Record the start time of an interview

When conducting a field survey, you may want to collect the time that the interview started. You can use a read-only, default value formula to capture the time of the start of the interview.

Before you start

This how-to assumes that there is already a form for a survey that you have permission to edit.

Add the timestamp field

  • Navigate to the form designer for the survey form
  • Move your mouse to below the last field
  • Click the “+” button to add a new field
  • From the list of field types, click “Text”
  • Check the “Required” checkbox in the Settings list
  • Check the “Read-only” checkbox in the Settings list
  • In the “Default Value” section, click “From Formula”
  • Enter the formula TEXT(NOW()) in the Formula field.
  • Click Done
  • Click “Save”

Screen recording of adding the start of interview field (webm)


The default value formula is evaluated as soon as the data entry form is opened. It will be stored as text, in the format:

YYYY-MM-DD HH:mm:ss +0100

This time will be different than the Last Edited Time, which ActivityInfo tracks internally. The Last Edited Time is the time at which the record was successfully saved to the server. If the user is working offline, this could be days or weeks after the interview was completed.

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