Closing a survey

From LimeSurvey Manual

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To stop a survey, you can either "expire" or "deactivate" it.

  Attention : It is strongly recommended to use the expiry option to close a survey. The explanation is stated below.


You can manually expire the survey if you edit the survey details and set an "Expiry date/time":

Publication & access panel.png

Alternatively, when trying to deactivate the survey (by clicking on the "stop this survey" button), an option to expire the survey is provided, which performs the same function:

Expiry and Deactivation - Survey.png

If you decide to expiry your survey:

  • No results are lost
  • No respondent information is lost
  • Change of questions, groups, and parameters is limited
  • An expired survey is not accessible to participant (they only see a message that the survey has expired)
  • It's possible to perform statistics on responses inside LimeSurvey

To make the survey available to your participants again, change or remove the expiration date from the publication & access panel.


Click on "Stop this survey" button located on the top toolbar:

Quick start guide - Stop this survey.png

Once loaded, click on the Deactivate survey button:

Expiry and Deactivation - Survey.png

  • All results are lost (you cannot access them via the LimeSurvey user interface)
  • All respondent information is lost
  • The deactivated survey is not accessible to the respondent (a message will be displayed stating that you are not permitted to see this survey)
  • All questions, groups, and parameters are editable again
  • It is recommended to export your responses before using this option

Help! I accidentally deactivated my survey - what now?

If you closed your survey accidentally, it is important that you don't change anything in your survey. To recover your data:

  1. Activate your survey again
  2. Select Responses from the survey toolbar.
  3. Click on Import and select the "Import answers from a deactivated survey table" menu entry.
  4. Choose your source table.
  5. Click on the "Import" button located on the upper-right part of the screen.

  Warning : You can import all the old responses that are compatible with your current survey. Compatibility is determined by comparing column types and names, the ID field being always ignored. Using type coercion may break your data; use it with care or not at all if possible.

Import deactivated table into a new survey.png

Currently, LimeSurvey detects and handles the following changes:

  • Question is moved to another group (result is imported correctly).
  • Question is removed from target (result is ignored).
  • Question is added to target (result is set to database default value).