Bring forward data from prior record

I have read multiple postings related to this issue, and I do not think that what I want to do is possible - but I will ask again just to be sure.

We are gathering data on health visits. Let’s say we have 60 providers at 40 locations who each see up to 50 patients per day. They will be using KoBoCollect in the field with no connectivity, uploading once at the end of the day.

Is there any way to bring forward the data in the prior record for

  • provider name (in a single select list + skip logic for ‘other’)
  • location and health center (currently in a cascading list)

This is especially an issue if the provider is not listed on the drop down list and has to enter their name in a text box with each patient encounter.

I cannot use groups for the visit information as there is quite a bit of skip logic. I could change to Web Forms, but this creates a somewhat more complex database but also a more complex interface for the user. However, I think this will be necessary if it is impossible to bring forward the basic information as described in Collect. I would appreciate any thoughts/advice.

Hi @jblackman
Normally I would consider this as a definate “NO, there is no way to directly do it” . However it could be worth checking the discussions that happened here around the same. I saw @Xiphware had chimed into the discussions.

Thanks for the response. It appears that there has been work in KoBoCollect for two years to implement a “previously entered answer” function. However the function is not yet available, and I don’t see any activity on this in the last 6 months.

A workaround is to have a main form which utilizes repeating Groups. Then static data can be entered once on the main form and variable data can be entered in the Groups. This entails significant data manipulation on the back end to re-create the individual records.

The alternative is to have our users enter their name, location, and other static information 50 times a day. This is not too hard if select lists can be maintained, but tedious if text entry is required.

Neither choice is optimal.

Note: We had to switch to Web Forms since KoBoCollect does not allow skip logic inside Groups, and that was required in our application.

FYI this functionality has been recently added to ODK Collect; see However, you may have to wait a bit till its picked up by Kobo’s fork.

To be clear, skip logic does work within regular groups, but to date field-list groups (ie multiple questions visible on the same page) have not dynamically refreshed in Collect, hence the skip logic would visually appear to do nothing. However, this (should) have been fixed recently in ODK Collect; see [caveat: I’ve not tested it myself yet]. But, again, you may have to wait for Kobo to pull it in…

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Auto-fill seems to have been added to ODK Collect. However, I don’t have enough technical knowledge to try this in KoBoCollect. I hope that someone will create a Help topic on this fairly soon. Also it seems that a bug was reported several days ago, so maybe we just need to wait.

On the other hand, skip logic DOES seem to work in field-list groups. I had read where it did not work but had not actually tested it in Collect. Back to the drawing board…

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Sorry to be the bearer of good news… :wink:

Thanks for your response! If I figure out auto-fill, I will make a note of it. Also want to look at ODK Collect - wondering if there is any advantage to KoBoCollect.

The biggest problem that we have with KoBo is how popular these forms are becoming with our team!

[My $0.02] KoboCollect is ostensibly a rebranded fork of ODK Collect. If you want to live on the ‘bleeding edge’ and play around with the latest-and-greatest ODK features coming out then it is relatively easy to get the ODK Collect app to talk to the Kobo servers [both talk the same OpenRosa API]. But if you you are not technically inclined and need an XForm client that has already been tested and guaranteed to be compatible with KoboCat, then obviously stick with KoboCollect; that’s the advantage.


When auto fill is released, will it be a feature in the KoBoToolbox or only available in KoBoCollect? We would certainly want this feature to also be available in Web Forms (Enketo). Still trying to get a handle on this issue.

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@martijnr has be involved in the auto-fill/prefill spec discussions, and he would be in the best position to confirm if and when (and how) this feature will be available in Enketo.

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It’s been a few months. Has the auto-fill (bring forward from prior record) feature yet been added to KoBoCollect?

Our use case is a team of medical providers seeing 50 patients per day who will need to enter location and provider name 50x/day before entering diagnostic information on the individual patient. We did not want to use repeating groups since the tablet may be used by multiple providers or a different locations during the day and we want to display visual confirmation at each patient encounter of the provider name and location. However, 95% of the time, the provider information is the same from record to record. Thanks.