ODK Central v1.4

We are excited to announce a new release of ODK Central, the ODK server.

If you haven't used Central, the easiest way to get started is with ODK Cloud. Our cloud hosting provides Central servers with automatic updates, daily backups, uptime guarantees, and fast support.

If you are technical and prefer to self-host and rely on community support, start with our installation docs.

If you are using ODK Cloud, we'll be rolling out these updates in the coming days. If you are not using ODK Cloud, follow the upgrade instructions.

:warning: Managed backups include all of your collected data but do not include sufficient information to re-establish the same Web Form links. If you use managed backups and Web Form links, read this. :warning:

Release Overview

Version 1.4 of ODK Central sends deleted Forms to trash and permanently deletes them after 30 days. It also improves export options, particularly for users coming from ODK Briefcase.

Now when you delete a Form, it will automatically be placed in the Trash. You can find the Trash on the Project page the Form used to live in, below the active Forms. Forms in the Trash will be permanently deleted 30 days after deletion. At any time, you can undelete a Form that's still in the Trash to restore it to exactly the way it was before.

In Central v1.4, the Download CSV button on the Submissions page now gives you a pop-up with additional options you can choose from. The same format options we had before still exist over on the right. The three new export options are as follows:

  • Split “select multiple” choices will create a new column on export for each unique “select multiple” value we know about. So if you have a column of favorite_colors, you might end up with three extra columns red, green, and blue. These extra columns will indicate whether the user checked that option on that given record or not.
  • Remove group names will skip the prefix that gets attached to field names nested inside groups. Every Form has an instanceID, for example, inside the meta group, which normally gets you meta-instanceID. With this option checked, you would just get instanceID.
  • Include previously deleted Form fields will re-include every known previously deleted field (excluding Drafts) on the Form in the export, along with all known data matching those fields.

Other Highlights

Thanks in part to feedback from our users, we have made a number of additional improvements.

  • A Draft Form will automatically be permanently deleted once it has been replaced or abandoned.
  • The Server Audit Log will indicate whether the initiator or target of an action has been deleted.
  • We now save and display additional information about each Submission:
    • The Form version for which the Submission was filled
    • The user agent that sent the Submission. Among other things, this will indicate which version of ODK Collect or Enketo was used to fill the Submission.
    • API users can use the API to fetch the user agent and device ID for each Submission edit
  • Passwords and Managed Encryption passphrases are now required to be at least 10 characters. For ease of upgrade, existing passwords that are shorter than 10 characters are not required to change. However, we strongly encourage users to update any passwords that are shorter than 10 characters.
  • Central is now available in Swahili. A big thank-you to @PhyllisIsaiah for contributing these translations! If your language is missing from Central, please contribute it.
  • Show a message if a Submission download is not yet available.
  • Improve the appearance of selection dropdowns in Safari.
  • Support parentheses in the OData filter.
  • Increase the limit on payload size in case there are many Forms.
  • Do not log password hashes in the Server Audit Log.
  • Improve the resiliency of backend workers.
  • Update Enketo.
    • Ensure that form_logo.png is loaded when present.
    • All signature images are now uploaded in offline-capable Forms.
  • Update pyxform.
    • Add accuracy parameters for geopoint.
    • Warn when languages are missing translations.

As always, we have updated our User Documentation and API Documentation for the latest changes.

More notes about changes to the API for v1.4 can be found in the API Changelog, which lists additions, breaking changes, and other things of note for each major release.

What’s Next

To learn more about the roadmap for Central, read What’s coming in Central over the next few years.


ODK Central v1.4.1 is now available. Before starting, Central will now verify that all database migrations associated with an upgrade have completed successfully. This helps verify that the upgrade was successful.

Under uncommon circumstances, Central may run out of memory during the upgrade to v1.4 from an earlier version. If you encounter this error, please create a new support topic in the forum.

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The team is currently tracking a bug whereby it is not possible to both split "select multiple" fields and filter Submissions when downloading Submissions. An error message will be shown in this case. It continues to be possible to split "select multiple" fields or to filter Submissions, but these operations cannot be used together. We plan to release a patch version of ODK Central next week that will address this issue. In the meantime, some users may find it useful to split "select multiple" fields using Central, then filter within their data analysis tool of choice.


ODK Central v1.4.2 is now available. It fixes the bug described above: users are now able to both filter Submissions and split "select multiple" fields. v1.4.2 also updates pyxform to the latest version and fixes an issue with memory usage on certain XLSForms.