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Importing Data Using the View/Edit Responses Report


It is possible to perform advanced data alteration within Decipher, including appending data, adding respondents, and/or modifying record data.

The Import Data function within the View/Edit Responses report allows you to import data from external sources and perform advanced analysis directly within Decipher.

To be imported, external data must be provided in .xls or .xlsx format and structured similarly to a raw Crosstabs export.

1: Preparing the Source File

Before you can import data from an external source, you must ensure that your data file meets the following requirements:

  • Contains at least the survey's unique identifier variable (key variable), and one respondent record.
  • Includes any changing respondent data, survey variables, and new variables.
  • Uses data values. When importing data, text responses are interpreted as open-end responses.

All import data must also be uploaded using an Excel file with the following format, where respondent data is listed vertically and survey variables are listed horizontally:


While the names of any variables with changed user data in your source file should match the names of corresponding variables in your target survey, you do not need to include the entire data set in your source file. Conversely, if you import a variable with all its data deleted in the Excel file, you will overwrite any existing data for that variable with blanks.

Virtual questions and quota tables will not be available for import via the Data Importer.

To save on file upload time, we recommend importing only the variables that will be changed, along with respondents' unique identifier (key) variables.

If you would like to import data from another Decipher survey, you will need to use a raw data export from Crosstabs. Click here to learn more about downloading raw survey data.

2: Uploading the Source File

Once you have prepared your data file, navigate to the "View/Edit Responses" report for your target survey:


In the View/Edit Responses report, click "Import Data" at the top right:


Users must have at least Edit: Data and Edit: Survey permissions to import data.

Then click "Choose a File" and locate the desired file. Once selected, both the filename and size will be displayed in the upload menu for confirmation. If everything looks good, click "Load Data File" to start the upload:


You can also click the "x" next to the file name or "Cancel" to abort the process and select another file.

3: Modifying the Source Data

Once you have successfully uploaded your data file, you will automatically be redirected to the Data Importer page, where a table containing your imported variables and tools is visible. There are a variety of data modification options available within the Data Importer. See below for a quick description of each:


1. File Name: The name of the file selected for import.

2. Key Variable: The unique identification variable used for matching records between data sets. Click to select a variable from the drop-down menu.

3. View Project Datamap: The current datamap for your project.

4. Import Data: Click to import to the survey. This button is disabled by default, and will only be enabled once a key variable is selected and all import warnings are resolved.

5. Selected: Displays a count of the variables you have selected.

6. Selection options: Click either "Include" or "Exclude" to include or exclude the selected variables for import.

7. Select All: Check this box to select all variables.

8. Imported Variable: The name of each variable present in the source file.

9. Project Variable: The name of each variable present in the survey. By default, this is set to any matching variables that exist in the target survey. Click the drop-down box for any variable to select a different variable.

This respects alt labels.

10. Question Text:  The text matching the survey if the imported variable matches a project variable or if there is no match for the variable text.

"Create New" variable question text is editable.

11. Question Type: The type of question each variable is identified as in the source file. By default, this is set to match the type of any matching variable in the survey, and can only be changed if set to "Create New". Click the drop-down box to select a different question type to overwrite.

12. Data Values: Displays the data values available for each variable. Hover over any data value to see its pre-mapped definition.

3.1: Resolving Warning Messages

Warnings for data type mismatch, duplicate names, missing variable names, etc., are visible in red and prevent data file import. The import button is only enabled once a key variable is set and all errors have been resolved.

To resolve errors displayed for your data file, you may change variable names, adjust how imported and project variables are paired, or exclude specific variables from being imported.

If you cannot sufficiently correct all errors using the options above, we recommend cancelling your import and re-uploading your file with any edits already applied in Excel.

3.2: Identifying a Key Variable

In order to successfully import data using the Data Importer, you will also need to ensure that you have an identification variable to match your imported data to your survey data. This variable is known as a "Key Variable" and its value should be unique for each respondent and match their records within both the imported data file and survey data.

We recommend not using record as your Key Variable, as this variable is unique to each survey completion attempt rather than to each respondent.

To select a Key Variable, click the "Key Variable" box and choose from the drop-down menu:


In order for the import to be successful, the Key Variable you choose must be present in both the imported data file and the survey.

If you are using a custom file, you can add a Key Variable to your source file by inserting a new column with your Key Variable’s name as the header. Then list each respondent’s unique code in that column.

For example, if you decided to add “pin” as your Key Variable, your source file may look like the below, where column B includes all of the unique pin codes per respondent:


3.3: Applying Selection Options

The selection options at the top of the Data Importer page allow you to choose whether to include or exclude the selected variables from your import. To apply a selection option, select it at the top:


You do not need to select variables to include them for import. Any variables that are not excluded will be automatically included for import. The "Include" selection option is primarily used to include a variable that was previously excluded.

To select a variable to be included or excluded, check the box next to its name:


Additionally, you can check the box at the top of the table to select all variables for import or exclusion:


3.4: Editing Variable Data

The Data Importer handles variables according to the following conditions:

  • Variables matching existing survey variables are paired.
  • Variables not matching existing survey variables are set to create new variables in the survey.

3.4.1: Remapping Variables

To map a variable from the source file to a different variable within the target survey, click the box for that variable under "Project Variable" and select another variable name from the drop-down menu:


3.4.2: Creating New Variables

You can only change variable names for newly created variables. To change a variable name, click the box for that variable under "Project Variable" and select "Create New" from the drop-down menu:


Then click the text in blue under "Question Text":


In the "Edit Variable Info" window, enter a new label and question text for your variable and click "Save":


3.4.3: Setting the Question Type for a New Variable

Once you have created a new variable, you can then also change its question type. To change a variable's question type, click the box for that variable under "Question Type" and select a new type from the drop-down menu:


4: Importing the Modified Data

Once you are satisfied with any changes and all error messages have been resolved, you can import your data to the survey by clicking "Import Data":


It is important to ensure that all of your data changes are correct and complete before importing any data, as there are no option to undo or redo imports once they are applied. Additionally, the following conditions will apply to all data imports:

  • Any imported respondent that matches their key variable to a survey respondent will append any new variables and overwrite any existing variables.
  • Any imported respondent without a matching key variable will be created as a new survey respondent.
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