Import questionnaires from Word or PDF files

User Jonathan has asked us the following question:

Can you import a set of questions from MS-Word of PDF?

As already discussed here Word and PDF formats are not machine-processible.

  1. If you’ve got a hold of a questionnaire prepared in Survey Solutions, which was exported to PDF, then you need to contact the original author to have the questionnaire shared with you, rather then trying to recover the questionnaire from the PDF.

  2. If the PDF is from another system, then it may not have all the necessary information to recover the questionnaire from the document. Take for example a PDF version of the questionnaires coming from Kobo/ODK family of systems, such as an example here.
    While you may get a sense of what the content of the questionnaire is, of course you can’t see all the logic of validation and skips that are necessary for it’s proper implementation.

  3. If you have a system that can export data in particular formats, such as DOC, you may get some mileage with other systems, such as Qualtrics or Pointerpro, but as far as I know they impose heavy assumptions about formatting to import the document successfully, and you will need to configure your producing system to produce documents conforming to those rules.

  4. If you have a document like this I see only one choice is to lay this out as a new questionnaire in Survey Solutions Designer (or in any other system of your choice for that matter). It is a common task and one could fish out an interested and motivated consultant to assist with this in the Jobs and consultants section of this forum.

So if a generic questionnaire consists of less than perhaps a 1000 questions, trying to look for an automatic converter is unproductive. Plus there will always be elements not handled automatically, and even those things that are handled automatically, will still need to be checked.

Best, Sergiy