Preventing users from swiping back to earlier questions

In addition to turning on 'Auto send' you can also turn on the Collect option to 'Delete after send'.

Once the form is sent you are protected from further changes as Aggregate will not accept changed data, so perhaps having 'Auto send' on, with a cellular data plan, will create the least possibility of changes to your survey

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Hola compañeros de ODK

Muchas gracias por sus respuestas, mi necesidad de que el encuestador no
pueda retroceder pantalla mientras esta haciendo la encuesta se debe a que
hay una sección de la encuesta en la que se listan a las personas del hogar
para que la maquina por medio de unos calculos seleccione a una especifica
para realizarle la encuesta.
Como el encuestador puede retroceder cambia la posición de las personas
listadas y volver a realizar la selección pero eso no es la idea de la
muestra probabilistica que se requiere.
En ese orden de ideas lo que quiero es poder bloquearles esa posibilidad de
retroceder mientras están realizando la encuesta.
Yo trabajo el diseño del formulario en excel y tengo dos hojas una es el
survey y la otra el Choice.

Mil gracias por estar siempre atentos.

Hm, that does seem like a reason not to allow going back. I don't think this is currently possible in Collect. Can you ask or train or trust your users not to swipe back? Is this a problem you already have today, or one you are afraid might occur in the future?

Ya se empezo a presentar y la anulacion de encuestas por este motivo es la
que me lleva a realizar esta consulta.

Lastima que no se pueda controlar,

Mil gracias

I'm sorry we didn't have better answers for you. Good luck!

I think it's a feature that should be considered. In fact, I believe there are a number of Collect forks that have some variant of it.

A big thing to figure out before it can be built is how the setting is applied. Is it defined at the form level for the entire form? Is it applied to a particular question such that after reaching that question enumerators can't go back? Is it defined as an admin setting that affects all currently active forms on the device?

Hola Hélène

Efectivamente si se requiere solo para una parte de la encuesta, que en
ninguno de los pantallazos donde se listan a las personas del hogar y donde
el programa ya selecciona al encuestado puedan devolverse, en la plataforma
que se utilizaba antes para el estudio "TESI" solo bastaba con una
opción que era "Bloquear opción atrás", pero aquí no hemos podido realizar
este ajustes.

Gracias y saludos,

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Hi guys!

I'm going to implement this feature in collect. We can implement it on three different levels:

  1. Setting in Settings - related to all forms
  2. Form level
  3. Question level

I was talking to @LN and I should start work on the first one.

So my idea is to add a new checkbox in Settings ("Allow moving backwards in the form" - checked by default). If unchecked we should block moving backwards in all forms.

I guess we should also block editing forms. Probably the entire "edit saved forms" menu should be automatically hidden?
Also we should block "Go to prompt" menu (or only "Go to start"/"Go to end" buttons)
any thoughts?


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Thank you for taking this on, @grzesiek2010! The settings at the app level has been ready for some time and needs feedback before it can be integrated and released. To be clear, this is a first step and similar functionality will likely be added at the form and question level in the future. If someone wants to contribute that, it would be most welcome. The first step (and probably the most difficult one!) will be to make a proposal for how this would be indicated in the form.

For those who would like to see the code or try it out:

The current implementation adds a setting in the User interface general settings menu:
49 PM

This can be shown or hidden in the "user settings" part of administrator settings:
15 PM

When it is unchecked, the user can only move forward in a form and not backwards.

Typically organizations will want to combine this with an administrator password. They will also want to hide the "edit saved forms" button from the main screen and the "go to prompt" button from form entry. This combination of settings will ensure that users can only open a form once and can only navigate forward in it.

It's not clear to me that this setting is useful without an administrator password. That is, if an enumerator sets Collect not to allow going backwards, they can always change it again to allow it. I think it might make more sense to only allow the administrator to enable or disable going backwards, just like with the goto prompt. This would mean adding a single setting in the "form entry settings" section of administrator settings.

What do others think? @Nikhil_Patil @Dr_Jaideep_Gupte @Gunn777

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Hola a todos

Estoy de acuerdo con @LN esta configuración debe estar en manos del administrador para que surja efecto, leí sino estoy mal que era posible bloquear el ir hacia atrás en la encuesta y que solo se pueda ir para adelante, luego de revisar en los apartes del aplicativo no encontré dicha opción, me gustaría saber si esta disponible o solo fue una mal interpretación por parte mía.


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The option isn't available right now in the official/released ODK Collect app. However, you can try it using the code provided above by Hélène (github link)

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In Collect 1.12+ there is a "Moving backwards" setting in Admin Settings > Form Entry Settings. When an administrator unchecks this option, they can choose to also block other settings that make backwards movement possible (edit saved form, jump to question, etc). When using this setting, you will generally want to set an admin password so a user can't bypass it.


Hi @Grzesiek2010,

New to ODK but it is meeting my needs really well.

I've made use of the moving backwards check, which searching the forum I can now see is only a recently introduced feature. Perfect timig on my part!

My original need was to prevent swiping back at a question level, corresponding to where the enumerator hands the device across for the respondent to input more sensitive data for themselves.

You mentioned the possibility of implementing this at Question level. I'm guessing much in the same way Excel allows individual cells to be unprotected within a protected worksheet? Is this likely to happen or is it felt the Settings implementation will suffice for the near future?




Hi @panthonyl

The current implementation is just an option in settings which affects all forms (and all questions in such a form). You are right I mentioned about implementing the same on a form level but currently we don't have any opened tickets for that. You can report your idea here and describe what you need.


Hi @Grzesiek2010.

Just posted at Refinement of swiping back feature.



Hello @Grzesiek2010, @LN,

Was the question level setting ever built? could this be customized in the xls file?


Hi @paul_macharia
the answer is no, there is just an option in admin settings and this is the only way you can use it.

Thanks @Grzesiek2010,

I am building a clinical decision support system for adolescent mental health, intimate partner violence and relationship screening and referral. The clinicians would have preferred users not being able to navigate backwards from a certain level of the survey especially when its self administered.

Maybe using the audit feature, the research team could be able to track changes. The audit feature on "track-changes" seem not to work for me in kobotoolkit, could anyone know why?


Yes you can ask your enumerators not to navigate back and then check if they obeyed using audit feature.

@LN was there any reason why we didn't add that option on a form level?

You need to ask on their forum:

You are right,

When administered by a enumerator, this could work. however, when its self-administered, the audit file will keep track of this. But on extreme cases, there could be a mis-diagnosis of cases due to the changed entries.

This could be a feature to consider for question-level design.