KoBo - Tips & Tricks (Power BI, email notifications, listing projects etc.)

Hi everyone, Here is a collection of useful tips & tricks related to KoBo toolbox. Most of the examples are based on the UNHCR KoBo server, but still applicable on others.


There’s a short tutorial on how to connect Power BI for analyzing data (and working with multiple choice questions/repeating groups), How to enable email notifications (for new submissions) through Microsoft Flow, a form that quickly displays all your active projects, a tool for downloading project images etc.

Will be updated in the future. Cheers and happy holidays!


Thank you for sharing. Very helpful indeed.

Hi Bareta,
Thank you for sharing, very useful!
A little quick question, this link between PowerBI and Kobo only works if the data are public right?
I’m trying to bypass this limit but the only thing i found, working with private data, is to download locally the results from kobo (in excel or other) and use PowerBI to collect that database locally in a datawarehouse. In this situation i can follow results just actualizing my powerBI desktop (previously designed)

Thank you for sharing any tip on this issue of privacy. We are working with sensible data during an electoral period so…

Hope you had good holidays,

Hey Quentin. The data actually does not need to be public in order for this method to work.

You will be using basic authentication through Power Bi, so no need to make the data public.


Thank you for your answer.
The truth is that i tried it to monitor surveys, therefore every hour has new observations. In this case, i cannot just refresh the source of data to update my powerBI desktop.
When the survey ends, i can use this system to get the last data from kobo yes, but not to follow it day by day. I therefore works locally always downloading the data base from kobo in Excel for refreshing my powerBI desktop with an excel data source.

But it’s probable i’m not doing it well so i will try again.

Thank you,


Hola bareta,
Therefore i did try your system and it totally works even with private data! Thank you a lot!
I was previously following this method (very similar so i thought it would be the same):
The previous system i was using was very similar but it doesn’t work with private data… Possibly the way to get the first link in the UNCHR page allow it. With yours it works!

Thank you again anyway!


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Sorry, had a typo in my response above. Just to confirm, the data does not need to be public for analyzing it directly in power bi :slight_smile: As for monitoring surveys, you could look into setting up e-mail notifications whenever there is a new submission (instructions also available on the page above). That way you will at least know when there is something to refresh. All the best, and good luck!

Thank you for sharing this tips :slight_smile:

I’m trying to link KoBo with MS Flow base on the instruction in the link. However, it seems to work only if I have Premium Subscription of MS Flow. Is there any other way I can link KoBo with MS Flow with a free subscription?

Sarayu H.

Hi @bareta, the email notification method works pretty well on kf.kobotoolbox.org, but for some reason is not working on kobo.humanitarianresponse.info
Any idea why this might be so?

Hi Bareta,
Thanks a lot for the tips…
I am pretty much interested in the " Retrieving KoBo records for editing using Power BI" part, for a project I am doing to manage a the stock in a warehouse.
Do you have any idea of how to reach the submission in the “kobo.humanitarianresponse.info” instance…
In your post you mention: https://im.unhcr.org/kobosupport/link/index.php?xformid=” & [_xform_id_string] & “&recordid=” & Text.From([_id]) but this is for UNHCR instance…
But when I go to a submission from the edit tab I get something like…


Following your method I replicate the colum and get it to look as you mention:

So far so good,
but when I click the link, i get…an error in the browser (CHROME)
I presume this can be relate to loggin in …
then I went to :
And logged in…with mi username and pass for KoboToolbox…

and they are “stored”…
SADLY, still no ACCESS…
Any guess here?


So yeah, the method that’s in the guide only works with the UNHCR instance - because it uses a scrip that is “pointing” towards the UNHCR server.

The script actually takes the xform_id and _id from the PBI URL and passes them to KOBO (alongside your credentials). Kobo then responds with a temporary edit Link - and the script re-directs you to that link.

If you want to try it on a different server - try using this URL

(just change the IDs)

If you pass these parameters to the kobo server (and if you are logged in), it should return the temporary link you can use for editing.

The script we use just streamlines the process a bit, so that you can go straight to editing…


Hi, sorry - I did not test it on that server. But setting up the REST service should follow the same logic. Just make sure that the submission is “reaching” flow.

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I don’t think that you can do it with a free account. Before it was possible - but Microsoft changed the “http request” part to PREMIUM.

Maybe you can find a different platform (other than FLOW) that can do a similar thing. Or request a free Premium trial?


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Thank you!! Can you explain how I can check that? I am very very new to this so not entirely sure what reaching the flow means. I did the same steps as in kf.toolbox.org.

Hi @eeshatariq,

Backing up with what @bareta has suggested, I can confirm that the email notification works both on HHI as well as OCHA server. I just tested it out and it worked perfectly for me.

Have a great day!

Using the same methods? I’m sorry I don’t know what I’m doing wrong really

Hi @eeshatariq,

If your Microsoft Flow configuration and your REST settings are OK for HHI it should work in a similar way in OCHA.

Please check your configurations that has worked for HHI and replicate the same in OCHA.

Have a great day!

Hi Bareta,
I tried again with the info you provided…
But in my data I have the “_id” I dont see the “xform_id” parameter…

I then found figure it out (should have been before)…that it is the “form name”…like in the Kobotoolbox website…

then tried adding it as a parameter in PBI…
I create the link and if gives me this:

Thatis pretty similar to what I once had…but if I actually copy paste this in the browser again, It open the form for editing…
Any way I can get it to open automatically ( iguess this is your script) ?

Anything else I could do? to have this last step automatic?
Thanks for the help!

Yeah - That is pretty much what the script does. In the end it picks up the response “URL” and re-directs you to the form for editing, without user input.

Not much that you can do there - apart form instaling a json viewer plugin for your browser, so that you can at least click on the link instead of doing copy-paste.

Sorry. Best,


AWESOME…It looks less neat then the UNHCR one, but does the trick pretty well for my needs.

I can click and edit from POWER BI to KOBO!!! Pretty good day to start the WE!
Thanks Mr Bareta!