CommCare Messaging Vocabulary

SMS Messaging Vocabulary

This page contains definitions and links to key concepts in CommCare Messaging. 

Messaging Basics

CommCare Messaging

A software product offered by Dimagi, that can use case properties to send and receive SMS messages.

One way SMS

Refers to outgoing messages, sent towards devices or mobile phones. One example is an appointment reminder. Recipients do not need to be verified in HQ. These messages are recorded in the message log. This feature is available on the Standard plan.

Two way SMS

Refers to a system with both outgoing and incoming messages. In this situation, data can be collected over SMS. Two way messaging is available on Pro plan (at an additional cost, please contact sales) or higher.

Messaging Vocabulary

Broadcast Messages

A simple messages scheduled to send to a group of users, either mobile workers or cases. Does not support case management.  



A feature that allows a CommCareHQ user communicate with a case in real time. The chat window displays all of the messages sent and received with that contact.



Contacts include both cases and mobile workers.


Contact Phone Number

Receives SMS messages, must include the country code. Must be verified to enable two way messaging.



The portal that sends and receives messages for your project. Gateways are set-up with a local SIM card, and recipients will see that SIM as the contract phone number.


Gateway Testing

A process to test that the phone number is online, operational in the country, that messages arrive in a timely manner, and assess if maximum SMS volumes cause errors or delays in message delivery.

The process should verify that messages are correctly forwarded from HQ via API.



A word or letter that activates an SMS configuration.


The content of the SMS message, limit of 160 characters.

Message Log

A report that shows all of the messages sent and received on CommCareHQ.

Message History

A report that can be filtered by communication type, date and phone number. The report shows the delivery status of each message.


A contact enrolled in HQ to receive SMS messages.

Reminder (single event)

A feature that allows you to schedule a single outgoing SMS message and may use case management.

Reminder (multi-event)

A feature that allows you to schedule a sequence of outgoing messages, sent at different intervals; may use case management.

Reminder Calendar

A feature that allows you to review upcoming messages that includes the date, recipient, and message type. Can be used for testing your SMS project. 

Structured Keyword

A keyword set-up that allows incoming SMS messages to submit multiple data points as a single message.

SMS Connectivity

The page on CommCare HQ that helps manage the SMS Gateway set-up.

SMS Export

A quick way to download the Messaging Log, with date filters.


A series of questions answered via incoming messages from a verified SMS user.


A software platform that can be used to set-up local SMS gateways and links to CommCareHQ.


A configurable part of SMS communication, that customize the sending of messages. This may include sending messages: immediately, at a specific time of day, a number of days before or after. or a time set in a case property.


A 2 step process that allows HQ to confirm the status of a contacts phone number, that enables the contact to submit information. This enables survey and keyword features.

Advanced Vocabulary

Case Groups

Case groups allow project managers to organize active cases together. Case groups can enable targeted messaging outreach, similar to mobile worker groups.