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Autocomplete Questions & Supplemental Data

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Attention: You are reading about a feature that is currently in preview and is not available to all customers. If you are a Brand Administrator who is interested in getting this feature for your brand, reach out to your Customer Success Representative. Make sure to note if you would also like to be able to use imported data projects as supplemental data sources.

About Autocomplete Questions and Supplemental Data

Autocomplete is a text entry question type that can guess the answer a respondent’s going to give. It draws on a list of preexisting answers, which it may provide as options as the respondent types their answer. You may choose to only let the respondent provide a predetermined answer, or to provide their own if none apply.

Question that says "Employee ID." Someone has typed in a bnumber, and is getting suggestions of the whole number

In addition to drawing on a static list of options, your autocomplete can provide suggestions from Google Maps, another survey, or data uploaded to Qualtrics. Drawing from a survey or an imported data project is known as using a supplemental data source.

Qtip: To set up supplemental data sources, you will need the permission Autocomplete with Supplemental Data enabled. Talk to your Brand Administrator about enabling this permission.

Setting Up Autocomplete Questions

Qtip: A source is important in determining where the Autocomplete question derives its suggested responses from. Autocomplete cannot suggest answers if it doesn’t have information to draw on.
  1. Click Add new question.
    Creating an autocomplete question
  2. Change the question type to Text entry.
  3. Under Text type, enable Autocomplete.
  4. Select Manage autocomplete.
  5. Select an Autocomplete Data Source. The options are:
    Data source dropdown

    • Supplemental Data: The autocomplete fills in with data from another project in Qualtrics. Great for when you want to draw data from a previously run survey or a large store of data. See Autocomplete with Supplemental Data for a detailed list of steps.
    • Static List: Write out the list of options your autocomplete question should have. Each option in the list should be separated by one line. If you already have a line-separated list in another document, you can copy and paste the options into the box.
      A large text box for entering line-separated answers to a static list

      Qtip: If you have a small list of answers and are looking for a simple setup, choose Static List as your Data Source.
    • Google Maps: The autocomplete question make suggestions from Google Maps. See Google Maps Place Types for an explanation of the options available.
      Google maps option
  6. Set a Suggestion Limit. This setting limits how many suggestions can be offered to the survey-taker as they type in their response.
    suggestion limit field

    Qtip: If your list is extremely long, consider setting a shorter suggestion limit so the respondent doesn’t get overwhelmed by their options.
  7. Select Allow Free Response to allow respondents to submit answers that aren’t from the set source.
    Allow free response option bottom of menu
Qtip: You can still set a Validation Type for this free response, meaning you can still restrict what kind of answer is given. For example, for numeric Employee IDs, you probably only want a respondent to give numbers. In that case, select Content Validation and then Number.

Google Maps Place Types

You can draw answers from Google Maps in your autocomplete questions. Below is an explanation of the different place types you can select.

Google maps option

  • All Types: Draw anything from cities to places of business.
  • Addresses: Pull exact addresses. This can be helpful to ensure respondents give the correct shipping or contact information.
  • Regions: While cities and states are included, this is useful to draw on other regions such as Counties and Provinces.
  • Cities: Draw information from specific cities.
  • Establishments: Places of business, with everything from restaurants to grocery stores to amusement parks.

Autocomplete with Supplemental Data

Qtip: Curious about how supplemental data can be used, other than for autocomplete? See Customizing Survey Content Based on Historical Response Data.

Supplemental data sources are useful when your autocomplete question is going to give recommendations on large data sources or data stored in a previous survey. Here is a high-level overview of the steps to implement this:

  • Create or select a project that acts as the source of the autocomplete question’s data. For example, if you want to provide a searchable list of roles at the company, upload a project with this data saved, or select an old survey where respondents provided their roles.
  • Using Data & Analysis tools, set this project as a supplemental data source.
  • In a separate survey, add the supplemental data source to the Survey Flow.
  • Create an autocomplete question, then link it to the supplemental data source.
Qtip: The user creating the question needs to have the Autocomplete with Supplemental Data permission enabled.

Creating a Project to Act as a Data Source

Qtip: If your autocomplete will provide answers from an existing survey, make sure you own this survey or that it’s been shared with you. Once ready, you can proceed to the next steps.

