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Question type - Short free text

From LimeSurvey Manual

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Contents

Short description

This question type collects a single line of text input.

S ST.jpg


Example: Short_free_text_question.zip


Note: On MySQL database the maximum number of characters can be unlimited. On Postgres and MSSQL the maximum number of characters that can be entered is 255.

General options

Mandatory

Description

This option allows the survey administrators to request their respondents to answer to certain survey questions. If the mandatory questions are not answered, the respondents will not be able to proceed further. If you have a question with multiple subquestions and you require only certain subquestions to be answered, use the minimum answer attribute located under the Logic tab.

Available options

  • On
  • Off (default)


If the map is enabled as a google map, and the question is set to mandatory, the survey user must move the red point, or enter the Lat/Long text box.  The user may not merely rely on the default, and hit the "NEXT" button.  It is recommended that you so advise in the substance of the question text.


Relevance equation

Description

If the value of the relevance equation is "1" or "true", the question is "relevant" in the survey context, i.e. it is shown to the survey participant. If not, the question is hidden. Any survey question allows you to specify a relevance equation. This function is the successor of conditions and supports much more complex conditional logic.

Syntax Highlighting

Whenever you save the relevance equation, it is evaluated and syntax-highlighted. Any errors will be color coded so that you can quickly detect and fix them.

Notice.png
Hint: To check if all the relevance equations are used correctly within your survey, read about our show logic file feature.


Valid values

  • Any equation that makes use of the Expression Manager syntax, without surrounding curly braces.

Examples

Here are good examples of syntax highlighting.



Validation (using regular expressions) (preg_validation)

Description

This option lets you specify a regular expression with which to validate all parts of a question.

If any question or subquestion value does not meet the validation requirements, the background color of the text entry field will be changed to red so that users can easily see which parts of the question need to be corrected. Thus, you can do on-page validation. In this way you will not need to wait for the user to click on the submit button to validate the respective question.

Valid values

  • Any valid regular expression

Example



Display

Prefix (prefix)

Description

A text value to be shown as prefix before the text input box(es). The prefix is shown just left of the input.

If the screen is small, then the prefix will be displayed above the input. If you want to leave it at left (New in 3.0.0 ) : add suffix-prefix-force class to the question.

Valid values

  • Any character or set of characters you wish to be displayed before the input

Example

Entering a value of "$" for this attribute would result in a dollar sign being displayed immediately preceding the text input box.



Suffix (suffix)

Description

A text value to be suffixed to a text entry box. The sufix is shown just right of the input.

On little screen : sufix is shown below the input. If you want to leave it at right (New in 3.0.0 ) : add suffix-prefix-force class to the question.

Valid values

  • Any character or set of characters you wish to be displayed after the input

Example

Entering a value of "%" for this attribute would result in a percentage sign being displayed immediately after the text input box.



Display rows (display_rows)

Description

It sets the number of rows that are displayed without making use of the scroll bar to check all the content. If there are more rows than the number mentioned in this field, then a scroll bar will be displayed. The default value for the "Long free text" question type is 5, while for the "Huge free text question type" is 30.

Valid values

  • Any positive integer number greater than 0



Hide tip (hide_tip)

Description

Most questions will usually include a tip that says "Please choose one of the following options" or a hint text on how to fill out the question. This attribute allows you to turn off or on this tips/hints.

These tips/hints include validation criteria messages (such as min/max number of answers, min/max/equals sum value). If hide_tip is enabled, these messages will be hidden. However, if the user enters invalid data, the tips will appear. They will be coloured in red, getting changed to green once the validation criteria are met.

Available options

  • On - the tips/hints are hidden;
  • Off (default).



Input box width (text_input_width)

Description

This attribute sets the width of the text input boxes (of the "wrapper" of the text input boxes). The input box is used to introduce an answer to the (sub)question. If the value of the width is sufficiently high, then the text input box will be displayed on the next line. Please note that this option does not set the size of the input or the width of the entire column!

Available options

  • Default: If selected, a default value will be allocated to this attribute in such a way to have both the label and its corresponding text input box on the same line. For example, if the text input box width is 41%, the value of the width of the text input box will be a value that allows both the label and the input box on the same line (58% in this case). If the width of text input box was higher than 58%, then the text input box would be displayed on the next line.
  • 8%; 17%...92%, 100%: the bigger the selected value, the larger the width of the text input box.

