What is the purpose of Data Column Name?

I have a question called “What is today’s date”. I changed the Data Column Name to “Date”. I deploy the form, fill out the data, upload the XLS file, and the column header is still “What is today’s date”.

So where does the Data Column Name reside? Hidden in the database to be used by queries? Not quite getting this.

Hi @jblackman,

Could you kindly share with us the screenshot of the Data Column Name that you are trying to know about. We would be able to share you our thoughts about looking at the same.

Thanks again for the prompt reply.

Here is the screen shot of the field in question.


I was expecting the XLS file to have “Date” as the header.


Sorry, but I do not understand the function of “Data Column Name”.

Hi @jblackman,

The “Date” you are referring here is the variable name while “What is today’s date” is the variable label. Please note, when you download data in XLS format you will be able to see the dataset with the variable label while when you download the data in XLS (legacy) format you will be able to see the dataset with variable name. So basically, it depends on what type of data you wish to have with the download.


Got it. Thanks.


Just a brief note for a beginner, such as myself. The key for me to understand this product was to realize that the Formbuilder and the downloaded XLS file are IDENTICAL. Changes made in the XLS can be uploaded to replace the prior form and you can then use Formbuilder to make changes and download again to XLS. When you do this, you see that there are three sheets for each XLS file:


The top row in ‘survey’ shows the attributes of the question. Three are mandatory - type, name, and label. All others are optional. Each row below the top row represents a question. I think of type as datatype or question type, name as unique ID and label as caption. Note that some datatypes are followed by another unique identifer. (see below)

The top row in ‘choices’ shows the attributes of the choices. Three are mandatory - list_name, name, and label.

list_name is the unique identifier that follows the type in the survey sheet for some question types.
For example,
survey may have type = “select_one location” and
choices would then have list_name = “location”.

name = the unique ID for that choice group
label again is the caption.

Once this basic structure is understood, then many of the operations start to make sense. For example, it is easy to understand why changes in the cascading select choices should be made in the XLS spreadsheet rather than in Formbuilder. However, it is also apparent that one needs to be very careful in making changes in the XLS spreadsheet that could cause syntactical errors.

Please let me know if I have made any errors in the above statements.