Guide to troubleshooting form designs part 3: Using the form inspector

This support article is a part of our series on troubleshooting form designs. See the bottom of this article for the other parts in this series.

The form inspector is a fantastic tool you can use to troubleshoot your forms. Here is an overview video:

To open the form inspector, either click Form inspector on the top bar, or the magnify glass in the orange circle in the upper-right.


The form inspector will appear on the right.


There's a lot to take in, so let's break that down.

1. Field info


The top box contains details about the field you are currently on. It will contain the field's properties, including the name of the field, its constraint expression, choice_filter, and more. In the screenshot above, the field "confirm_percent" only has a name, required, and label property. Below, the field "num_crops" also has a constraint and relevance expression.

Wherever you see the name of a field, you can click on it to learn more about it (which we'll discuss below in section 4 Clicking on a field). To view the field's relevance expression, click show expression under This field is relevant.

2. References to this field


This box lists the visible fields that reference the field you are on. It checks relevance, constraint, and constraint message expressions to see if the field is referenced (but not labels nor choice_filter expressions).

For example, let's say you are on a field called "kg_apples". If the field "kg_sold" has this relevance expression:

${kg_apples} > 0

Then "kg_sold" will be listed under References to this field for the field "kg_apples".

Under each field listed, click show references to view each expression where the field you are on is referenced.

Clicked on show references under "kg_sold"

3. Skipped fields and groups

(The field "field_age" is not in that sample form, but it has been added here to demonstrate what a non-relevant field will look like in this section.)

This is a list of fields and groups you have just passed over, but were not visible. For example, hidden fields like calculate fields cannot be directly seen by enumerators, and fields that are not relevant will not be seen either, so when they are passed over, they will be listed under Skipped fields and groups. You can click on the field names to learn more about them (which we'll discuss in the next section).

This section will not list all skipped fields and groups in the form, but only those that were just passed over. For example, when testing this form, you will not see "all_kg_grow" in the Skipped menu until you go from the last repeat instance of the field "kg_sell" to the field "confirm_percent". It will also work in reverse: that box will show the fields passed when going backward.

4. Clicking on a field name

When you click on a field name in the form inspector, you will get options for that field. The exact options that will appear depends on the field type, but here are all of the possible options:

Go to this field: Skip back or forth to that field in the test view, instead of needing to find it in the Go To Prompt menu.
Show current value: Show the current value stored in the field.
Show full path: Show the group path to the field. This will include all groups and repeat groups, as well as the repeat group instance number. Here is an example:


Edit this field: Open the online field editor to change the field properties. This is only recommended if you are working in the online form designer. If you make changes here, but you also have a form definition spreadsheet, we recommend downloading the updated form definition spreadsheet, and sharing that with the same people.
Show expression: View that field's calculation.

When you click Show expression, a popup will show that field's calculation expression. In the expression, field references there will also be clickable, so you can view that field's value, path, and more. By checking each field reference in an expression, you can find what part of the expression needs to be fixed when there is an issue.


More on troubleshooting form design

When you are ready, you can check out the other articles in this series on troubleshooting form design.

  1. Intro and using the test view: Why it is important to test your forms, and how to use the test view options.
  2. Saving and resuming progress: How to save your test progress so you can use it in the updated form definition without needing to start over.
  3. Using the form inspector: Using the form inspector to find errors in your form.
  4. Submitting test data: Ensuring data is correct when submitted to the server.
  5. Test view toolbar and other tips: Other details on the test view and form inspector not covered in the other parts.

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