This page contains definitions and suggestions for how to interpret the metadata fields in CommCare data.
What is the difference between "---" and blank values in form exports?
1. Seeing "---" in a form export
If you see "---" in a form, this means that a question was never presented to the end user. For example, if you have a question that had a display condition that was not met and therefore the question was hidden completely from the mobile worker, including that field in a form export will show "---" as the value, i.e. questions skipped logically/automatically by the app show up in exports as "---"
This also happens when the mobile user is not using the latest version of an application in which question ids have been changed, hence the user never sees the latest questions and the data appears as "—". For more information, see Making Changes to a Deployed Application.
2. Seeing blank in a form export
If you see a completely blank cell in Excel for a question, this means the question was presented to the user but not answered. This is different from "---" because the question was shown to the user, i.e. questions that the mobile user saw but decided to skip on their own show up in exports as an empty value, " ".
Basic Form Metadata
When creating or modifying form export you will find certain fields are automatically included:
|Field Name||Description||Other Notes|
|number||Number of the row of data; mostly useful for matching with other tabs for repeat groups||See Repeat Data in Form Exports|
|formid||Unique id for the form submission|
|completed_time||The time when the form was submitted (based on device time)|
|started_time||The time when the form was initially opened (based on device time)|
|username||Username of the user who submitted the form|
|received_on||Time that the form was received by the server|
Advanced Form Metadata
Some additional fields can be accessed in form exports by choosing "Show Advanced Questions" in the Form Export configuration
|Field Name||Description||Other Notes|
|userID||CommCare-generated alphanumeric ID for a particular user.|
|@xmlns||This defines the URI which specifies the structure of metadata, which is http://openrosa.org/jr/xforms|
|@name||The text readable name of the form.|
|App Version||Version of the CommCare application used to submit the form.||This number corresonds to the list of versions in the Application Builder|
|deviceID||The ID of the device from which the form was submitted. This is generally the phone's IMEI code.||This number might change if you reinstall CommCare on the same phone|
|location||ID of the relevant location|
|app_id||Unique ID of the application|
|@version||Version of the specific form.||Each time you save a change, the app builder increments this version count but this doesn't update the App Version column (above) until you build and update to that version of the app.|
|state||Should be "XFormInstance"|
|partial_submission||This should always be FALSE.|
|edited_on||If the form was edited, displays the system date/time of that edit|
|submit_ip||IP from which the form was submitted.|
In general, the bulk of a form export will have these types of column headers, unless modified in the export configuration:
1. Data displayed in the format: form.field_name (for instance, form.edd). Data entered by the mobile worker.
2. Data displayed in the format: form.case.update.field_name (for instance, form.case.update.edd). Data entered by the mobile worker that then updated a case.
3. Data displayed in the format: form.case.create.field_name (for instance, form.case.create.case_name). Data created by the system during the creation of a new case.
There are also a number of fields which are unique to case exports, some of which are listed here:
|user_name||User name of case owner, including firstname.lastname@example.org|
|user_id||UUID of user that owns the case||3c5a623af057e23a32ae4000cf291339|
|date_modified||Date and time case was last modified||2011-12-13T15:09:47Z|
|closed||Status of the case (open, closed)||false|
|date_closed||Date and time case was closed||2011-12-20T15:09:47Z|
|properties||List of all editable case properties, including both special predefined properties and user-defined dynamic properties|
|owner_id||ID of the owner of the case (can be user or group)|
|case_name||Name of case||Rose|
|external_id||External ID associated with the case||123456|
|case_type||Type of case||pregnancy|
|date_opened||Date and time case was opened||2011-11-16T14:26:15Z|