Exporting all possible survey tabs in XLS format even if no data

Hello Community,

I have a series of seven different types of surveys built into an XLSForm. After collecting responses I download the data in XLS format with XML values and headers. If I don’t collect survey responses to all seven surveys, the downloaded data only has tabs for the surveys that I did actually collect data on. Is there a way that my downloaded data can include tabs for all seven surveys, along with headers, even if there aren’t any values for some of those tabs?

I link the downloaded form to a custom built performance dashboard, which is giving me error messages if I link it to a workbook that has fewer tabs than it is programmed to accept.

Many thanks,


Welcome to the community, @acorley3! Could you kindly share with the community a screenshot of your issue so that the community can also understand your issue pictorially?

Hi @Kal_Lam,

Absolutely. As you can see in the screenshot, I deployed an XLSForm that contained my eight survey types; collected data for all eight surveys; and then exported that data in XLS form with labels. When we have data for all the surveys we are left with a workbook with seven tabs. However, for many of the users of this same XLSForm not all surveys will be relevant to their needs. As such, it is likely that when they export the data they will have fewer than seven tabs.

The issue arises when attempting to load this data into an Excel-based performance dashboard we have developed. When attempting to connect the dashboard to the XLS output from Kobo the dashboard will only load the data into its pivot tables if all all seven tabs with labels are present. If the workbook is missing one or more of these tabs it will not.

I guess that I could ask our users manually add the missing tabs into the output XLS, but this would open the possibility of corrupting either the output data or the entire file. That’s why I was wondering if it is possible to create an output with all possible tabs, even in the event that not all surveys within the XLSForm were completed. If Kobo doesn’t allow this then we will probably need to try to fix the problem through the dashboard instead.

Thank you,


Hello again @Kal_Lam ,

I’m still hoping that someone can help me with this problem. I’m still trying to export data in XLS format with labels and to include all possible data tabs, even if the user hasn’t received responses to all the questionnaires within the survey. I don’t have any filters applied to my data export. Any idea how I could do that?

Thank you,