Record validation (post submission)

My question is regarding validation of data after it has been captured and tabulated in Kobotoolbox. Currently the only option for the validator is to choose approved, not approved and on hold. We want the validator to also add notes to the record if there is any issue, as a simple “not approved” will not be sufficient for us.

Is there any way to have a text input within the form that’s invisible to the field enumerator but visible to the validator, so that he can add his notes in that text field?

Or is there any other workaround?

What you therefore need is a question text that is hidden. You can do this by adding the question and setting it visible column to false in XLS form design. This text question will not be visible to the enumerators. You can however add the text when editing.


I wasn’t able to get this to work. I added a column named “visible” and I set the value to “false” for one question, but it still showed up in the android app.

Hello @stephanealoo,
Two additional questions, please

  1. Is the validation variable (hidden) part of the deployed XML/X form already or is it added after submission?
  2. Can this validation variable be read for programming, like in relevant?

Thanks in advance.

Would appreciate if you can check whether I am making any mistake, as I could not get your solution to work.

Hi @ks_1
Kindly have a look at the following article

Could you explain more of what challenges you are experiencing after that and if possible share the XLSFOrm version that you are using?



I’ve attached my test excel sheet, please have a look.
Basically the android app and the submission editor follow the same logic so I am unable to hide a question from one and have it show in the other.aP6DeS5pR82bwL97rzEn8q (1).xlsx (10.3 KB)

HI @ks_1
You needed to redeploy a version where it is not hidden before you try editing on the online version. So this would only work if you had closed the fieldwork and you do not need the field staff to see the hidden question. Too bad this workaround may not work for you though.


No, because we wanted to do the validation while the data collection was going on.

Hello @ks_1,
A workaround might be:
To have a filtering entry field with a special (secret) code for the supervisor, which will control by relevant clause the additional variables to fill by the supervisor. (In KoBoCollect you might perhaps use one of the metadata for this, like username or phonenumber.)

1 Like

This seems like a good idea. Any idea how to have a text box that shows up only if the device ID contains “ee”? (Editing from enketo)

Hello @ks_1,
Have a look here, you may use on of these string functions, like starts-with or contains.

May I ask you to share your final solution example with the community here, please?


The contains() function works: I am able to hide the text box from the original surveyor based on the deviceID. However, the issue is that once the instance is submitted, the deviceID stays locked at the original even when the instance is opened for editing from the data tab. So the text box still stays hidden.

Hello @ks_1 ,
Did you try to edit and save twice, on server level? Sorry, I don’t know if the deviceID will change after the first edit.

Otherwise one of the experts might help to find another metadata/internal element which could be used (like submission date is set).

Your question for post submission add-on edit is a general demand, so, hopefully the community can provide a good solution.

Side note: I would prefer starts-with, as you this is safer for “ee…” (I don’t know if … ee … may happen in local deviceIDs.)

Hi @ks_1,

Maybe the following workaround would help you solve your issue. It’s a small tweak with how you design your survey form and how your supervisor edit the same in the KoBoToolbox server.

xlsform Designing Phase:

In the survey tab of your xlsform:

In the choices tab of your xlsform:

Image 2

Data Collection Phase:

Data entry screen as seen in Enketo:

Note: Here the enumerators should not enter Supervisor while collecting data.

Data Validation Phase:

Data seen in the KoBoToolbox server:

Edit the submission (for data validation):

Edit the submission (for data validation):

Note: Here the supervisor should make small edits by changing the enumerator’s name to Supervisor. Doing so, the supervisor will see the remarks for the submission.

Edit the submission (for data validation):

Note: The supervisor should make changes and then submit the submission back to the KoBoToolbox server.

Data seen in the KoBoToolbox server:

Note: Once the changes are made, the supervisor could then mark the validation status as Approved.

1 Like