External_choices are not working well

04-29-2021 06:12 AM
New Contributor

Hello dears,

Since I have a long list of choices, I decided to use the "external_choices". I am not getting any error when publishing but unfortunately, the labels are empty (as show in the attached screenshot)

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5 Replies
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @ahmad_sidani   Thanks for sharing the XLSFile and the screenshot.

Everything looks good in your XLSFile, but as you describe the list is not showing labels for villages appropriately. At first sight, it looks like external_choices are not handling multiple language columns correctly.

I suggest you replace your select_one_external with a select_one_from_file. I validated that this works as expected.

  1. Copy the attached village.csv file into the media folder of your survey
  2. Change from select_one_external village to select_one_from_file village
  3. Save and test

I observed issues in your XLS file:

  • A number of groups and repeats do not have labels.  You can add some HTML tags in the label to avoid the warnings and still leave the label empty in the form. For example, you can add <b> to the label.
  • Once you use select_from_file you no longer need to have your list in the choices worksheet. If you delete the village list from choices it will help loading your survey more quickly.
  • Once you use select_from_file for the village list, you can also remove the external_choices worksheet from your XLS file
  • For the language colums, you should add the ISO code. for example: label::English (es) and label::Arabic (ar)
  • In the settings worksheet, the default language should use the ISO code. For example: en
  • The field-list appearance on groups has no effect unless you have select_ones. I suggest you eliminate
  • The jr:count column has no meaning to Survey123. Suggest you move values to to repeat_count and delete jr:count


Other tips:

  • If you see the Optimizing dialog popping up in Connect and you are bored of waiting, tap and hold the Refresh button until the button turns red. On the next refresh, it will be faster. When red, Connect does not update choice list indexes.  We should resolve this in the next update of Connect. Sorry for the inconvenience.
  • You may want to break down the form in pages. It will be easier for users.  More info here.
  • When working with select_multiple, you may want to store selections in their own fields, as described here.
  • The yes/no questions in Pillar 4 are a great candidate for table-list. Same for Pillar 5
  • For the Members integer questions, you may want to try the spinner appearance.


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New Contributor

Dear Mr. @IsmaelChivite ,

Thanks much for your support and for all the useful tips 🙂 very helpful

Unfortunately, the issue in the village is not solved yet. I followed all the suggested steps but still getting an error (attached).

Any idea ?

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Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Ahmad,

You are missing the file name type for the village.csv in your XLSForm and also missed the language code in the choice tab.


Please try this XLSForm and it should work with current 3.12 production build.


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New Contributor

Hi @Shwu-jingJeng ,

Thanks for your support.

It seems that the form now is working fine (using the survey123 app) but I am getting an error when using the browser (attached).

Can I proceed with the app ? or do you think this is a crucial error that need to be solved before the exercise?


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Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Ahmad,

Your web form issue is related to “using relevant on a repeat” (If I remove all relevant for all repeats, it works fine).

We do have an internal issue for this logged and planned to be fixed in 3.14.

If you would like to track the fix status, I would recommend to log an Esri support salesforce issue for this and we will link to the current internal issue so that you can track the fix status.