How to create your first form

These steps repeat the actions that were taken in the video above.


  1. Log into your SurveyCTO server console.
  2. If this is the first form created on this server, click Your server is empty. Click here to get started…
  3. Click Start new form.
  4. Give your form a name under Form title:.
  5. The Form ID is generated automatically based on the title, but you may change that now if you choose (note: this cannot be changed later).
  6. [Optional] Enable any additional option that is useful to you:
    • Use a sample form as your starting point? If you want to start with a sample form, turn on this option and select the sample form you wish to load.
    • Include enumerator identification field? If you enable this option, an enumerator field will automatically be added to your new form, and an additional step will be added which will help you select or create a new enumerator dataset.
    • Advanced options:
      • Do you want this form's data to be encrypted? If you check this box, then an additional step will allow you to attach a public encryption key to your form, so that all submitted data is safely encrypted (note: form encryption can only be set up at this stage, when the form is created on the server. You cannot turn on encryption once the form has been deployed).
      • Auto-generate fields necessary for pre-loading data? If you check this box, then additional steps will guide you through some choices relevant to pre-loading data into your form; your form will then include the necessary fields to pre-load that data.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Edit online.

The online form designer will open your new form and you’re ready to start adding fields!


What is a form?

We refer to the questionnaire, survey, or poll as a form.

Do you have a list of sample forms?

Yes! You can see all sample forms available here.

Do you have a sample form that also includes sample data (for testing)?

Yes! You can find a sample form with data and instructions for deploying here.

What is the difference between Save as Draft and Save and Deploy?

When you Save as Draft, it means that nobody can see the form to fill it out. When you Save and Deploy, the form will be “live” and available to enumerators and respondents. Learn more about Draft vs. Deploy here.

I’m concerned about data security, should I encrypt my form?

Choosing to encrypt your form creates end-to-end encryption, allowing you to protect data even from inside access (from authorized users, server administrators, and even the SurveyCTO platform itself). Only those with the private key will be able to decrypt and access your form data. For more on data encryption, see the Encrypting form data help topic.

How can I generate my (public and private) encryption keys?

In the Design tab, under Your forms and datasets, click Tools > Create new key. Then, click Start key generator and follow the steps. We recommend that you download your keys instead of copying them, which is less error-prone. Make sure you keep your keys secured, particularly the private key.

What is pre-loading data?

If you have pre-existing data from a baseline survey, a listing survey, or any other source, you can retrieve and reference that data in your form. We call this pre-loading data. Learn more about pre-loading data into your form in this video or in this documentation.

How can I determine which enumerator is completing the form?

You can determine which enumerator completed the form by collecting their unique enumerator ID using an enumerator field. First, you will need to create an "enumerator" dataset on your server, to hold your list of enumerators, each with a unique ID. Once you have your enumerator dataset populated with your list of enumerators, you can attach it to any form and add an enumerator field to prompt the person filling out the form to identify themselves. Learn more with our Quick start guide: Managing enumerators.

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