Manage form submissions

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This topic describes how to set a retention policy and view, export, and delete form submissions.

Set a retention policy

Setting up a retention policy lets you control how long form submissions are stored in Optimizely Content Management System (CMS). The retention policy is set on the form so that you can have different retention policies. You can also have different settings for finalized form submissions and partially submitted form data.

Image: Retention policy

Form submission data is stored in a database, and expired submissions are cleaned up by a scheduled job running regularly. As a consequence, previously stored data might be removed as well. The scheduled job can be enabled and disabled by your administrator in Admin view > Submission Cleanup Job Scheduler. Expired submissions will not be removed if the job is disabled.

To set up a retention policy for a form's partially submitted form data:

  1. Open the form's All Properties view and go to the Retention Policy tab.
  2. Select one of the three options:
    • Default (keep for 30 days) – Any partial submission of this form is retained for a default period of time. This value is normally 30 days but a developer can modify this.
    • Keep for (days) – This option lets you customize the retention period (in number of days) by entering a numeric value.
    • Keep Forever – Select this option to permanently keep the partially submitted form data.
  3. Publish the form. Your settings do not take effect until the form is published.

To set up a retention policy for a form's finalized submissions:

  1. Open the form's All Properties view and go to the Retention Policy tab.
  2. Select one of the three options:
    • Default (forever) – Any finalized submissions of this form is retained for a default period of time. The value is forever by default, but a developer can modify this.
    • Keep for (days) – This option lets you customize the retention period (in number of days) by entering a numeric value.
    • Keep forever – Select this option to keep the finalized form submissions permanently.
  3. Publish the form. Your settings do not take effect until the form is published.

View form submissions

If your system is set up to encrypt form submissions, you need access rights to view the form submissions.

To view form submissions, open a form and select Form submissions from the Select View menu, or the form's context menu in the Forms gadget. 

Image: Select view menu option Image: Form element context menu

The Form submissions view displays with data submitted from the form.

Image: Form submissions view

The displayed columns in the Form submissions view depend on which form elements the form contains. You can click each column header to sort the information. If the form data is encrypted, you can only sort on columns containing text, not numerical values.

Search in form submissions

You can use the search functionality in the Form submissions view to find submitted data from a specific time period, or a specific visitor based on, for example, name or email address and so on. Use the different search criteria and click Search or press Enter.

Property Description
Full-text field Use this field to perform a text search in the form submissions. You can combine this text search with the other search criteria.
drop-down list Use the drop-down list to search in only one of the columns. If no column is selected in the drop-down list, all columns are searched.
From date and To date Specify a From date and To date to show form submissions for that time period.
Finalized Only This option can be used for multi-step forms. Select Finalized Only and click Search to show data from finalized forms only. If you leave this unselected, you will see form submissions from users who have abandoned the form before all steps were finalized.

Only finalized forms are saved if your system is set up to encrypt form submissions.

Image: Form submission search results

Export form submissions

Open the Form submissions view and select the form submissions you want to export. You can select all submitted records or individual records. Click Export and select one of the available file formats to export to:

Image: Export form submissions menu option

If your system is set up to encrypt form submissions, you need access rights to view the form submissions. In that case, you will also have the option Decrypted CSV which lets you export decrypted form data.

Delete form submissions

Open the Form submissions view and select the form submissions you want to delete. You can select all submitted records or multiple individual records. Click Delete.