Removing Data

In the early stages of a project you might create practice user accounts, have real users submit practice data, or use practice applications.

Before doing a real launch of your application you may want to clear out some of this test data so that it does cause confusion later. Issues with keeping practice data can include:

  • test users in report filters

  • old/practice data in exports

  • old applications showing up as options in filters

There are several tools that can help with clearing out data:

Archive Forms

When a form is archived, it no longer appears in reports. The archived forms will also be removed from all exports, with the exception of Daily Saved Exports. Archiving forms that create cases will also undo all case creation. 

More detail can be found on the Archive Forms page.

Manage Forms

The easiest way to remove lots of data is to use the Manage Forms feature, which allows you to archive lots of forms at one time. This is available to projects with a Pro or higher software plan. You can use it to archive all of your project's data.

You can also use the Manage Forms tool to locate a specific subset of users and archive their form submissions.

Archive Single Forms

To remove specific data, you can locate individual forms using the Submit History report and archive them as described on Archive Forms. This is available to all users; however it may be difficult to use with a large volume of forms.

Delete Forms

To delete a form in CommCare, you'll first need to archive it. Once a form is deleted, all associated data will be lost forever.

Please ensure you really want to delete the form. Once deleted, it's permanent and can't be recovered.

Find more information on the form deletion feature here

Deleting Users

Deleting users cannot be reversed

Note that deleting a user triggers permanent deletion of all data associated with that user and cannot be undone. Please read the Notes & Warnings below, as well as the "Other Suggestions" section below before attempting to delete a user.

Data from deleted users is not available in any exports or reports. If you created test users and want to delete them and all data they ever submitted, this may be the easiest approach.

If you delete a user, please note the following behavior:

  • Forms: All forms that were submitted by that user are processed for permanent deletion.  If there are cases that are not deleted that reference a deleted form, there will be problems in that case's Case Detail view on HQ.  You will still see a reference to deleted forms in the Case History, but you will not be able to view them.  

  • Cases: All cases that are assigned to that user are processed for permanent deletion. If that case was modified by forms that are not deleted, you will not be able to click through to the Case from the "Case Changes" tab. 

Note: If a case is reassigned to a user that is later deleted, forms submitted against that case will still appear under saved exports unless the original user is deleted. An exception to this rule is if you are using case sharing. When you use case sharing, shared cases are NOT deleted when you delete either the user or the group. This behavior may change in the future for group deletion.


  • If you deleted a user, do not create another user with the same username. This can cause issues with your data.

  • If you just want to make sure that your users' case lists are clear you can Reassign Cases. However, forms are always associated with the user that submitted them, so if you reassign a case from User 1 to User 2 and then delete User 2, the case will no longer show up in any case list, but the forms will still show up when you search from User 1's submit history.

  • When you move cases to a new user, you are ONLY moving the "case"– not the individual form submissions.  It is strongly recommended that you NOT delete any "old" users if you want to be able to do any sort of data analysis.  Individual form submissions will always remain linked to the user that submitted them–even if that user is no longer active.  If you want to hide an old user's data you can "deactivate" the worker under the "settings & users" section of CommCareHQ.

After deleting the user, if the cases are still appearing in the case list on your mobile device, sync with server in order to remove them. If this doesn't work, you can try resetting the user's data (Clear User Data).

Deactivating Users

In general, deactivating users is not a useful method for getting rid of data.

Deactivated users are users that no longer use the mobile phone for the project, but have still submitted real data.  Deactivated users' data remains in all exports and in the submit history and case list reports. Deactivating a user will remove them from Worker Monitoring reports, but can be displayed by using the Unknown Users filter option where applicable. 

Switching Project Spaces

The absolute definitive way to get rid of all data is to use a separate project space for practice and testing. If you have lots of data that you want to get rid of, this may be the best option; however it will require to set up everything in the project space again.

Picking the Right Tool

In general, if you want to get rid of a large set of project data, then the Manage Forms (Archive) feature is going to be the most helpful. However, if you want to target specific types of data, here is a chart which indicates the best tool for each goal:


Approach 1 (warnings)

Approach 2 (warnings)


Approach 1 (warnings)

Approach 2 (warnings)

Get rid of cases

Archive or delete all of the forms that created the cases

(other form data associated with the cases will still be accessible)

Reassign the cases to another a different user and then delete that user

(it is not possible to reassign submitted forms)

Get rid of forms

Archive the forms (then delete the form, if desired)

Delete the user that submitted the form

(you cannot undo this action; all data submitted by the user will be permanently deleted)

Get rid of users

Delete the users

(you cannot undo this action; all data submitted by the user will be permanently deleted)

Deactivate the users

(this is useful if you want to temporarily hide them from worker monitoring reports, but will not hide any data associated with the users)