Beneficiary IDs: Identifying beneficiaries across different forms or different submissions of a form

thank you very much for your work on KoBoToolbox, it’s helping out a lot with our projects.

For the current project we will collect information from beneficiaries across time (multiple submissions of a form, or different forms), and then we would need to aggregate all information collected about a specific beneficiary.

I assume this is a common usecase but I could not find suggestions for “best practices”: what do people do in this case, how do they generate a unique ID for each beneficiary, and how do they look it up when filling a second form for a beneficiary that already has an ID?
Does excel support these kind of “sql join” operations well (“give me all information for a given ID”)?


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Maybe you could do it as follows:

The other option is as follows:

Here is another example:

In addition to this, we also have a support article Creating Unique Serial Numbers in Forms which should help you solve your issue.

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Thank you very much @Kal_Lam . Using the suggestions in those posts I can generate a unique ID either using a timestamp or some form answers.

When filling a second, different form, how can we look up these unique IDs? E.g. how can we search among existing unique IDs to reuse the ID in a second form?

Thanks in advance,

@eguiraud, could you explain me more on this:

Sure! We envision the following workflow (but we are open to suggestions :slight_smile: ):

  • during a first interview with a beneficiary, the PERSONAL_INFO form is filled and submitted, and a unique ID is associated to the beneficiary and uploaded as part of the form
  • after some time, for some of the beneficiaries, other forms (e.g. REFERRAL_TO_SERVICE or SERVICE_FEEDBACK) will be filled and submitted, and we need to make sure to use that beneficiary’s unique ID in these other forms so we can aggregate all this information together in an excel spreadsheet that shows, for each beneficiary, their PERSONAL_INFO but also their SERVICE_FEEDBACK if they submitted it.

So, when filling a second or third form, how do we figure out which was the beneficiary’s unique ID? E.g. is there a way to do a quick search through the PERSONAL_INFO forms for the person’s name?

Thank you for being so responsive by the way, I really appreciate it.


@eguiraud, kindly please be informed that this is a work-in-progress features which shall be released soon.

You could follow the same through out GitHub:

For details, you could also see our Roadmap/Release Plan here:

Thank you for pointing out the upcoming “dynamic linking of project data” feature! I am not 100% sure how I will be able to use it to look up the unique ID associated to a beneficiary (maybe it integrates with the “pull data” functionality?), but I will wait until the feature is finalized to ask further questions then.

In the meanwhile if some Kobo user had the same usecase please let me know how you solved it.
I think we will have to ask the data collectors to manually search the database for the unique ID of the beneficiaries before they add more forms that relate to them.


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Hello @eguiraud,
In case, you missed it. This feature is available meanwhile, see