Example

  • If you wish to have the input part displayed below the subquestion/label, select the 100% option from the dropdown list.



Text input box size (input_box_size)

Notice.png
Hint: This features is available starting in version 3.0.0


Description

This function allows you to set the size of the text area (the text input box). By default, LimeSurvey forces the input box to be displayed with a default size. This can be overridden by making use of this function.

Help.png To move the box on the next line, you need to increase the size of the wrapper. To do so, increase the value of the text input width attribute.

Valid values

  • Any numeric value


Question theme (question_theme)

Description

It allows you to use customized themes for the respective question.

Available options

  • Your created question themes which are located under the Question themes in the Themes panel.
Help.png Note: This feature is under development at the moment.


Always hide this question (hidden)

Description

If enabled, the question will always be hidden - it will not be displayed to the survey participants. This function can be used in the following scenarios:

  • If you wish to prefill a question with a URL and you want not to have it displayed on the screen. This overrides any conditions used within the survey because the respective question will not even be embedded on the page.
  • If you wish to store or calculate a value on the fly via the Expression Manager.
Help.png Note: A common question type that is used with this function is the Equation one.

Available options

  • On
  • Off (default)


CSS class (css_class)

Description

If you want to add special CSS classes to certain questions, you can enter the CSS class name(s) in this box. Make sure you leave an empty space between different class names.

Valid values

  • Any text string with a space between different CSS class names.
Notice.png
Hint: You can also insert an expression in this box (New in 3.0.0 ). Remember that the output of the expression will not be updated dynamically.


Important.png
According to the W3C, CSS class names can contain only the characters [a-zA-Z, and 0-9] and ISO 10646 characters U+00A1 and higher, plus the hyphen (-) and the underscore (_). They cannot start with a digit, or a hyphen followed by a digit. LimeSurvey encodes CSS classes, but it does not fix it totally.


Input

Maximum characters (maximum_chars)

Description

This allows you to set the maximum number of characters that can be entered for a text based question. Entering a value of, say, 20 will mean that the participant cannot enter any more than 20 characters.

Valid values

  • Any integer value above 0


Location

The following question type allows you to create "map" questions where the survey respondents are asked to pinpoint a specific location on the openstreet/google map. Furthermore, a series of data can be stored within the database such as: postal code, country, region, and city. Default coordinates can also be provided.



Use mapping service (location_mapservice)

Description

If this option is activated, then the short free text will display a map and not a text box (they cannot be used both together concurrently).

Important.png
If the question design involves the display of a map, leave the defaultRows blank. Placing a number in the respective field (such as 0 or 1) removes the map from the generated HTML code, causing other errors.

Available options

  • Off (default)
  • OpenStreetMap via MapQuest
  • Google Maps
Help.png If the Google Maps option is selected and the question is set to mandatory, the respondent must move the red point or enter the geographical data in the latitude/longitude textbox. The user cannot rely on the default values and hit the "Next" button. It is highly recommended to advise the users about this beforehand in the question text.



IP as default location (location_nodefaultfromip)

Description

If enabled, the default position on the map should be based on the user's IP addres?

For this to work you have to set a valid key in IP Info DB API Key.

Available options

  • Yes (default)
  • No



Save postal code (location_postal)

Description

Enable this option if you wish the postal code to be stored in the survey results table.

Available options

  • Yes
  • No



Save city (location_city)

Description

If activated, the city information will be stored in the survey results table.

Available options

  • Yes
  • No (default)



Save state (location_state)

Description

If activated, the state information will be stored in the survey results table.

Available options

  • No (default)
  • Yes



Save country (location_country)

Description

If enabled, the country information will be stored in the survey results table.

Available options

  • Yes
  • No (default)



Zoom level (location_mapzoom)

This options allows the survey administrator to set the zoom level for the map.

Valid values

  • The minimum value that can be inserted is 0, while the maximum is 11.

Example

The below image shows a 500x300 map using zoom level = 5:

Map zoom level.png



Default position (location_defaultcoordinates)

Description

Type in here the latitude and longitude where the map will be centered when loaded.

