External fields allows you to pull in data from external data sources, such as a spreadsheet.
What can the external fields feature be used for?
- To read data from an external data source, for example, cell values from a Google Sheet
- Use these values in variable data in the PDF report or in the formulas using all responses. For example, to calculate a score on the outcome screen, if the respondent scored 5/10 in a particular survey category, you can match that score against an external data value of 7 which is the benchmark score set for that category.
- A more advanced use would be to use the Google sheet as a bi-directional database, whereby the same survey will also send data to the Google Sheet. This would allow the benchmark cell value referenced to be adjusted automatically as new responses are received.
Let's see how to use this feature.
1 Add External Fields
Click on the 3 dots at the top right-hand corner of the screen. Select External Fields.
Click the left-hand button Add field and you'll see the following sections to complete:
- Name - Type the name that you want to call the external field. This is the name that will be given to the variable, so choose a name that will allow you to easily recall what the field refers to.
- Type - Here's where you can choose the data source. You have 3 options, which we'll discuss below.
- Data freshness - choose how often you want to refresh the data. Bear in mind that more frequent updates may slow performance.
Now let's see how to configure the data source. You'll have different options depending on the type of data that you selected as your source.
You simply need to enter a hard-coded value.
1.2 Google Spreadsheet
The Google Spreadsheets type allows you to pull data from your Google Sheets, and/or into your Google Sheets. Read our Example of creating Google Spreadsheet fields to see a more detailed step-by-step guide.
Tip: You can use the Google Sheets Integration to push the responses to a Google Sheet.
You can enable filter sheet values or compare sheet values, although only one of these features can be enabled at once.
1.3 Custom API
This uses the JSON output. Add the API endpoint and the JSON path.
Once you've set up the data configuration settings, you can run a test to check the data connection and see that the results are as expected. Make sure that the latest changes are saved.
Once you're all set, click Create field to save all your external field settings.
If you want more than one external field, click Add field and repeat the process outlined above, adding as many external fields as you require.