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Table of Contents


The Form Builder is a tool used to create and manage forms in CommCare applications. There are several features of the form builder and it is essential to understand their function prior to getting started.
📖Before you begin, review the Building a Simple Form Tutorial.

To open the form builder:

  1. Login to CommCare
  2. Navigate to the Dashboard
  3. From the Applications section, click an application name
  4. From the left navigation panel, click a form name 


  • Date: collects a date inputted by the user
    Note: On an Android device, the format of a date is determined by the language settings for the device. On WebApps, the accepted input formats are as follows (in order of preference, and note the delimiter matters as part of the format):
    • 'MM/DD/YYYY'

    • 'YYYY-MM-DD'

    • 'M/D/YYYY'

    • 'M/D/YY'

    • 'M-D-YYYY'

    • 'M-D-YY'

    • ISO8601 format

    • If you enter a date with a two digit year, the widget uses logic to figure out which year: currentYear - 90 <=  *inputYear* <= currentYear + 10
  • Time: collects a time input from the user based on device time zone settings
    Note: If device time zone settings are unavailable, time is collected in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).


  • Repeat Group: a container for questions relating to a named element (Ex: Child)

📖Learn more about Using Repeat Groups in the Form Builder.

  • Question List: list of questions that will be grouped onscreen in a form
    Note: Applicable only to ODK code and Android devices. A question list does not require a label or display text.


Label: displays text only
Hidden Value: used for calculations and referencing data points from other forms, modules, or applications within a project

📖Learn more in the Hidden Value Calculations Tutorial.

Lookup Tables

  • Multiple Choice Lookup Table: a multiple-choice question that populates choices from a lookup table.
  • Checkbox Lookup Table: a checkbox question where the choices are populated from a lookup table.

📖Learn more about a Lookup Table.


  • GPS: enters a GPS reading from a user's device
  • Barcode Scan: activates a barcode scanner to capture information
    Note: A barcode scanner must be separately installed.
  • Password: user inputted text with characters displayed as an asterisk (*)
  • Android App Callout: advanced feature that uses integrated information from an external application

📖Learn more about Integrating Android applications with CommCare.

Question Properties

After adding questions, the content, structure, and function of the questions are controlled with properties.


Display: changes the question tree to display by question id rather than language (default)
Expand All: opens all groups and choices for multiple choice and checkbox questions
Collapse All: hides all groups and choices for multiple choice and checkbox questions
Display: language of the Question Tree
Expand Editor: opens the editor in full screen mode
Export Form Contents: exports questions and properties to Microsoft Excel
📖Learn more about Export Form Contents.

Edit Source XML: opens form XML code for editing


Form Properties: displays properties of forms such as Form ID
📖Learn more about Form Properties.

Find usages: searches question or case property references within a form by question ID
Edit Bulk Translations: opens form translations in a new window that can be copied and edited in Microsoft Excel
📖Learn more about Edit Bulk Translations.

Question Property Tools

• Question Type menu: changes a question type


    • Logic: controls when questions are asked and what questions are valid

📖Learn more about Common Logic and Calculations.

  • Display Condition: (also referred to as skip logic) determines conditions under which questions are displayed

📖Learn more in the Display Conditions Overview.
Note: The expression editor can be used to aide in adding conditions.
📖Learn more in the Tutorial section on the Expression Editor.

  • Validation Condition: ensures responses meet specified constraints

Note: Does not apply to all question types.
📖Learn more about Basic Validation Conditions.

    • Default value: displays a value upon accessing a form question which can be changed by the user
    • Required Condition: determines conditions under which questions are required. Only functional if the Required checkbox is enabled.
  • Media: add audio, image, and video files to questions

📖Learn more about Multimedia in CommCare.

Advanced: used for formatting applications using advanced features such as writing XML code for logic


  • Data parent: links a form question as a child of another question
  • Appearance Attribute: defines an appearance for questions
    Note: This is especially helpful for advanced formatting.

📖Learn more about Advanced CommCare Android Formatting.

  • Comment: a field to add notes about application design choices (Example: question purpose, hidden value explanation)
    Note: Comments are only visible as a bubble above Question Properties in the Form Builder.


Q: Can I use a different program to create my form?

Yes, please see Use Excel to Build CommCare Forms.

For best practices for application creation and tips from our global Field Managers see Application Creation.