Example

Latitude [space] longitute: 52.1605 9.8438



Map width (location_mapwidth)

Set in this field the width of the map in pixels. The default value is 500px.



Map height (location_mapheight)

Set in this field the height of the map in pixels. The default value is 300.


Logic

Randomization group name (random_group)

Description

It places the questions into a specified randomization group, all questions included in the specified group being displayed in a random order to the survey respondents.

Valid values

Just enter any string you like (for example: 'group1'). All question which have set the same string within the randomization group name box will have their place in the survey randomized (=randomly exchanged among each other).



Question validation equation (em_validation_q)

Description

This is an equation that is used to validate the entire question (e.g, all of its parts collectively for a multi-answer question). If the question fails the validation criteria, then em_validation_q_tip message will be displayed (it uses the CSS style .error). This tip uses the .em_q_fn_validation CSS style, which is hidden by default within template.css.

The main difference between this feature and the subquestion validation equations (em_validation_sq option) is that for this feature, if the question (or question parts) fail validation, then an error message could be shown. For the subquestion validation, each text entry cell (e.g., in an array question type, but it can also be applied to single entry question types) will be styled so that the background color is (light) red.

Valid values

  • Any equation that makes use of the Expression Manager syntax, without surrounding curly braces.

Example

  • You want to collect demographic information from users via a multiple short text question, and you want to validate that the user has entered a valid email address and phone number.

This example shows how the question looks with invalid answers:

Validation-invalid-both.jpg

And here is what it looks like with one invalid answer:

Validation-invalid-phone.jpg

Here is how you edit a question to enter that information:

Validation-gui.jpg

And here is part of the Show Logic File output that lets you check the accuracy of your expression and ensure that there are no syntax errors:

Validation-logic.jpg

As you can see, the validation equation tests that both the email and phone number are either empty or match a regular expression filter.

The validation tip only shows the warning message if the phone or email appears invalid.

Notice.png
Hint: In order to create complex validation messages, read about the usage of the Expression Manager.


If you wish to import the example from above into your LimeSurvey installation, download the following .lsq file: Em_validation_q_example.zip.

Notice.png
Hint: Remember, LimeSuvey uses the Perl syntax for regular expressions, so they should start and end with / (slash character)!



Tip for whole question validation equation (em_validation_q_tip)

Description

If you are using the question validation equation, you can use this box in order to display an optional message as question tip on how the question has to be filled out.

Valid values

Example

See the example from the question validation equation wiki section- it shows how the tip can be tailored to show which parts of a multiple short text question fail the validation criteria.



Sub-question validation equation (em_validation_sq)

Description

This is an equation that is used to validate each subquestion (text field) individually. Any text field that does not pass these validation conditions will have its background color turned pink (using the .em_sq_fn_validation CSS style) to highlight the error. Note that this is available in addition to the regular expression-based validation option.

Valid values

Any equation that makes use of the Expression Manager syntax, without surrounding curly braces.

Examples

For example, if you want to allow only numbers that are a multiple of 3 as answers, the equation would be:

(this / 3) == floor(this/3)

The reserved variable this is automatically replaced by a reference to the active text entry cell.



Tip for sub-question validation equation (em_validation_sq_tip)

Description

If you are using em_validation_sq, this is an optional message/tip that will be displayed if the introduced answer is incorrect.

Valid values

  • Any string

Example

  • Continuing the example of validating emails, the tip might be "Please enter valid email addresses."


Other

Insert page break in printable view (page_break)

Description

This attribute is only active when you actually print a survey from the Printable View. It forces a page break before the question.

Available options

  • On
  • Off (default)


Numbers only (numbers_only)

Description

If you enable this option, the participant can only enter numbers in the text box(es).

For the equation question types, this setting indicates that the result could only be a number, not a string. This will guarantee proper calculations/conversions in follow-up equations regarding the decimal mark.

Behavior by question type

  1. Default: If the subject enters a value that is not a number, that value is immediately cleared from the text box so that the subject can enter an appropriate value.
  2. Array (Texts): If the numbers only option is disabled, the "Show totals for" and "Show grand total" options will be overruled, while the total text boxes will not be displayed.
  3. Equation: Enabling this option will force the equation results to be converted to a numeric value. If the equation result is not a number (and not blank), the equation will return NaN, being saved as an empty string in the response table.

