Editing data (with Enketo = default) not possible when using external csv?

Dear Stephane

Thanks so much for joining the discussion.

I will work on suggestion #1 soonest possible, but can react to suggestion #2 immediately: I didn’t change the linked example, just opened a form in KoboCollect and received an error message when arriving at the select question. Indeed, with my original approach, search in appearance worked perfectly for collection, but then I discovered the issue of not being able to use the single edit function in Data/Tables – which is the still unsolved core issue.

Not sure whether related: I followed the instruction for select_one_from_file to use the same term for “name” in the survey sheet, for “list_name” in the choices field (which the example above doesn’t) and for “list_name” in the csv file – however, the latter has no influence on the selection (fully determined by the content in “choice-filter”. So, I wonder: Is the instruction wrong (like the example above seems to have a bug)? Can you point at a perfect description of how to use select from file properly (and thus allowing editing later)?

Kind regards

Gesendet von meinem BlackBerry 10-Smartphone.

Von: Stephane Aloo via KoBoToolbox Community Forum
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 5. Mai 2021 21:11
An: York Lunau
Antwort an: KoBoToolbox Community Forum
Betreff: [KoBoToolbox Community Forum] [User Support/Data Management] Editing data (with Enketo = default) not possible when using external csv?

stephanealoo Core Team
May 5

Hi @york_rff
I would like to join this conversation and picking up from the discussion trail, I would like to request that you just make some minor tweaks on your CSV naming so that we see if its resolves the issue:


  • Proposed change: Could you change the name of your CSV file from imageto facilities_na_test.csv
  • Rationale: This change tests the hypothesis that inclusion of - instead of _ may be causing an issue in the system during editing and not during data collection.


I would also like to revive one issue that you had probably set aside


I started out with the example questionnaire from Creating a form with cascading select, from a list in an external csv file - User Support / Form Building - KoBoToolbox Community Forum

First of all, this questionnaire created an error message on KoboCollect right for the first question: “File: …forms/EXAMPLE Selects with Choice Filter Search with from file_2-media/cbes.csv is missing.”

I would really like to check your form and see what could have been the issue with how you wrote this. My experience with this search() parameter has shown that this approach actually works quite easily even with large data CSV data sets.

"Closing Remark"
Kindly start with Support Issue 1 and then update as you look at issue 2,


Hi Stephane

My other reply was somehow attached to MY last contribution – please see above.

On suggestion #1: I created a simplified xlsform (only left the cascade select questions in) and renamed the csv without using ANY special characters. Same result: using the form (collection) is no problem, but editing is not possible: " Error occured during the loading of this form. It is recommended not to edit this record until this is resolved.

Please contact support@kobotoolbox.org with the link to this page and the error message below:

  • Failed to load data from /media/get/https/kc.kobotoolbox.org/york_rff/xformsMedia/673180/1399606.csv"

Here are the files: facilitiestest.csv (140.3 KB) test_no_specialchar.xlsx (20.8 KB)

So, by switching to select FROM FILE I don’t gain any editing power and additionally lose the Data/Reports view… :frowning:

@york_rff, here is a good example of how you could use a cascading select question with select_one_from_file (this should solve your issue):

Taking a very quick view at the provided xls and csv files, I already saw things which might not be in line with the official description. Anyway, I just uploaded the two files to kobotoolbox, but when trying to get blank form on KoboCollect, an error was reported. So this can’t be an ideal example.

Interesting – the example I cited in the beginning of the thread ( id_names.csv (9.0 KB) test.xlsx (42.0 KB)) also didn’t work - it even had “search search” in one of the cells. So there really seems to be a lack of proper documentation on how to use the select_one_from_file (with all features working, incl. editing on Data/Table)?

@york_rff, could you let me know the server your are using so that we could have a look there? Or see if there is any issue with the server?

Projects | KoboToolbox

(Is is this what you were asking for?)

@york_rff, I confirm that the post I shared above (cascading select with select_one_from_file) works both with KoBoCollect android app as well as Enketo. I tested this with the HHI server as you say it does not work at your end.

Hence, would request you to give it another try. It should work.

OK, I took a closer look and managed to find the mistake: the lines on district and village needed to be deleted (if only the States_Code.csv is put to the server).

However, it brought me back to one of the error types already mentioned: I am able to collect and upload data with KoboCollect and I am able to open the saved forms in Enketo (Data/Table/pen-icon), but if I submit the changes, the submission fails:
“Authentication required. Please authenticate here in a different browser tab and try again.”
If I follow the link, I can login (“Username and password are stored. You can close this page now.”), but if I go back to the submission error page, I can get rid of the error message by clicking OK, but on “Submission”, the same error message returns.

Does it play a role that the error message says “ee” at the beginning, and not “kf” (kf.kobotoolbox.org)?

@york_rff, did you face this by yourself? It’s a different issue especially with the login. cascading select with select_one_from_file should not affect this issue.

My (yes: personal) experience is that the various error messages only appear, if I try various ways to make use of the selec_one_from_file. Was that you question? Otherwise, please rephrase.

Just another observation which makes me believe that the select_from_file feature is not stable: The last example (the one you shared: State_Code…) didn’t do what the documentation says: Using the same term in survey, choices and external file. But I went one step further: I deleted the list_name column of the csv – and it still works (except the non-saving issue). So select_from_file really seems to look only at choice_filter – if empty, it shows all entries in the “name” column of the csv and otherwise only the lines with the conditional value in the defined column of the csv. So all these descriptions are not really correct and maybe the scripts on the server aren’t either?

Could you share with us a screenshot (or maybe a short video recording) of the issue that you are facing? Maybe that would be helpful for us to understand your issue further better?

Sure: https://we.tl/t-ce2lbrTG6q

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@york_rff, thanks! The video was very helpful to understand your issue. Will have a look at my end. In the mean time would you mind trying this in a different browser to see that solves your issue?

@york_rff, I just made a try, and I confirm that I could edit it on my end. I tried this with the OCHA server using the Chrome browser.

Additional information: I tried it with this workaround discussed and shared here:

Good idea! First impression = at least the reaction is different: When trying the same in Firefox (instead MS Edge), again I was asked to authenticate, but then something green popped up and was quickly replaced by a German (?) saying thank you for my participation (?). In the original window, the form had closed. After refresh the table reflected the change, but when I tried to edit again, there was an error message and “thousand” browser tabs get opened by further attempts. But again – much more success than before, let me try to establish a more reliable process (e.g. be closing each new tab immediately).

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Would be great if you use the workaround I shared with you.

Indeed, I will try, However, the first attempt with the real form (many questions in the survey and many data in the csv-file) lead to a known error message even in Chrome: * Failed to load data from /media/get/https/kc.kobotoolbox.org/york_rff/xformsMedia/673757/1400467.csv – although the respective file opens nicely, if I complete this to a URL: https://ee.kobotoolbox.org/media/get/https/kc.kobotoolbox.org/york_rff/xformsMedia/673757/1400467.csv

@york_rff, maybe it would be easy for me if you provide the following through a private message:

  • Username
  • Project name
  • Server (seems to be HHI)

@york_rff, would you mind trying it with the file shown in the image below:

I just tried and had not issues with it.