What's new in ArcGIS Survey123 (November 2021)

11-16-2021 06:33 PM
Esri Notable Contributor
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A new update to ArcGIS Survey123 has just been made available. This release is mostly focused on improvements to the Survey123 field app and Survey123 Connect, but the Survey123 website has also been refreshed with enhancements.

Here are the highlights:

  • Better form grid layouts and signature capabilities for the field app
  • Image annotation tools now support editing
  • Faster visualization and analysis in the Survey123 website
  • Various critical fixes and enhancements


Better grid layouts


Grid layouts are a powerful technique to help you build more professional forms. With a grid layout, you can compact questions side by side in a single row. This is particularly useful when you are designing forms for use in larger screens, or when you want to mimic the look of traditional paper forms.

It is not just about the looks: A well-designed grid layout will accelerate data capture reducing the amount of vertical scrolling needed to navigate the form.

The screenshot below shows an example of a form using a grid layout:



While grid layouts are not new to Survey123, this release introduces two enhancements:

Better support for nested groups and repeats


The use of nested groups (groups within groups) and repeats (a group of questions that can be entered multiple times) is common in complex forms. We have expanded the XLSForm syntax to help you better arrange these nested elements within a grid layout. You can now define the horizontal space that a nested element should occupy in its containing group.   

Two grid styles: Dynamic and fixed


Up until this release the positioning of elements in a grid layout was automatically adjusted to optimally fit questions within the screen. In many cases, this dynamic grid style works well, but sometimes it creates undesired effects. As the author of a survey, you can now choose to lock the positioning using a fixed grid style for either the entire form or specific groups.

To learn more, check the Survey123 Tricks of the Trade: Groups, Grids and Pages and the Group section in the Appearances help topic.


Enhanced signatures


Survey123 allows you to collect electronic signatures. Users are presented with a box to sign and the signature is saved as an image which gets attached to the survey record. Signatures are often used in workflows for accountability and auditability. For example, when an auditor needs to sign-off some work, or when an inspector needs to certify the condition of an asset.

This update includes some key improvements to signatures in the field app:

  • More space to sign: In the Survey123 field app, the signature pad now pops up as a new dialog on top of the form. This gives end users more space to sign.
  • Inbox support: You can view signatures and add new ones to records from the Survey123 inbox. This is great for approval and sign-off workflows.
  • Control the dimensions of the signature image: As the author of a form, you can now control the dimensions of the signature attachment. You can do that by specifying a background image for your signature box. If you do not provide a background image, the dimensions of the signature image will vary depending on the resolution of the user’s screen. You can also cap the maximum dimensions of the image if you like.

To learn all the details, check the Survey123 Tricks of the Trade: Signatures blog post.

Edit image annotations


Using Survey123, you can annotate photos, diagrams, and maps. In an asset inspection form, annotating a diagram of the asset can help highlight areas that need attention.  In a damage assessment form, you can use annotations to draw on top of a photo.

We substantially improved the annotation user experience in our September release. In this update, we added options for you to select, move, delete, resize and reshape existing annotation graphics.  This gives end users much more flexibility to annotate images accurately and effectively.



We are planning to further enhance the Survey123 annotation tools in the January 2022 update. Specifically, we want you to be able to customize the annotation tools so you can tailor them to the specifics of your business workflow.  If you want to learn more, sign up for the ArcGIS Early Adopter Community and join the Survey123 beta testing opportunity. You will find documentation, forums, and beta builds of Survey123 version 3.14.

Various critical fixes and other enhancements


  • The Analyze tab in the Survey123 website gets a good performance boost to facilitate working with the most complex surveys. Having lists with thousands of choices and surveys with many millions of records should now not be a problem.
  • If you are a fan of custom JavaScript functions in Survey123 forms, you will note that the Scripts tab in Survey123 Connect now lets you control the font of your source code.
  • BUG-000143746 Geosearch crashes Survey123 on Android devices when an organization is configured with a custom geocoder
  • BUG-000143901 Android OpenSSL 1.1.1l crashes on Android 6 armv7 devices
  • The new maxSuggestions property in the body::esri:style XLSForm column allows you to control the maximum number of candidates the geocode appearance can return


Next steps and learning more


We are aiming for more one 3.13 minor update before the end of the year. Just like this release, it will include some targeted enhancements and fixes. The next major update (version 3.14) will take place around the end of January 2022.  If you want to learn more about features planned for January, join the Survey123 beta through the ArcGIS Early Adopter Community.


For a more detailed description of what is new in this and previous releases, check the What’s New help topic in the Survey123 documentation.