Available options

  • On
  • Off (default)


Statistics

Display map (display_map)

Description

Enable the following option if you wish to have the addresses/locations marked on a map in the statistics page.

Available options

  • On (default)
  • Off



Display chart (display_chart)

Description

This attribute allows the survey administrator to choose if a chart that contains the question results should be displayed to the survey participants after they filled out the survey.

Help.png Note: To have the chart displayed on the last page, you have to enable the following options:


Available options

  • On
  • Off (default)



Chart type (chart_type)

Description

This attribute allows the survey administrator to choose which type of chart will be displayed to the respondent once he/she finished filling out the survey.

Help.png Note: Do not forget to change the question and survey settings in order to have the charts displayed at the end on the survey. For more details, check the wiki section on the display chart question attribute.

Available options

  • Bar chart
  • Pie chart
  • Radar
  • Line
  • PolarArea
  • Doughnut


Timer

Time limit (time_limit)

Description

Setting the time_limit attribute on a question will cause a countdown timer to begin counting down as soon as that question/page is loaded. At the expiry of the countdown timer the question will either automatically move on to the next page or become read-only.

Valid values

  • Any positive integer number

Example

Set it to 240 to count down from 4 minutes (240 seconds).



Time limit action (time_limit_action)

Description

Sets the action performed when a time_limit has expired. By default the action for a time limit is "Warn and move on", which means the system will give a short warning that the time limit has expired before saving the question and effectively automatically clicking "Next >>". The alternative choices are to:

  • "Move on without warning", which automatically clicks the "Next >>" button after the timer is finished but without any warning message.
  • "Disable only", which disables changes in the question so the participant can't change anything, but doesn't automatically click the "Next >>" button.

This setting is only applicable if the general time limit setting is activated.

Available options

  • Warn and move on (default): will warn the participant that the time has expired, and then click the next button
  • Move on without warning: will immediately click the next button after the time limit has expired
  • Disable only: will disable the answer after the time limit has expired but not automatically click next
Help.png Note regarding group-by-group mode: When in group-by-group mode, the "move on" actions of the timer are replaced with a "disable" action. This is so the timer does not affect other questions on the page.



Time limit disable next (time_limit_disable_next)

Description

It allows disabling the "next" button while a time_limit countdown is occurring. Normally, even if the time limit countdown is active, if the participant wants to click "Next" and move on to the next question or question group, they can simply click on the "Next" button (thus cutting short the time spent on the question or question group). By activating this function, the next button will appear greyed out and will not be available until the countdown timer has finished.

This settings is only applicable if the general time limit setting is activated.

Available options

  • On - The "Next" button will be disabled until the time limit countdown is complete.
  • Off (default)
Help.png Note: If your survey uses the group by group format, this function applies to the whole group this question belongs to.



Time limit disable prev (time_limit_disable_prev)

Description

It allows disabling the "previous" button while a time_limit countdown is occurring. Normally, even if a time limit countdown is active, if the participant wants to click on "Previous" and move to the previous question or question group, they can simply click on the "Previous" button (thus cutting short the time spent on the question or question group). By activating this function, the previous button will appear greyed out and will not be available until the countdown timer has finished.

This settings is only applicable if the general time limit setting is activated.

Available options

  • On - the "Previous" button will be disabled until the time limit countdown is complete.
  • Off (default)
Help.png Note: If your survey uses the group by group format, this function applies to the whole group this question belongs to.



Time limit countdown message (time_limit_countdown_message)

Description

Write in this field the text message you wish to be displayed in the countdown timer during the countdown. This setting is applicable only if the general time limit setting is activated. If nothing is written, the the field will use the default value: "Time remaining".



Time limit timer CSS style (time_limit_timer_style)

Description

It allows (and overrides the default) css styling used to display the countdown timer. The default style value for this attribute will be used if it does not exist, which is: 'width: 150px; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; border: 1px solid #111; text-align: center; background-color: #EEE; margin-bottom: 5px; font-size: 8pt;'.

Any text entered into this attribute will overwrite the entire default css style, so you should ensure that care is taken when entering a value for this attribute. A simple way to hide this is to copy the default style into this attribute and add 'display: none;' to the end.

