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Online surveys  (formerly BOS)

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Ten things you can do in BOS

Posted: 4th December 2015

Whether you are a new BOS user or have been using BOS for a while, you may not have had the chance to explore all of the options available to you.  Here are ten things that you may not know that you can do in BOS:

1. Add documents to your survey for your respondents to view / download

If you have information about your research that is too long to put on a survey page, or something that you need your respondents to read and comment on, you can upload a document to BOS and link to it in your survey.  Please see this Help page for instructions:


2. Change your survey URL

BOS gives your survey a default URL based on the survey name.  If your survey name is long, your survey URL will also be long.  This is sometimes not ideal.

Your survey URL can be changed in your survey_settings small Distribution settings.  Full instructions are available here:


3. Change your password

You can change your password at any time in one of two ways:

  1. When you are signed in to BOS, click Manage at the top right of the screen and choose Change password.
  2. At the BOS sign in screen, click Forgotten password and send yourself a password reset email.

4. Choose different display options for your results

Bar charts are used by default in the Analyse page but you can change these to pie charts or tables on a question-by-question basis or all at once.

You can also click on the bar charts to re-order your results.  Results displayed in bar charts can be ordered by:

  • the answer option order used in the question; or
  • number of responses (ascending or descending).

More information is available here:


5. Redirect respondents who come to your survey early or late

Instead of a standard “this survey is not open” or “this survey has closed” message, if respondents go to your survey URL before your survey is open or after it has closed you can redirect them to another website.  See this FAQ for instructions:


6. Use your own image as a survey logo or background

BOS has 16 different themes for you to choose from.  Some of these come with their own background image, but for those that don’t, you can add your own background image to make your survey uniquely your own.

You can also add your own image as a survey logo.  To access these options, go to the Design tab of your survey and click appearance icon Survey appearance in the left-hand menu.  This Help page explains all of the available options in detail:


7. Change your survey’s opening and closing dates at any time

How to close a survey early or re-open a closed survey is one of our most frequently asked questions.

Your survey’s opening and closing dates are edited in the survey_settings small Distribution settings screen, found under the Distribute tab, and can be changed at any time.

open-close date

8. Create sub-questions that hide if they are not applicable

If you have a yes/no question, and you want to follow up any “yes” answers with another question, you can set up a sub-question that will hide if your respondents choose “no”.  This means that only the people who answer “yes” need to answer the sub-question.

To do this, add a sub-question then, under the Advanced options, choose the appropriate answer at “Required if previous answer was…”.

9. Copy your survey (as many times as you like!)

If you want to re-use all or part of an existing survey in a new survey, you can copy the survey rather than create a new one from scratch.

Questions can also be copied – both within and between surveys – to save you time and effort.

10. Give your respondents a receipt and/or a copy of their answers when they complete your survey

In the survey_settings small Survey settings (found under the Design tab) you can enable or disable a number of completion options.  Two of these options are:

  1. Show completion receipt, which provides respondents with the time and date that they completed the survey and gives them a unique response number; and
  2. Allow response printout, which provides a PDF of all the answers given to the survey questions for your respondents to save or print as needed.