The data source for your Autocomplete Question can be any project in your account. For example, you can suggest answers to respondents based on previous respondents’ answers to a similar survey.

You can upload a project and its data into Qualtrics. The easiest way to do this is using an Imported Data project, because this feature lets you upload a CSV of data without setting up a survey. Just make sure your headers are labeled the way you want them to appear in the product.

Create project window, Imported Data is selected

You can also use a survey project. Make sure you create questions  in this survey or add embedded data fields to its Survey Flow that correspond to the fields you want to import. Then follow the directions on the Import Responses support page.

Qtip: Survey project sources only pull in recode values, not answer choice labels. When using a survey project with multiple choice or multiple choice-style questions (matrix tables, side by side, etc.), it’s important to know these will be represented as numeric (1, 2, 3, etc.) instead of labels (Very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, etc.). Text entry, embedded data fields, and other open-ended data will pull exact text of responses.

Setting Up Autocomplete with a Supplemental Data Source

Qtip: When updating a data source, it can take some time before the updates are available for you to search against.
Qtip: Changes made to a supplemental data source will not change saved survey responses that pulled data from the supplemental data source.
  1. Go to the survey or imported data project you’d like to use as a data source.
    In a project called sample employee SDS. in the data and analysis tab, have the tool menu open and the SDS option indicated, third option down
  2. Go to the Data & Analysis tab.
  3. Click Tools.
  4. Select Supplemental Survey Data.
  5. Select fields you want to be available to autocomplete questions in other surveys. The fields you select here must match the fields you select in Step 14.
    Supplemental survey data window, with options specified

    Qtip: You can select a maximum of 5 fields.
    Qtip: You can go back and change these columns so long as no other survey is referencing this data. If you try to change or remove a field being referenced, it won’t let you.
  6. Click Save.
    Qtip: This process may take some time to save.
  7. Go to a separate survey, where you plan to use an autocomplete question.
    In a different survey called "phase 1 sign up." Indicating the green create question button
  8. Click Add new question.
  9. Change the question type to Text entry.
    Changing the question type to text entry in the question editing panel along the left
  10. Under Text type, enable Autocomplete.
  11. Go to the Survey flow.
    Inside the survey flow
  12. Click Add a New Element Here.
  13. Select Supplemental Data.
  14. Under Database, select the survey or imported data project from Steps 1-6. These fields must match the fields you selected in Step 5.
    Filling out SDS element in survey flow
  15. Select the columns you want the autocomplete question to be able to search on. If you have multiple autocomplete questions, you will have multiple columns selected here.
    Qtip: Click the plus sign ( + ) to add more columns and the minus sign ( ) to remove columns.
  16. Click Apply.
  17. Select your autocomplete question.
    Selected a question. In editing pane on right, manage autocomplete button in blue
  18. Click Manage Autocomplete.
  19. Set the Autocomplete data source to Supplemental Data.
    Autocomplete set to supplemental data, fields filled in as described in steps
  20. Under Data Store, select the survey you established in Steps 1-6.
  21. Under Search Fields, set the field in the SDS that should be searched. You can select more than one.
  22. Under Display field, select the field the SDS displays as you search.
  23. Under Value to be Saved, select the field to be saved with the data based on the other selections.
    Example: normally, Step 21-23 should be the same value. However, there are some use cases where this can differ. For example, Display and Search would be different if you want someone to search their Last Name in order to find their Employee ID. If you want to analyze data using Divisions instead of Roles, the Search & Display field may be Role, while the value saved is the corresponding Division the Role belongs to.
  24. Set the Suggestion Limit. This is how many options are presented to the respondent once they start typing.
  25. If you want only certain values to be suggested for this field, select Set conditions to filter suggestions.
  26. Select Allow Free Response to allow respondents to submit answers that aren’t from the set source.
  27. Click Save.

Suggestion Text Filters

Supplemental data is not merely one-dimensional; you can filter the answers suggested for one field based on values in corresponding fields.

For example, let’s say you have a supplemental data source with information on employees from every location, including your international offices. In a second survey distributed only to Australian employees, you want to ask for Role, Last Name, and other information, and provide Autocompletes to provide answers for them. Of course, you don’t want roles exclusive to your American office to appear as options, nor do you want your massive employee list making it hard to find a last name. In that case, you would use suggestion filters to limit Roles and Last Names to only those with their office set as Sydney.

