Cascading multiselect options vanish with repetition of roster

Dear KoboCommunity,

learning a lot the last couple days from you people here! Thank you for this! Now I stumbled upon a problem that I can’t quite figure out myself (probably because I don’t know about certain basic properties of Kobo and the environment). Maybe you can help :slight_smile:

So I have a multiselect question where respondents can select multiple activity topics they participated in. Depending on the selection, a new roster is generated containing a group of questions. Now the first question (multiselect again) in this group is asking for the specific type of activities that were done. Here I inserted cascading, similar to country->district. Though a person can select multiple “countries” (Activity topics).
The problem I’m facing is that when I only select one activity topic at the beginning it works fine. But as I select a second activity topic the possible answers for the question concerning the activitiy type (“district-level”) vanishes.

Any clous and hints would be appreciated :slight_smile:

P.S. I would really like to attach the example, but it is not allowed for new users… Though I’m hoping I’m not the first person to stumble upon this problem.


test_act.xlsx (25.1 KB)

Welcome to the community @Dano! You should now be able to upload your xlsform in the community. If you still are not able to please refresh your page. It should then let you upload your xlsform.

Thank you @Kal_Lam, added it to the OG post for a better overview.

Seems like it is working at my end:

Image 1: When selecting Advisory

Image 2: When selecting Job placement

Here i selected 2 choices and i could see both the choices at my end.

I tried this xlsform:

test_act.xlsx (25.8 KB)

Note: I slightly made some fix (gave a name i.e. Group for row 7 and renamed buisness_prospects to buisness_prospects1 in row 23 as row 22 already had the name buisness_prospects) there.

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Dear @Kal_Lam,

thank you for the fixes! Though the problem still persists, as it is not connected to the repeating but the cascading. I’ll explain below with pictures.

Question in row 8 (activity_type) should be conditional on the selection made in the question activities (row 2). So when I only select 1 activity (row2) it looks like this (Notice that the first question of the group block is depicting fitting multiselect options:

Here it works as intended.

But when I select a second activity (row 2 again) then the multiselect options for the activity_type question (row 8) vanishes. This is true for both options. Also when I go back to only select activity in row 2 after selecting more previously it does not restore the multiselect options:

Hope this helps to illustrate the problem a bit better :slight_smile:


Hi @Dano
I would recommend trying this workaround which should solve your issue.Cascade Select for Select Multiple.xlsx (26.8 KB)


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Hey @stephanealoo,
thank you for this idea! I also played a bit more around with the problem and it seems to me that somehow the parser/Kobo (don’t really know which part of the tool) does not recognize a new repeat roster as a new entity that gets full evaluated again after e.g. a first roster was already evaluated. Thus when using the automated position calculation it always depicts the multiselect options from the first selected choices in the first question for all repeated rosters.
Maybe somebody with more insights into the back end could provide some insights on automated ways to cope with this problem :slight_smile:

Thank you all for helping out!

Hi Dano,
The below is interesting and surely a thing to look at.

As a general rule, I normally lay out any complex logic on a piece of paper to map out the best way to customize them. I believe if we think more critically about the repeat, we could find a way of rewriting your approach. One that came to my mind was potentially using groups without considering repeats. This is because your number of repeat instances is not so many. In addition, from an analysis perspective, it makes it easier to trace the predefined groups as opposed to repeating groups based on similarity. So to achieve the most efficient functionality for your cascade selection as well as the practicality of analysis, I would strongly recommend you consider using predefined groups.


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