Survey Platform - Drill Down | Qualtrics

Drill Down


The Drill Down question is used to help respondents choose from a long list of options. Respondents first pick from a general drop-down list and from their answers are presented with specific follow-up lists to “drill down” to their answer.


Example: To make the selection of a particular car make and model, have the user first select the year and then the make. From there, the applicable models will be displayed.

Setting Up a Drill Down Question

  1. Create a spreadsheet in Excel or other similar program.
  2. Include a column for each drop-down menu you would like included in your Drill Down question.image01
  3. Include a row for each possible combination of choices for the drop-down menus.image07
    Qtip: Need an example? Here’s a link to the file used for this page: Car Make and Model Example. Just copy and paste the lists into an Excel Worksheet.
  4. Save this file as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file.
  5. In Qualtrics, add a Drill Down Question type to your survey.
  6. Click the blue Click here to add answers text on your Drill Down question.image05
  7. Click Browse and select the CSV file you’ve just saved.image04
  8. If the data preview appears correct, select Import.


    Qtip: Got some strange formatting in the preview? Try clicking Show Options on the top right of the preview and selecting a different Delimiter or Enclosure, such as a semicolon.
  9. Type out the labels for each of your drop-down menus.image08
  10. Preview your question to check your drop-down menus.  You can also click on the Preview Survey button.

    Warning: Be particularly careful when editing a Drill Down after you’ve started collecting results. If you insert choices to the beginning or middle of the CSV file, you will invalidate your collected responses. (Adding choices to the very bottom of the CSV file is fine though.) Visit our page on Editing Active Surveys for more information on this warning.

Data Analysis

Once your responses have been collected, Qualtrics offers various methods to create reports both in and out of the platform. From the Reports module, you can view aggregate data with pre-made reports as well as create your own. From the Data & Analysis module, you can view and manipulate your survey responses on an individual basis.


There are seven visualization types available for Drill Down questions: Simple Table, Bar Chart, Line Chart, Pie Chart, Breakdown Bar, Statistics Table, and Gauge Chart. For more information on these visualizations please visit the linked visualization support pages.
Note that each drop down menu in your drill down is viewed in a separate visualization, they cannot be combined in one visualization.

Downloaded Data Format

Answers as Labels: For a more readable data output, we strongly encourage selecting to represent Answers as Labels when downloading Drill Down data. With this option selected, the text of the choices participants select are displayed in the downloaded file rather than the numeric coded value of each choice.
Answers as Values: With the default download settings, your data set will include a column for each drop-down menu in the Drill Down question, and the coded value of the answer selected in each.
Each possible combination of answers that can be selected within a Drill Down question is given its own coded value, according to the numbering scheme below.
A quick trick to see the coded values for your specific question is to download the file that would be sent to translators if you were running a multi-language survey. This file can be retrieved in the survey editor by opening Advanced Options (top right of your survey) > Translate Survey, and clicking the Download File icon above your primary language.