Formatting Text

  • Classic Design
  • New Design
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    Classic and New Design

    Classic Design is our original survey design tool. New Design is our new survey design tool that is currently in beta.

    Which version am I using? »

If you wish to have specific parts of the survey stand out, use HTML code to add elements like bold or underlines. This is an advanced feature and is activated only on Professional accounts. Knowledge of coding is necessary as we do not offer additional support.

  • To activate this, login to your account and click the My Account tab.
  • Under the Preferences section, click the Edit button and click Enable HTML.
  • To turn it off, simply click the Disable HTML button.


How to Use HTML in Your Survey:

Type the code (or tags) into places of the survey design where you can enter text for the questions, page descriptions, answer choices, Email Invitation messages, and Thank You page collector settings.

NOTE:  If the code itself still appears in the survey after activating it, click Edit, and then Save again for each of the questions to reload them.

  • HTML used in the Page Descriptions or Descriptive Text questions will also strip our automatic formatting; therefore, it will be necessary to enter all line breaks and paragraphs manually. (*See additional coding examples at the bottom of this page.)


Important! Check all code for correct usage:

Be sure that everything is clean and correct. If you do not close tags or the coding is incorrect, then it will affect the survey design.

arrow Correct Coding:

  • Correct format to bold a word:  <b>word to bold</b>
  • Correct format to italicize a word: <i>word to italicize</i>
  • Correct format to underline a word: <u>word to underline</u>

arrow Incorrect Coding:

  • Incorrect format: <b>This text will not be correct
  • Incorrect format: <b>This text will not be correct<b/>
  • Incorrect format: <b>This text will not be correct<b

arrow Limitations in Coding:

You will not be able to use advanced coding such as creating your own buttons, etc.

  • <form> elements will not work as this will interfere with our own <form> elements.
  • Adding JavaScript will not work.


Additional Options:

Want to create an invitation message using your own HTML? When sending it through our email server, view the following topic:

arrow  Using HTML in the Email Invitation collector

NOTE: We only offer limited support. You may want to reference the following site for tutorials on HTML:


lightbulb Commonly used Tags in SurveyMonkey:

1. Line-Break:

Insert line-break HTML code to break up long sentences in question formats, matrix rows, page descriptions, etc.

Simply place the code in between the words where you want the sentence to break or wrap.

The line break code looks like: <br>


If you wanted a sentence to break here<br>then you would place that code accordingly. (Between the words "here" and "then.")


2. Paragraphs:

New paragraphs can be created in blocks of text by using the paragraph coding.

Place the code in front of the text to begin the paragraph. Then place the end tag where the paragraph is to end.

The paragraph code looks like: <p> and </p>


<p>If you want this block of text to be a paragraph, then you will use this code around the text.</p>


3. Hyperlinks:

To add a hyperlink into the design or into the Thank You Message of a collector, use the following:

Respondents are to "click here" to open a new window which loads "":

A.) <a target="_blank" href="">click here</a>

or use:

B.) <a target="window1" href="">click here</a>


4. Hyperlink to an Email Address:

To include an email address in the survey for respondents to contact you or ask questions, use the following in a Descriptive Text or inside the Question Textbox of other question types:

<a href="">Email Me</a>


5. Bullet Points:

To create a list:


This will be displayed as:

  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Milk


You can use the text formatting toolbar to change the look of survey text, add media, or link to other information. Note that text formatting options in the Survey Title, Page Title, and Page Description fields are limited.

The following options are available in most text fields:

When you're editing question text, click . in the formatting toolbar to access the full set of options.

HTML Formatting

There is no way to add your own HTML formatting in New Design. If you switched from using Classic Design to New Design, any existing HTML formatting will continue to show correctly and your live surveys will not be affected. However, your options for editing questions with existing HTML are limited.

Learn more: Supported HTML

I can't bold my question text.

All standard themes have bold question text by default. When you bold question text using the formatting toolbar, your changes may not be reflected in the live preview. To fix this, change the typography settings of your theme.

Change the Default Style. To customize the text formatting across your entire survey, create a custom theme.
You can format text to bold, italicize, underline, hyperlink, or change the font, color, or size of words. Themes bold question text by default—manage this setting in the typography settings of your theme.