Data from Select_Multiple Questions seen in server and not seen in downloaded Excel File

In my Kobo form they’re several ‘select_multiple’ questions. I can see the results to these questions in KoboToolbox data sheet but when I download the data to excel, my results for one of these ‘select_multiple’ simply do not appear. The columns are blank instead of 0 or 1. What could solve this issue? Thank you!

Hi @charlotte_sch,

Kindly please check one of the followings:

  • Ensure that skip logic have not affected the case (as if there is a skip logic that would skip the question, you would probably not go through the select_multiple question.

  • Also please check the EXPORT button once to download the latest version of the data-set that is in the server. If you simply download the data-set that has already been downloaded in the past, you may not have the updated data that is seen in the DATA Table and may have the incomplete data.

Please let us know if this was of help!

Hi @charlotte_sch and @Kal_Lam

Facing a similar issue i guess. The condition here is that I have a CSV file attached to the form with a list of names (column name: employeenames)

One of the multiple select questions in the form is to select the names that are present for a seminar. The question choice list_name is employeespresent
name is employeenames
label is employeenames

While filling up the form the names of the employees shows up as intended.

I see that the submission (after syncing) in Kobo Collect shows the selections as made during entry. Under Data >Table>Open - The response can be seen for the Select_Multiple question.

However, when i download it, either as an xlsx or as a CSV file, the corresponding columns is blank without any responses. One column is the Select_Multiple question whereas the other column is the Select_Multiple question with the label (employeenames)

Is there something that is incorrect in the form configuration? How is it that data entry works as intended, but data storage and export doesnt?

Hi @AnirudhPrasadh,

Could you kindly upload your XLS forms so that we would be able to identify your problem better?

That would be helpful @AnirudhPrasadh, could you kindly share those as well.

Hi Please ignore the previous attachment - Realised its the form where we removed multiple select - Links belowAttendance Form - Multiple Select.xls (25.5 KB)
participantdatabase.csv (4.5 KB)
database2.csv (1.4 KB)

Thank you @AnirudhPrasadh, will go through it and come up with a solution.

Hi @AnirudhPrasadh,

Sorry for getting back to you a bit late. I too tried with your form and found that the information you were seeking from the data was present in the Data>Table>Open but could not find it while downloading in the XLS version.

However the good news for you is if you download the data-set through the XLS (legacy) you will see the response captured from the multiple response.


1 Like

Hi Kal_Lam

Thank you. It does work in XLS (Legacy). We have a plan to transfer the data via the Rest API. Do you think the data will be seen there properly? Or will there be an issue in the API call as well?

Hi. I have a similar requirement of transferring previously collected data via REST APIs (specifically /data/csv_import). I was able to import most of the data types, except values for “select_multiples” questions. I see the values for select_mutiples fields in the downloaded XLS (legacy) files, but importing the same data via API doesn’t populate the value.

Is this a feature that’s not supported by KoBoToolbox at the moment?


Hi @sg_2020,

Welcome to the community! Would you mind sharing with us a screenshot of the issue so that we better understand your case.

Have a great day!

Thanks! Sure, I can share more information and screenshots. However, it seems like I can only attach 1 screenshot in a reply. So I can try to send all the information in multiple messages.
My use case: I have a “select_multiple” field and I select 2 values (cattle & sheep) for it.

I see the above data correctly in the UI -> Data -> Table.

I get the CSV below from API:

Then I use the above CSV file for csv_import by removing the column: meta/instanceID (because I get 500 error if I keep this column) and I see 1 row updated. However, the updated row now looks different than before. The value of column “Which livestock are present?” is now blank. It’s value was “Cattle, Sheep” before the update. And I see a new column called “Which livestock are present? /sheep” and it’s value is “True”.

Note - I’ve reached the limit of 3 uploads here and can’t attach any more screenshots.

I expected the data to be the same as before the update, since I didn’t change any values in the CSV file. But maybe I’m missing something here or doing something incorrectly?

From your explanation, I think I can guess what is the issue

Generally, there are two approaches of parsing data from multiple responses

  1. All the selected responses are mentioned within the same column as you noted on your firs instance

  2. Each select response item is mentioned as a column and denoted as either true (when selected) and false (when not selected).

So ideally the API pulls the data as shown in the 2 above. This simply means you have your data accurately captured. You only need to change how you process your data post the capture. As it is this is not a problem at all considering that most of the requests we have had are to create the multiple response items as variables/columns. This is what 2 does and presents to you.


1 Like

Thanks for your response!
So It seems that by default, KoBo’s data APIs presents & parses data using approach 2 (i.e. each select response is mentioned as a column), but by default UI presents the data using approach 1 (i.e. all selected responses are mentioned within the same column). Am I right?
Also, if my CSV includes 2 true responses (using approach 2), e.g. for Cattle & Sheep, I select “livestock/cattle” = True and “livestock/sheep” = True, after updating the data, I see this. It’s a screenshot with 2 rows of data. Second row is from data submitted through the UI, and first row is data uploaded though csv upload.

Since I had "livestock/cattle = True, I was expecting another column called “Which livestock are present? /cattle” with value “True”.

If we end up with data in mixed format, how does this affect the reports? Will the reports continue to show the accurate frequencies, percentages and graphs?

If anyone has any insight or something to share about my comment above where multiple responses (in their individual columns with value True/False) aren’t getting updated in KoBo correctly (only one column gets updated and rest don’t), please let me know. Any response is appreciated!


Can you download the CSV and send it on a private message for us to look at it?


While trying to upload the csv to my reply, I’m getting a message this message “Sorry, new users can not upload attachments.”.
Hence copying the csv data here:
7/12/20,,sg,43.325178 -71.494489 0 0,43.325178,-71.494489,0,0,AkokwaImo-11_2_19.jpeg,yes,n/a,True,n/a,n/a,n/a,n/a,n/a,n/a,uuid:f4e1a0d1-bb9e-44c9-8370-efcc93ef21b9,f4e1a0d1-bb9e-44c9-8370-efcc93ef21b9,2020-07-13T15:02:33,
2020-07-12,,sg,41.771312 -75.012312 0 0,41.771312,-75.012312,0,0,AkokwaImo-14_2_2.jpeg,yes,True,True,False,False,False,False,False,vkuq4Qz6qrHqYFFMexVp7C,uuid:5ba49604-8565-4ba9-bcbd-b547d3774d52,5ba49604-8565-4ba9-bcbd-b547d3774d52,2020-07-13T18:03:01,

I’m going to copy the csv data here. Sorry. While trying to upload the csv file here, I get this message: “Sorry, new users can not upload attachments.”.

7/12/20,,sg,43.325178 -71.494489 0 0,43.325178,-71.494489,0,0,AkokwaImo-11_2_19.jpeg,yes,n/a,True,n/a,n/a,n/a,n/a,n/a,n/a,uuid:f4e1a0d1-bb9e-44c9-8370-efcc93ef21b9,f4e1a0d1-bb9e-44c9-8370-efcc93ef21b9,2020-07-13T15:02:33,,
2020-07-12,,sg,41.771312 -75.012312 0 0,41.771312,-75.012312,0,0,AkokwaImo-14_2_2.jpeg,yes,True,True,False,False,False,False,False,vkuq4Qz6qrHqYFFMexVp7C,uuid:5ba49604-8565-4ba9-bcbd-b547d3774d52,5ba49604-8565-4ba9-bcbd-b547d3774d52,2020-07-13T18:03:01,,