Frequently Asked Questionsget help

Can anyone use WebSurvey or do I need special permission?

  • WebSurvey is available for free to anyone with a valid SFU Computing ID. That includes students, staff, faculty, sponsored and external accounts. Just login at and get started.

Does WebSurvey use a secure server?

Can I delete individual responses from an existing survey?

  • No. On the View Submissions page you can delete ALL the submissions. If you are doing testing make sure you delete all your test submissions BEFORE opening up the survey to real respondents. There is no way to delete your test submissions individually in WebSurvey.

Can I put images in my survey?

  • No. Not at this time. Because the survey tool is stored on a secure server, it is difficult to allow uploading or linking to images. We are working on a solution that will allow the inclusion of images but there is no timeline for this functionality.

When I export the data it opens in notepad and the results are all jumbled up, what am I doing wrong?

  • Nothing, that's called a Tab Delimited Text File. You will need to import it into a spreadsheet or desktop database application to use it. See Viewing and Exporting Survey Results for more information.

Can I add a required question? Meaning that the person can't complete the survey without answering that question?

  • Yes. Some questions can be set to "Required". Look for the box labeled "Check to make this a required question".

Can I query the web survey data using sql?

  • No. The WebSurvey database is securely situated on a tier three server. The only way to get data out is to use the Export feature. See Viewing and Exporting Survey Results for more information.

Where are the surveys hosted?

  • All information gathered by the WebSurvey tool is stored on secure servers inside the SFU Machine Room. See Privacy and Security for more information.

Can I limit the users who can access my survey?

  • Yes. You can limit access by SFU computing ID if all of your respondents are within SFU community or set up Tokens for non SFU users. See Access Tab for more information.

Is there a way to upload existing surveys into WebSurvey?

  • No. Surveys must be created using the manual tools provided by WebSurvey or from an existing Template. See Creating and Using Templates for more information.

How do I give admin privileges to someone else?

If the owner of a survey leaves the University, will the other administrators still be able to access the survey?

  • Yes.

Is it possible to transfer the ownership of a survey to another person?

  • No. Only new administrators can be added. The administrator of a survey can create a template from a survey that someone else owns. The administrator will then be able to use that template to create an identical survey that he or she does own. See Creating and Using Templates for more information.

Can Alumni use WebSurvey?

  • No. Alumni accounts are valid for email only. Full SFU computing IDs are required to use the WebSurvey tool.

Is it possible to create a duplicate of an existing survey?

  • Yes. Create a template from the existing survey and then use the template to create as many duplicates as you like. See Creating and Using Templates for more information.

Can the WebSurvey tool be used for electronic voting?

  • Yes. Several departments and faculties have used the survey tool to run online elections. The tool is effective because WebSurvey can validate a user's identity while still protecting their privacy and ensuring that each person only gets one vote. See Privacy and Security for more information.

Can the WebSurvey tool be used for online registration forms?

  • Yes. Several departments are also using WebSurvey to accept online registrations for events. The name WebSurvey is a bit of a misnomer, the tool basically creates an online form that can be used to collect a variety of data, store it securely and allow it to be exported for processing offline.

Is there a way to control access by users who don't have an SFU Computing ID?

Is it possible to add administrators who do not have an SFU Computing ID?

  • No. The WebSurvey tool was designed for use by the SFU community. If is it important to provide administrative access to a Survey your department can look into purchasing a Sponsored account from IT Services. See Computing Accounts for more information.

What is the maximum number of users that I can allow to access my survey when using access by Maillist or by Computing ID?

  • You should only be using access by Computing ID for 20 respondents or less. Beyond that you should create a Maillist. Maillists can be very large, up to 5000 users and you can add multiple Maillists to increase the number to the entire University if you like. (Although at the point you should probably be setting the access to allow Authenticated Only)

Can I receive a record of who has submitted a response?

  • No, unless you explicitly ask for the user's personal information in the content of the survey, their identity is not recorded. There has been discussion of allowing an administrator to set the level of privacy so that usernames are recorded with the respondents permission.

On the Access Tab there's a message that indicates "Compound maillists are not supported" - what's a compound list?

  • A Compound Maillist is a maillist that contains other maillists. WebSurvey does not check the contents of the "nested" lists. It will only look at the users that are on the actual list. If your maillist does include other lists inside it, you will need to enter those mail lists individually on the Access Tab.

Is WebSurvey an in-house software package or was it purchased?

  • WebSurvey is a Java based application built on Apple's WebObjects frameworks and is completely built in house by Jeremy Rosenberg and George Lee from Academic Computing Services.

When I download the data, I get a txt. File -- can it be downloaded in another format like Excel.

Is it possible to say to the survey tool that if someone answers Yes for a certain question for the tool to then move that individual to a question other than the one directly following the original question?

  • Not yet. We call this "Question Branching" and it is a planned enhancement. See Planned Enhancements for more information.

How do I restrict individuals from answering the survey more than once?

  • There is a check box on the Access Tab labeled "Limit authenticated users to a single submission." This feature will not work if the access level is set to Everyone. You may also set access by Tokens which will prohibit users from answering the survey more than once because each token can only be used once.

When the data has been exported is it automatically erased from the websurvey system? Is there a chance that I could loose my data?

  • No. The data remains stored securely in the WebSurvey database until you explicitly delete it. You can export the data as often as you like.

Can the formatting (e.g. colours, layout, etc.) of the survey be changed at all?

  • Not at this time. The purpose of the Survey Tool was to provide a generic interface that allows anyone, regardless of technical skills, to quickly build a secure online form. There are plans to add the ability to "skin" surveys with custom look and feel but there is no timeline for this option.

Do I put the part of the email address in the Computing ID field on the Access Tab?

  • No.

What do I do about people who use the designation?

  • The email account is not an SFU Computing ID. You need to find out the user's actual SFU Computing ID and add it to the access list.

Can I use HTML in my questions?

  • Sometimes. Some questions like the text in the Title Page accept HTML markup. We will make HTML more widely available on other questions when it can done without affecting functionality.