deleted

Qtip: If you try to delete an answer choice that has data associated with it (i.e., you have already gathered responses), you will be warned that deleting the choice could invalidate the results. See Editing an Active Survey for more information about what edits are OK to make.
the confirmation window for deleting an answer choice after having collected data