Add a Custom Variable in Your Survey - Zoho Survey | Online Help Guide

Custom V​ariables

Zoho Survey offers the following advanced features that take your surveying experience to a new level.
  1. Custom Variables
  2. Scoring
  3. Translate Survey
  4. Invite Reviewer
  5. Share Survey
  6. Send Copy
  7. Transfer Survey
  8. Export as PDF
  9. Print Survey
Using custom variables allows you to include information about a respondent in the survey without making the respondent answer those questions. In other words, it helps avoid asking for information that you already know. For example, imagine that there's a question in the survey that asks for the respondent's email. If you remove the email question from the survey but still need the respondent's email address, you can add a custom variable, and the email address will also show up in the survey reports. By extension, if you already know your respondents you can use custom variables and piping to auto-fill questions on your survey.

To add a custom variable in your survey:

  1. Click Advanced Options on the upper-right side of the survey builder.
  2. Click Custom Variables.
  3. Complete the URL Parameter box. Make sure you remember what you write in this field, because you'll need to use exactly the same variable name in the URL when sending out your survey. Read on dynamic parameters here.
  4. Enter a description for the custom variable in the Label box.
  5. Select the type of variable you'd like to use from the Type dropdown list:
    1. Text
    2. Email
    3. Number
    4. Choice: In the Options box, type in the choices (one per line). At least two options are required to save the variable.
  6. Select Mark as Health Information (ePHI) in the Data Privacy section to safeguard any health-related custom variable you've added in the survey. However, this is applicable only for surveys in the Healthcare category. You can modify the survey category in the Edit Survey Name section anytime. ePHI labelling selects the Encrypt answer field also, by default. 
    1. Or, select Encrypt answer to add an additional layer of security to the custom variable.
  7. Click Save Variable.

To test the custom variable:

  1. Copy the survey link from the Launch tab.
  2. Paste the URL in a new tab.
  3. Add ?email=<email address of the respondent or any other variable> to the URL. The survey will open and this email address will be recorded along with the user's responses. Any number of custom variables can be added to a survey URL by separating the variables by an ampersand (&). For example, https://surveylink?var1=[value]&var2=[value2]&var3=[value3].

To edit an existing custom variable: 

  1. Click Advanced Options on the upper-right side of the survey builder. 
  2. Click Custom Variable
  3. Hover over the custom variable you want to edit and click Create online surveys
  4. Edit the URL Parameter and Reports' Label  boxes as needed. 
  5. Click Save Variable.

To delete a custom variable:

  1. Click Advanced Options on the upper-right side of the survey builder. 
  2. Click Custom Variable
  3. Hover over the custom variable you want to delete and click Create online surveys

Custom Variable in Piping

You can use these custom variables while piping. If you already know the respondent of your survey, for example, you can personalize your survey by removing the Name question, and creating a custom variable instead.

To add a custom variable with piping:

  1. Create a custom variable, such as name.
  2. Add the variable name in the text of your question. Read more on piping.
  3. Copy the survey URL in the Launch tab.
  4. Paste the URL into a new tab.
  5. Add '?name=<name of the respondent' to the URL. The question will automatically have the respondent's name filled in.

Merge Tags

You can merge tags from other applications so that they appear in your survey reports by using our integrations with Zoho CRMZoho Campaigns, or MailChimp. While distributing the survey with any campaign tool, custom variables can be defined as merge tags corresponding to the campaign tool. For example, https://surveylink?var=$[merge-tag]. Learn more about adding merge tags to your URL here. When respondents submit the survey, you will find custom variables and extended custom variables in your survey reports. Using multiple custom variables helps reduce the number of questions in your survey, making it look neat, while still gathering the information you need.

Custom Variable Logic

You can add a custom variable logic in a similar way you would add a display logic for questions. Read on custom variable logic here.

Custom Variable in Trigger Emails

Read more on sending personalised email triggers using custom variables here.

    Zoho DataPrep Personalized Demo

    If you'd like a personalized walk-through of our data preparation tool, please request a demo and we'll be happy to show you how to get the best out of Zoho DataPrep.

    Zoho CRM Training

      Create, share, and deliver

      beautiful slides from anywhere.

      Get Started Now

              Zoho CRM Training Programs

              Learn how to use the best tools for sales force automation and better customer engagement from Zoho's implementation specialists.

              Zoho CRM Training

                  Zoho SalesIQ Resources

                      Zoho TeamInbox Resources

                                Zoho DataPrep Resources

                                  Zoho DataPrep Demo

                                  Get a personalized demo or POC

                                  REGISTER NOW

                                    Design. Discuss. Deliver.

                                    Create visually engaging stories with Zoho Show.

                                    Get Started Now

                                                          • Related Articles

                                                          • Custom Report

                                                            You can select questions and create customized reports. These reports can be shared or chosen by filter to show responses for specific questions. To create a custom report: Click Create in the Custom Report section. Enter a name in the Report ...
                                                          • Custom Field Encryption

                                                            You can now encrypt specific questions and custom variables, and the responses will be encrypted at rest (storage). For encrypted fields, only the equal to, not equal to, answered, and not answered operators will work in the reports filter. This ...
                                                          • How do I set up a custom domain?

                                                            To set up a custom domain, perform the following steps: Sign in to your domain registrar's control panel. Access the DNS Management Settings to change the DNS records. If you can't locate DNS Management, look for options such as Advanced ...
                                                          • What should I do if my custom domain is not working?

                                                            This can happen when your sub-domain is not mapped with Please perform the following steps: Sign in to your domain registrar's control panel. Access the DNS Management Settings to change the DNS records. If you can't locate ...
                                                          • I want to use the answer of a particular question on page one of the survey as a variable in a question on the subsequent page. Is there a limitation in using custom variables on different pages?

                                                            No, there is no restriction in using variables on different pages. To pipe in the response of the previous question into the following question, click Insert Variable and select the question for which you wish to add a follow up question. Read ...



                                                          Watch comprehensive videos on features and other important topics that will help you master Zoho CRM.


                                                          Download free eBooks and access a range of topics to get deeper insight on successfully using Zoho CRM.


                                                          Sign up for our webinars and learn the Zoho CRM basics, from customization to sales force automation and more.

                                                          CRM Tips

                                                          Make the most of Zoho CRM with these useful tips.

                                                            Zoho Show Resources