Background Variables

About Background Variables

Background variables have multiple purposes:

  • Forms: Form question types are based on background variables, i.e. you can create forms solely with background information. For example, an online order form.
  • Conditions: You can base conditions on background variables, so that you present your respondents with relevant questions based on their background information, e.g. business division, age, their city of residence.
  • Merge fields in surveys and messages: You can also personalize surveys and messages by adding the respondents' names in the introduction text or the questions themselves.
  • Filters: Drill down on your data by using report filters based on your background variables, for example, filter your report based on the variable "department". You can also use background variables for more specific and smarter reports. You can create individual reports by creating filters based on, e.g. names, and business departments.
  • Benchmarks: Benchmark and compare data by using creating data series based on one or more filters. For example, you can compare departments. 
  • Report versions: Use background variables to create report versions that ensure the right insight gets to the right people. For example, an Annual Employee Satisfaction report that only shows data for a specific department. 

This article provides a brief introduction of each background variable type, with links where you can learn more. With Enalyzer, you can edit these variables at any time, even after you've already collected responses. 

List of Background Variables Types

There are different background variable types:

Background Variable Type Description

This variable type can be formatted to accept text, numeric, and email inputs.

Selection list This variable type is made up of a list of different response options.


This variable type, as the name suggests, accepts date formats and has various uses depending on the context.

System Variables

System variables are by default included in every survey, and they cannot be renamed or deleted. The system variables are:

  • Email: This is a text variable with an email address format and can be added to forms. When inviting respondents via email, Enalyzer populates this variable with your respondents' emails.
  • First name & Last name: These are text variables with a text format. When inviting respondents via email, Enalyzer populates this variable with your respondents' first and last names, if available.
  • Invitation time: The date and time you invited the respondent to answer your survey. This only applies to respondents who received an invitation. This variable can be used to filter reports and to create Time Series charts in reports.

  • Start time: The date and time when the respondents started answering your survey. This variable can be used to filter reports and to create Time Series charts in reports

  • Response status: Refers to the status of the response (completed, incomplete, not answered, and refused). This variable can be used to filter reports.

The first name, last name, and email background variables are anonymized in anonymous surveys, even if you add these variables to a form and the respondents provide the information, they will still be anonymized.

Delete Background Variables

  1. Go to your survey and select settings on the side menu. If the menu is closed, click on the menu icon () to open it first.
  2. Click on list of background variables.
  3. Click actions and select delete.
  4. Select the background variable(s) you want to delete and click delete.

Deleting background variables will result in losing data and any filters, versions, and data series created. Data loss is permanent and cannot be undone.

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