Suggestion filter - if Office is equal to the text "Sydney"

Suggestion Filters must always be based off columns of data from a Supplemental Data Source.

Removing a Supplemental Data Source

You can remove a survey or imported data project from the list of data sources available in another survey (i.e., make a project’s data no longer available as a supplemental source). To do this, open the Tools menu in Data & Analysis, select Supplemental Survey Data, and select Delete [Project Name] Cache.

Delete button

Setting Up Survey Translations

When working with a translated survey, you will want to make sure the data your respondents see is translated to provide the best survey experience possible. To do this, you’ll need to create and translate a supplemental data set.

Qtip: For more details on setting up a supplemental data source, see Setting up Autocomplete with Supplemental Data.

Translating Your Supplemental Data

Qtip: These steps must be completed before you import data to Qualtrics.

In order to display translated data to your survey respondents, you’ll need to add the following to the data you want to import:

  1. A new row for each translation.
    Example: One of your products is an apple pie. You are surveying English, French, and Spanish-speaking customers. Instead of just 1 row that says “Apple Pie,” you have three rows – Apple Pie, Tarte aux pommes, and Pie de manzana – one for each translation.
  2. A Language column that specifies what language the option is. Make sure to use the Available Language Codes, not the name of the language.

Example: We will be displaying “Product Name” to our customers in either English (EN), French (FR), or Spanish (ES). We’ve identified the “Language” of each row in our Supplemental Data Set.

Data set described

Each of our example products also has a unique “Product ID” regardless of the translated value for “Product Name.” As we bring this data into the survey for our respondents, we will be displaying “Product Name” to them, but we can use the “Product ID” to tie all responses about a specific product together for analysis regardless of the language the survey-taker spoke.

Autocomplete Question

Set up your autocomplete question source to pull from the translated Supplemental Data set.

In our example, we want our users to search by and be displayed “Product Name” as they interact with our survey. For our analysis, we will be saving “Product ID”. This will ensure that we can group responses for the same product together, regardless of what the translated value was for our respondents.

In order to ensure French respondents only see “Product Names” in French, we need to apply a filter. In Qualtrics surveys, there’s an automatic embedded data field created called “Q_Language”. This field is set to whatever language the respondent is taking the survey in. We can filter our options using the “Language” field from our SDS data set and the “Q_Language” field in the product survey.

  1. Go to your autocomplete question.
    Configuring question
  2. Select Manage autocomplete.
  3. Make sure you have Supplemental Data selected under Autocomplete Data Source.
    Image of autocomplete menu as described
  4. Configure your fields according to the directions in the Setting up Autocomplete with Supplemental Data section.
  5. At the bottom of the window, select Set conditions to filter suggestions.
  6. Select the Language column you added to your supplemental data.
    Image of filter set as steps describe
  7. Keep Is Equal to.
  8. Select Embedded Data Field.
  9. Type or select Q_Language.
  10. Click Save.

Now when customers take the survey, they will be presented with translated Product Names.

In English:

In French:

Finding Values Using the Supplemental Data Element

In some cases, you may need to find the value of a field in your supplemental data by searching on one or two other fields you already have saved. For instance, you may want to display the value of a field in your survey. The supplemental data element in the survey flow can be used to search and pull in these values.

Example: We already have access to an embedded data field called “Product ID” in our survey and we need to retrieve the translated “Product Name.” We want to be able to show the translated Product Name in our survey using piped text.
  1. Go to your Survey flow.
    Image of supplemental data element in survey flow
  2. Add a Supplemental Data element.
  3. Under Database, select the project where the supplemental data is stored.
    Image of supplemtnal data source set in survey flow as steps describe
  4. Under Choose Columns to Search On, add the field for Language.
  5. Set the value equal to the Embedded Data called Q_Language.
  6. Add the name of the other field you’re using to search for additional fields. In our example, this is Product ID.
  7. Set the value equal to the field in the supplemental data that this gets its data from. In our example, this is also called Product ID, and is an Embedded Data field.
  8. Click Add Embedded Data.
  9. Select the field you want to pull in. In our example, this is Product Name.
    Image of supplemtnal data source set in survey flow as steps describe
  10. Apply changes to your survey flow.