Data collection has started and now you’re eager to take a look at the data. So you setup the export, download it by filtering the Users Groups and then the dates. The anticipation to be able to finally “see” the data is almost overwhelming. You open the excel file (or *.csv file) and then you see this:

“hmm… intersting…” you think to yourself.

But, you got this so you expand the columns to see what the column headers are and then you see this:

Your face will probably look this (or some combination):

Don’t worry.

This post will help you figure out what the data means.

App Summary: Understanding your data

App summary is your friend when it comes to understanding the data.

Go ahead and select your CommCare application and then you’ll see a link to App Summary in the top right:

Once you’ve accessed the app summary you’ll be able to see the form summary.

You’ll also be able to see the overall flow of the survey, the labels (what you see on the tablets) and then the Question_IDs and choices (the coded responses in Excel that made you go 🤷‍♀️). You now have access to the “data dictionary”. See the image below and slide the bar to see the differences between the two.

Editing the Column data in export

Now that you can make sense of the excel data you can edit the column data to before you export the data.

Step 1.

Go to your export and select edit.

Step 2.

Now you can use the App Summary to search the questions and toggle between the label and question_id.

Pro Tip: Open App summary in a new tab and you can toggle between App Summary and Editing the Data Export.

Step 3.

Now go back to the edit page outline and find the corresponding question and on the left column make the edits and accordingly.

Now save your edits at the bottom of the page.


Now your data exports will have the new column data on export and you’ll be able to make sense of the data!