This settings is only applicable if the general time limit setting is activated.



Time limit expiry message display time (time_limit_message_delay)

Description

This attribute sets how many seconds the time_limit_message is displayed before the time_limit_action occurs. If this attribute is not set, it defaults to a value of 1 (1 second).

This settings is only applicable if the general time limit settings is activated.

Example

time_limit_message_delay: 5 = the message displays for 5 seconds



Time limit expiry message (time_limit_message)

Description

This is the text of the message that appears to the participant when the time_limit has expired. By default, this message is "Your time to answer this question has expired". If the time_limit_action attribute is set to "Move on without warning" this message is not displayed. You can set the CSS style for this text in the time_limit_message_style attribute (see below).

This settings is only applicable if the general time limit settings is activated.

Example

time_limit_message: The time limit on answering this question is now up.



Time limit message CSS style (time_limit_message_style)

Description

It allows (and overrides the default) css styling used to display the time limit message. The default style value for this attribute will be used if it does not exist, which is: 'top: 10px; left: 35%; width: 30%; height: 60px; padding: 16px; border: 8px solid #555; background-color: white; z-index: 1002; text-align: center; overflow: auto'.

Any text entered into this attribute will overwrite the entire default css style, so you should ensure that care is taken when entering a value for this attribute. It is strongly recommended that you re-use the z-index value, or that, at least, the z-index value is higher than that used for the time_limit_warning_message_style attribute (which defaults to 1001).

Example

Set to: top: 10px; left: 35%; width: 30%; height: 60px; padding: 16px; border: 8px solid #555; background-color: black; color: white; z-index: 1010; text-align: center; overflow: auto



Time limit warning message timer (time_limit_warning)

Description

With the help of this attribute, you can set the time (in seconds) when the time_limit_warning_message will be displayed before the time limit expires. Setting a value for this attribute activates the time limit warning message.

This settings is only applicable if the general time limit settings is activated. This setting also exists for a second warning message.

Example

If you set this to '20', then the time limit warning message will appear 20 seconds before the time limit countdown reaches zero.



Time limit warning message display time (time_limit_warning_display_time)

Description

It sets for how long the time_limit_warning_message is displayed before it is removed/hidden from the screen. By default, if the time_limit_warning_message appears, it will remain visible until the countdown timer has completed the countdown. If a value greater than zero is introduced in this field, the message will be hidden after that many seconds.

This setting is applicable only if the general time limit setting is activated. This setting also exists for a second warning message.

Example

time_limit_warning_display_time: 10 = The time limit warning message will disappear 10 seconds after its moment of appearance.



Time limit warning message (time_limit_warning_message)

Description

If set up, it displays the text of the warning message which is displayed for a fixed period of time before a time limit expires. The default text is "Your time to answer this question has nearly expired. You have {TIME} remaining." {TIME} is replaced by a formatted description which represents the amount of time left (i.e. "30 seconds", "1 minute or 5 seconds"). This message only appears if the time_limit_warning attribute exists. You can set from the time_limit_warning attribute when the message (time_limit_warning_message) appears.

This question attribute is only applicable if the time limit setting is activated and you set some text in the time limit warning message field. This setting also exists for a second warning message.

Example

Attention: In {TIME} the time limit to answer question will expire.



Time limit warning CSS style (time_limit_warning_style)

Description

It allows (and overrides the default) css styling used to display the time limit warning message. The default style value for this attribute will be used if it does not exist, which is: 'top: 10px; left: 35%; width: 30%; height: 60px; padding: 16px; border: 8px solid #555; background-color: white; z-index: 1001; text-align: center; overflow: auto'.

Any text entered into this attribute will overwrite the entire default css style for the warning message, so you should ensure that care is taken when entering a value for this attribute. It is strongly recommended that you re-use the z-index value, or that, at least, the z-index value be lower than that used for the time_limit_message_style attribute (which defaults to 1002).

This settings is only applicable if the general time limit setting is activated. This setting also exists for a second warning message.

Example

top: 10px; left: 35%; width: 30%; height: 60px; padding: 16px; border: 8px solid #555; background-color: gray; color: white; z-index: 1001; text-align: center; overflow: auto