The grid theme is finally available in Survey123

I got a lovely surprise when I opened my emails on Friday – ESRI has finally gotten around to implementing a beta version of the grid theme in Survey123.

I know I’ve been quiet on the blog for a while, but that’s because I’ve been keeping my rants about GIS offline (mostly). In particular, my utter frustration at not being able to replicate a very critical paper-based form digitally because of the lack of a grid theme.

I even went as far as chucking Survey123 completely, setting up ODK Collect from scratch and trying out the grid theme there. I was not happy with the results at all, so I resigned myself to a compromise: replicating the forms in Excel and extracting the data automatically from the spreadsheets as the team uploads them to OneDrive in the field. Terrible, I know, but still better than paper.

Since ESRI is making this tentatively worded claim in the beta forum:

It’s now possible to design a digital smart form that closely resembles its paper form predecessor!

I will be putting it to the test today. It’s still not the holy grail though, which would be a proper table theme, but it at least takes us a step closer.

3 thoughts on “The grid theme is finally available in Survey123

  1. Paul says:

    Hi Cindy,

    I was wondering if you had any success using the new grid feature? I am new to Survey123 and am currently attempting to assess whether it’s suitable for digitising a lot of complicated paper forms – this feature would certainly be something that would be of use to us.

    Also, in general – how do you find working with Survey123?



    • Hi Paul,

      The grid theme is currently in beta, so it’s only available via the Survey123 Early Adopters forum. I’m currently testing it out, but I’m afraid that my initial reservations about it were correct. It does not allow the replication of paper-based forms using a true table theme. It does help with using the space more effectively though, as one can now stack 4 dropdown questions together in one line.

      Generally, Survey123 is easy to use, and I’ve carried out many successful projects using it. It’s true power is in its deep integration within the ArcGIS ecosystem. I’ve got a project running where I’ve integrated Workforce and Survey123 using ArcGIS Online to create a data capture, QA and invoicing system for structure assessments for a local municipality. This was possible because the survey feature service is easily accessible through a variety of ESRI apps, allowing me to write scripts which trigger at different points depending on who is accessing the data.

      If you have access to an ESRI organisational licence and, I highly recommend Survey123.


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