Cascading selects for a list of approximately 600 choices


I am working on a cascading selection I have to insert in my form. I have:

  1. a question with several options which should be followed by
  2. a list of separate 600 options more or less.

The platform is working when in 1) there are only two options (e.g.: choosing the native language English or Spanish).
When in 1) there are more than two options (e.g.: Romanian and Polish as 3rd and 4th option to select native language), the items linked to the 3rd and 4th options’ items are not uploaded in the form.

Could you please help me?

I attach you the excel form for the cascading selection.

PhD data.xlsx (86.9 KB)

@giangiax, if you have a long list of choices, and you wish to make a cascading select question for the same you could design it using the select_one_from_file as outlined in the post discussed previously:


Thank you for your email.
I am working for a moment on your suggestions but I did not manage to find a solution.
I “only” have a Q1 asking for participants’ native languages and in Q2 a list of 600 words for each native language.

I tried to complete and use the select_one_from_file form; I upload it on the survey but it doesn’t work.
Where I have to upload the form you are suggesting?


@giangiax, maybe you will need to play around with the xlsform that has been shared to be familiar with the cascading select.

Ok, but which ones? How can will upload them in my form?

Go through my post shared previously and then, you should see a sample xlsform there.

Hi, thanks for your reply.

What you suggested it’s not my problem.
I have a question with a set of options (ideally at least 15) and then for each of these 15 options, I will have 680 different options.

Now, at the first cascade list, I only have 4 choices and it’s running really bad (slow or it does not run).
Here is an example of what my cascade effect element looks like.

What do you suggest?

Hi @giangiax
I would recommend the following article on external select. Can you confirm if this will work for you?


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I am not currently using XLSform. I inserted questions by hand and add cascading select copying and pasting from an excel file I have.
So do you suggest to work with XLSform and an external file for the options of multiple-choice questions?


Hi @giangiax
When working with such a large set of responses, I prefer using XLS since it helps me address various issues


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I tried to follow your instructions, but I had issues.
I tried two strategies:

  1. Following this article, I simply should paste all the multiple choices (N=680) for each choices (N=4, for the moment) in a XLSform and I will turn into point 2)

  2. I also tried to build a Web version with select_multiple_choice with external choices, but the output gave me an error suggesting to ask assistance to solve the issue (I attached the screenshot). And I think it will run not so good since I will have long list of choices.

Waiting for your feedback.

Thanks for your support,

@giangiax, please be informed that the select_one_from_file and the select_multiple_from_file is supported through the xlsform but not through the form builder UI. Thus, this is the reason why you are seeing the error message. You could however still proceed your survey project and you should still be able to collect your data.

I still have problems in selecting multiple choices (select_multiple type question) specific from a select_one question. (After having chosen the child’s native language, parents have to fill in the words pronounced by their child the target native language).
In detail:

  • I think the choice filter is wrong because the two questions appear consequently. The second answer does not appear after and only after having selected only one option.
  • The options for the multiple-choice question do not appear. Why?

Here the XLSform and the output of kobotoolbox.


Maybe you will need to go through this support article Adding Cascading Select Questions to understand how a cascading select form is designed.

No, It doesn’t work in that way because there are too much options and the form can’t run because there are too much options.
How can I proceed?

Have you tried out this approach, it should solve your issue:

Yes, I have already tried. When I created the csv file, I had issues in uploading to the form the csv files. Following add a media file to upload a csv, it is impossible to upload a csv in the settings > media. Only multimedia files are allowed there.
(Finally, I didn’t get why I should create csv files if at the end I have to paste it in the XLSform. Should not be easier to directly create it in the XLSform?)
I attached you the data with select_one and the following select_multiple questions. I’d like to kindly ask you to drive me to succeed in uploading the document. Please, it’s more than one week I am working on that and I can’t go on. Thanks in advance!

@giangiax, am curious to know the server you are working on as you say you are not able to upload the csv file under the SETTINGS> Media.

Please note that CSV files should also be uploaded there.

I have intel i5 8th gen, windows and I use Chrome.

I mean which server?

For an HHI account, the login URL is:

While for the OCHA account, the login URL is: