Exporting Data without Note field

Is there any option to download the data without the note field. Because it also downloads all the note field in the xls format.

Hi @khasaab,

KoBoToolbox at the moment does not have an option to filter selected variables and download and download them. However, you could try the following workaround:

Please ensure the following before trying it out in the main project itself:

  • Try the steps outlined below in a dummy project so that you are able to perform the steps outlined below and your real project does not get affected.
  • It’s better to try this only if you have completed the data collection process (as trying it out in the middle of the data collection could affect your dataset).


  • Download your xlsform from the KoBoToolbox server.
  • Make a back-up of the xlsform incase you should require them in the future (and store them in a place where you should be able to access them when needed).
  • Delete all the note questions from your xlsform.
  • Replace and redeploy your xlsform.
  • Download the dataset from the project that you have just redeployed.
  • You should not see the note variable in the dataset. You could use this method to remove other unwanted variables during your data downloading phase.
  • If and in case you require the entire variable while downloading you could simply check the Include fields from all ... deployed versions as shown in the image below:
    Image 1
    or an alternative way is to replace the xlsform that you had made back-up which has an entire variables.

Note: Try this out only when you feel you are comfortable (with the dummy project).

Have a great day!

Hello @Kal_Lam ,
I think, it is the “Include fields from all …deployed versions” here?

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Hello wroos,
I dont require the fields from different deployed i wanted an option to exclude the note fields while exporting the data to excel.

Hi @khasaab
Once you consider the amendment proposed by @wroos onto the solution provided by @Kal_Lam you should be having your work around.


Hi @wroos,

Apologies, a typo error! Thank you for flagging! Just corrected!

Have a great day!

Using this workaround will also change live survey forms right? Field workers will not see the notes once I upload the workaround and until I change it back to the original form.

Another solution is to use a scripting language to edit your xlsx form like R or Python. You can also edit the xlsx form using match replace with regular expressions then delete the blank columns.

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Hi @mkmortera,

You got that correct. Yes, this approach changes the survey hence is only recommended to use once the data collection phase is complete.

Yes, this would be a good solution i.e. delete the unwanted variables through a scripting language.

Have a great day!

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