Importing a survey structure

From LimeSurvey Manual

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Import using the administration interface

If you have previously exported a survey structure, you can import it from the "Create, import, or copy survey" screen. To get there just click the 'Create, import, or copy a survey' icon Add.png and in the following screen click on the 'Import' tab. Click on the browse button to choose the file, and then click on the Import survey' button.

The import process reads the following formats:

  • .LSS files (XML-format created by LimeSurvey 1.90 or later)
  • .LSA files (Survey archive which may include also token, responses and timings - available since LimeSurvey 2.0)
  • .TXT files (Text-format created by Excel - available since LimeSurvey 2.0)
  • .CSV files (Created by early LimeSurvey versions from 1.50 to 1.90)

That way you can import old surveys from previous versions. The import 'intelligently' re-numbers the survey, group, question, answer, and condition IDs so that they all match each other - no existing surveys will be overwritten. See the section on Exporting a survey structure for more information.

Import using the commandline utility

From version 1.50 to 1.92 it was possible to import surveys from the command line (or shell). To use this functionality you have to have access to the shell and the PHP interpreter has to be configured to allow shell execution of scripts.

This functionality is useful when you have timeout problems with the web version that could happen when you have very long surveys to import.

To use it, in the shell go to the limesurvey/admin folder and execute:

php cmdline_importsurvey <File to import> [<user> <password>]
  • <File to import> has to be one of the described above
  • <user> has to be a user with permission to create surveys
  • <password> the password for the user

If you need to see the parameters you can execute:

php cmdline_importsurvey -h

Import using RemoteControl API

Since LimeSurvey version 2.0 you can import a survey structure by using the RemoteControl 2 API.

Importing surveys from other applications

We are often getting requests to import a survey from other applications or survey providers. The problem is that providers like SurveyMonkey lock you in - it is not possible to export the survey structure from SurveyMonkey, only the response data. We are sorry to say but using closed proprietary software or providers can be a bad idea in the first place.