Frequently Asked Questions

7. LimeSurvey FAQ


LimeSurvey is an open-source, free, and secure web-based survey application that is available to all faculty, staff, and students.

While an open-source project, LimeSurvey is a mature product with all the features one would expect from surveying software. LimeSurvey features advanced question features such as auto-validation and conditional logic. It also is able to export survey results to various common data analysis packages such as R and SPSS.
For more information about LimeSurvey's advanced features, feel free to consult their online manual.

LimeSurvey can look intimidating at first (it can do a lot!) so if you have any questions or need help setting up a survey, feel free to contact the Institute Helpdesk.

Logging In

LimeSurvey can be accessed at To create a survey you must first click the login button, confirm that the authentication method is set to LDAP and enter your Mass General Brigham Username and Password.


Creating Surveys - Introduction

LimeSurveys are organized into three elements: Survey, Question Groups and Questions. A Survey requires a unique name/title, and allows the user to set specific settings for each individual survey. Every survey must contain at least one Question Group. Question groups allow users to group common survey Questions together. A Question Group must contain at least one Question. Users add questions and answer options, when appropriate, to each Question Group contained in the Survey.


After logging in and clicking the Create Survey button you will be asked to fill out a few fields before you can start building the survey questions. The only fields that are required before building the survey is the Base Language (defaults to English) and the Survey Title. You will also have the option of adding a Description, a Welcome message and an End message.

In addition, there are also a number of general settings that can be modified at anytime after the creation of your survey including Presentation, Access Control and Data Management. For a complete list of settings and descriptions, please visit LimeSurvey's "Survey Settings" page.


Adding Question Groups and Questions

Groups are used to group questions in a survey. If you are going to have multiple groups, you should note that by default the survey questions will be displayed group by group (you can change that at the survey settings). Groups can also include a "description". This field allows you to publish an explanatory note for any set of questions.


Once you have created your groups, you can start adding questions within each group. When adding a question, you will be presented with a number of fields including Question Code (required), the Question, Help and a Question Type. For a complete list of the field descriptions, please visit LimeSurvey's "Field Descriptions" list.

All new questions are assigned to the Group you were viewing when you clicked "Add Question", however you can change the group the question belongs to at a later point.

You can also reference LimeSurvey's list of "Question Types" for a description of the options.


Review and Activate


Your survey's home screen is where you will find the options to easily Review your settings, Preview your survey, and Activate it to make it available for users to fill out. Here you will also find the URL of your survey so that you can easily distribute it. Once you are ready, Save & Activate your survey.


Closed-Access Mode


Immediately after activating your survey you will be asked if you would like to a initialize a token table for closed-access mode. This option isn't required but is available if you would like to only invite a certain group of people to participate in your survey, keep track of who has completed the survey, and ensure that each person can only participate once. The tokens feature allows you to do the following:

  • Import a list of names and email addresses for participants (from a CSV file or an LDAP query)
  • Generate a unique token number for each participant (invitation code)
  • Send an email invitation to each person in your list, by group or individually
  • Send a reminder email to each person in your list who has not yet responded, by group or individually
  • Track who from your list has responded
  • Restrict access against people who have not got a token, and those with a token who have already responded
  • Edit/change any details in your list
  • Create email templates for invitations & reminders

Once the survey is switched to Closed-access mode (you have enabled tokens for this survey), then only the people with a valid token code (not already used) can access the survey. For more information about closed-access mode please visit LimeSurvey's "Survey Participants" page.

View Responses


Once you have distributed your survey, it will then be time review the responses. All of your surveys (both inactive and active) can be accessed using the List Surveys button.


The list view allows you to quickly view certain basic statistics about all of your surveys.


For more advanced features such as editing general information along with viewing and exporting the statistics, simply click on the name of the survey to reveal the options menu.

Best Practices

LimeSurvey makes it easy to put together a survey very quickly. Unfortunately, that makes putting a bad survey together very easy too. "A Simple Guide to Making a Good Survey" is a great resource that will help you put together a survey which will not only be painless for your audience to answer, but will give you meaningful answers too