Error: 'Allow_choice_duplicates'

Hi all, there seems to be a bug in the latest release of pyxform v0.15.0 that shipped with ODK XLSForm Online v1.6 and ODK XLSForm Offline v1.11.

I don't yet know what the problem is, but I've filed the upstream issue at and you can track progress there.

While we try to track down the problem, I've rolled back to the previous version (v1.5). If you use XLSForm Offline, you can download the previous version (v1.11) here.

@Ukang_a_Dickson can you help?

Thank you for your help. Both the online and offline versions still produce the same error message. Is there another way to convert the xml file, I have always used this online/offline tools so I am not sure about other options.

Thanks a lot.


@AL Can you retry the online server? I just made a few changes. Also, what version of the offline app did you try? Finally, can you please share a small form that has this problem? It'd really help track this down.

The new online version now works :slight_smile: This is life saving since we are starting our survey in Kenya next week!

Thanks again for your help.


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Many thanks from me too, the XLSForm Online is working again for me. Much appreciated.

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@Genevieve_Audet_B, @pjames, and @Sivan I'm having trouble reproducing the list index out of range issue. Do you have a sample form that you can share so we can fix this problem?

The reported issues have been fixed in the newest releases of ODK XLSForm Online v1.6 and ODK XLSForm Offline v1.11. Thanks to everyone who reported the issue and provided a sample form.

Hi, I think the issue is back today (Sep 24, 2019 @ 10:15 MST) using v.1.6.1 . I'm attempting to convert a XLSform that previously worked, and am getting the exact same error as above:
"Error: There does not seem to be a allow_choice_duplicates column header defined in your settings sheet. You must have set allow_choice_duplicates setting in your settings sheet to have duplicate choice list names in your choices sheet"

@Greg You probably have a duplicate choice name in one or more of your choice lists. This is a new error that was added because choices with the same name will be impossible to differentiate in analysis.

You will need to either remove the duplicate choices or add allow_choice_duplicates column in your settings sheet and below that header write yes.

This is a not great error message and there is an issue at to improve it.

OK, thanks @yanokwa ! I was just confused because it was the same form as before that worked.

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Issue is still exist in 1.6.1

I experiment this issue with a form which previously works perfectly
I did not change any thing except the version name
were can I find the previous version ?

@ganesh_rajput, @Fabienne35, the problem is almost certainly that you actually have duplicate choice names in one or more of your lists. For example, you might have options with labels "Red" and Blue" that both have the name "2". This is a problem because you won't be able to tell in analysis whether the user selected red or blue. That's what the error is about.

Sometimes this is intentional because you want to do something like give red and blue the same "weight" when doing a calculation later. In that case, you can add a settings sheet (see, add a column named allow_choice_duplicates and put the value yes below that heading.



I am also still having an issue with this in both the online and the offline forms. What was the fix that was made or needs to be made?

Please make sure to read this post for context. You have two options:

  • If you intend for each choice to be treated differently in analysis, look for duplicate names in your lists and replace them with unique names
  • If you intend to have choices that are treated the same in analysis, add the allow_choice_duplicates column with value yes below it on the settings sheet (see

I currently have the same issue converting to xlsform using the online tool. The site it says it's on v.1.6.1. Can anyone help? Thanks.

Sorry I hadn't seen the posts above recommending adding the 'allow_choice_duplicates' column in settings. After doing this, it has worked thanks.

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This works well; image


I also encountered this issue today, converting a form which I had successfully converted 4 days ago (using the same online converter). It works with the "allow_choice_duplicates" in the online v1.6.1 - however, is this a temporary issue, or should I include this setting for all forms going forward?


@Carina_T_King You'll need to include this setting for a forms where you want to have choice duplicates. We've updated our docs at and update XLSForm Online with improved error messages.