— Not yet completed —

A note on record IDs – if you are using custom IDs, simply turn off the ‘auto-number of records’ module on the project setup page.

Standard forms

Designing the form

The simplest way to construct a form (in my experience) is by designing it in excel, then modifying it to include required variables.

For an existing project –

  • Go to ‘project setup’ and then to the ‘online designer’.

  • Download an existing form that you would like to modify (using the ‘choose action’ tab).

If you are building a form for data that you will receive in a .xlsx or .csv file anyway (e.g., output from software) use that file as a template for your form (to simplify tasks).


  • Do not include the record_id in all forms (this will create problems). Within redcap, all forms are automatically linked for any given record_id–redcap will add the record_id to the first listed form (‘instrument’).

Uploading data

  • The first column must be the record_id

  • All dates must be in the form: YYYY-MM-DD or DD-MM-YYYY

Repeating forms

If you are going to have an indefinite number of repetitions of a form (e.g., select neuropsych tasks), the best thing can be to use a repeating form.

Designing the form

While the form will be designed as above, it will have the addition of two variables

Turn on repeating forms

After uploading your form into redcap, go to the ‘project setup’ and select, under the ‘enable optional modules and customizations’ tab, the ‘repeatable instruments’ option.

Check the box for your form. It can then be repeated as needed.

Uploading data for repeating forms

This provides a unique set of challenges.

  • When preparing the data in your .csv, immediately after the first column (record_id) include two further columns - redcap_repeat_instrument and redcap_repeat_instance.

  • redcap_repeat_instrument is simply the name of the form.

  • redcap_repeat_instance is the number of the repetition for the current data point (row) - if a person has completed multiple forms, this will increment from 1 upwards.

  • When preparing data for upload, however, you may not know the repeating instance. In this case use a number code of up to 3 digits to indicate the instance. While technically you can use as many digits as needed, last of September 2019 redcap repeatedly failed to upload data when redcap_repeat_instance variables included more than 3 numbers.

  • In our case the (terrible) convention to get round this constraint is to use an instance number that reflects aspects of the date. In odd years the number is [31*month + days]. In even years the number is 500 + 31*month + days. This means we can at least have unique numbers for two years, but there is the chance of conflict - which will be flagged by redcap.