Custom Variables

Custom Variables is a logic feature you can use with a Web Link collector to track data about people who take your survey. It passes data you put in your survey link into your survey results.

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Video Overview


Setting Up Custom Variables

Create custom variables when designing your survey, then add them to your Web Link collector before you send it out. Once you have responses, you can see your custom variables when you export.

1. Creating them in your survey design

To add custom variables:

  1. Click the Design Survey tab.
  2. In the left sidebar, click the @ Logic icon.
  3. Click Custom Variables.
  4. Click + New custom variable.
  5. Set up the first variable:
    • Variable Name (required) - This goes in the Web Link.
    • Label (optional) - This shows in your survey results, to help you track what each variable is for.
  6. Click Save.

2. Adding them to your Web Link

Now that you have custom variables in your survey, it’s time to create your survey link and add custom values to each variable.

To create your Web Link and add values:

  1. Click the Collect Responses tab.
  2. Create a Web Link collector.
  3. Copy the survey link. The template for adding your custom values will already be added to the end of the link and will follow this format:

  4. Outside of SurveyMonkey (in Excel, Google Sheets, Numbers, etc.), replace the bracketed values with the values you want to pass through the URL. Custom variables are case sensitive, so make sure they match what you entered in the Design Survey section.
  5. Send each link to the people you want to take the survey.
TIP! If you set the Survey End Page to redirect respondents to the website of your choice, custom variables will also pass through to the redirect URL.

3. Viewing them in your results

In the Analyze Results tab, you can filter by custom variables. You can see custom variables at the end of each row in All Responses Data XLS or SPSS export types.



Let's say you want to send out a short employee survey to three members of your Research department. Instead of asking each respondent to fill out their name, department, and title in the survey itself, you want to track this information about them through the survey link using Custom Variables. Here's how you would do this, from beginning to end:

Design Survey

Create 3 variables based on the respondent information you want to pass through the survey link.

Variable Name: n
Label: Name

Variable Name: dept
Label: Department

Variable Name: t
Label: Title

Collect Responses

Create a Web Link Collector. When you view the link, the template for adding your custom values will already be appended to the end of it:


Outside of SurveyMonkey, create a unique link for each respondent by replacing the bracketed values with each person's Name, Department, and Title. Send each unique link to each respective respondent.




Analyze Results

Download an All Responses Data XLS, or SPSS export to see the custom variables paired with each response. In the spreadsheet, the results for this one-question survey will look like this:

Which do you like best?NameDepartmentTitle
Option BananaLizzieResearchIntern
Option BananaJennaResearchAnalyst
Option AppleHaileeResearchSurveyDesigner



URL Length

Web Link collectors can attach up to 100 custom variables to the URL. So you don't exceed universal URL length limitations, we suggest URLs remain under 2,000 characters to maintain functionality with popular web browsers.

Forbidden Characters and Variable Names

You can't use the following in Variable Names, Variable Labels, or as values inserted into the survey link template:

  • Letters with accents (for example, À, É, ï, ó, Û, ñ, or ÿ)
  • Special characters like:


You can't use the following in Variable Names:

  • sm
  • mode
  • c
  • cid
  • rid
  • r
  • s
  • pID
  • s_mod
  • Fmt
  • prizeshown
  • Token
  • Disqualify
  • overquota
  • lang
  • javascript


No Way to Automatically Insert Values

There is no way to automatically insert values into the survey link template within SurveyMonkey. You will need to do this manually, or run your own script to insert the values into the survey link template, outside of SurveyMonkey.

If you are uncomfortable with this approach, consider using the Email Invitation Collector to track custom data about respondents.

Collector Options

Custom variables don't work with Recurrences. Turn off the Recurrence collector option to make sure your custom variables work properly.


Custom Variables is a logic feature that allows you to track data about respondents by passing one or more values through a survey link and into your survey results.

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