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Help: Download Results

When you view a poll's standard results online, you just see a snapshot of the total votes, usually shown as percentages on a bar graph. While this is a very useful tool, it doesn't work for some question types, such as fill-in-the-blank and essay. You may also want to perform a more detailed analysis of your data, such as studying cross-question relationships. Downloading a full result set will let you do this.

A result file will contain every person's answers to all of your poll's questions. The file will be in CSV format, which can be loaded directly into most modern spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel.

Filtering Hints

For the impatient, if you're using Microsoft Excel, you can quickly get some interesting results with the AutoFilter feature. With your mouse (or keyboard), select all of the cells below row 1 -- so that's starting with row 2. Now, find out how to active AutoFilter in your version of Excel. In Excel 2004 for Mac OS X, you select Data -> Filter -> AutoFilter from the top menu. All of the column headers turn to pulldowns, and you'll have many options to filter the answer rows based on the individual answers. If that doesn't do what you want, you can look into the Advanced Filtering options, where you can write your own filtering forumlas as well.

Row Types

Within the result file, there are three types of rows.
Question Text
The first row, for your reference, is the actual text of your questions.
Column Header
The second row consists of a shorter column header that denotes which question each column refers to. It will usually be something similar to Q1, Q2, etc. Some question types take up more than one column, and in those cases you'll see additional headers such as Q1.1, Q2.extra, or Q3.blank1. More on that later.
Answers
Every row beyond the first two is an answer row. Each row represents one person's complete set of answers to your poll. Looking at the column headers above, you should be able to see which answers correspond to which questions.

Question Types

To demonstrate how each question type is layed out, the following examples will show the question text row, the column header row, plus at least one answer row. For each answer row, the answer to a single question will take up one or more columns.

Multiple Choice

For a standard multiple-choice question where the voter can only choose one of the choices, the answer takes up only one column. The answer value will be the text of the choice the voter selected:

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Q1
Chocolate
Vanilla
Chocolate
Chocolate
Strawberry

The situation is different for a multiple-choice question where the voter can choose more than one of the choices. Each choice that has received votes will get it's own column, so the question will span multiple columns. For each answer row, if the voter selected a choice that column will have a value in it. Otherwise, the column will be empty:

What ice cream flavors do you like?  
Q1.1Q1.2Q1.3
Chocolate Vanilla
  Vanilla
ChocolateStrawberry 
ChocolateStrawberryVanilla
Chocolate Vanilla

For an extra twist, choices can be configured to ask a voter for extra input. This is most commonly used to for an "Other: Specify" type of choice. In these cases, the extra input is put into another column. Let's assume the previous two multiple choice examples both had an "Other:" choice added to them:

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 
Q1Q1.extra
Chocolate 
Vanilla 
Chocolate 
Strawberry 
Other:Butter Pecan

What ice cream flavors do you like?    
Q1.1Q1.2Q1.3Q1.4Q1.4.extra
Chocolate Vanilla  
  VanillaOther:Lime
ChocolateStrawberry   
ChocolateStrawberryVanilla  
Chocolate VanillaOther:Rocky Road

Fill in The Blank

Fill-in-the-blank questions always use one column per blank. The columns are in the order that the blanks are appear in the question text. The column headers use the names of the blanks, which are also present in the question text. This should make it easy to match the answers to the blanks:

I usually buy [brand1] brand of ice cream. When I want to splurge, I sometimes buy [brand2] brand. 
Q2.brand1Q2.brand2
Dreyer'sBen & Jerry's
Blue BellHaagen Dazs
SafewayEskimo Pie
Breyer'sBen and Jerry's

Essay

Essay questions always use only one column. The essay text is simply put into the cell in the appropriate column:

Describe your favorite memory involving ice cream
Q3
When I was 10, my Dad took me to Vermont and we went on the Ben & Jerry's factory tour. It was amazing! We are both ice cream nuts. Best vacation ever.