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Generating Data from the Command Line

  Requires Decipher Cloud


The generate script is used to generate data files from the command line.

For example:

generate . all tab > all_data.txt

The command above generates all of the respondent data available in the tab-delimited format and outputs it to a file named "all_data.txt". A snippet of this file is shown below:

record  uuid              date              markers     status  Q1  ...
1       qb9nuj5u6utptzap  05/13/2014 16:01  qualified   3       3   ...
5       zu520guzq6ugbv3y  05/13/2014 16:31  qualified   3       2   ...
3       sve0pnufdzewfwtn  05/13/2014 17:04  qualified   3       4   ...
2       uvkr5yus8e7bm67w  05/13/2014 17:21  qualified   3       3   ...
4       a037mefyqp8d0n0z  05/13/2014 17:32  qualified   3       4   ...
6       4k0a11cyh2sw08mq  05/13/2014 17:51  qualified   3       2   ...

1:  Generate Syntax & Options

The syntax for the generate command is shown below:


generate [-avp] [--layout=layout] [--force-oe] [--encoding=charset] <survey> <config> <datatype> [fields]

Option Descriptions

Option Description
-a Output all fields, including hidden ones. By default, generate will output the same information as you would find in the data downloads area. Specify -a to output all information, including hidden questions like ones with where="none" set.
-p Execute Python code. You can specify custom Python logic to generate data only where a Python expression evaluates to True.
e.g. generate -p . "Q1.r1 and qualified" tab > Q1_r1_data.txt
-v Verbose mode.
--layout Allows you to specify a layout # for generating the data file rather than the standard layout or variables.xls.
--force-oe Force OE data to be generated.
--encoding The default output of the generate command will be the same character set as the survey. You can override and force this to be any character set.
e.g. generate --encoding=utf8
--textual Responses will be generated as answer text instead of numbers.
e.g. generate --textual . all xlsx out.xlsx

Use to retrieve stacked data file. Can be set to:

  • top: outputs all looped variables
  • label:  outputs looped data for the specified loop
<survey> The path to the survey to generate data from. e.g. selfserve/9d3/proj1234
<config> The type of respondent data to generate. Choose any of the following or use the -p modifier to specify custom Python logic:
  • all : terminated, overquota and qualified
  • qualified : qualified only
  • config : configuration of a saved report (appears after config= in report URL)
  • partials : partials only
  • everything : "all" + partials
  • 'Python Expression' : Python expression if -p option is set
<datatype> The type of data to generate. Can be set to:
  • fw
  • pipe
  • flat
  • flat_all
  • cb
  • cbtext
  • tab
  • sav
  • tab-text
  • csv
  • excel
  • wincross
  • datamap [fw html oe]
  • xlsx (use the --textual option to get answer values)
  • json
You may also generate files into a ZIP bundle.
e.g. generate . all zip:spss.fw,data.fw myFile.zip
[fields] The variables you want to generate if you don't want all variables.use --
e.g. generate . all tab uuid status Q1 > data.txt


  • Running generate to create an SPSS *.sav file will create an SPSS 16+ unicode-enabled file by default.
  • Be sure to only use the supported Excel format (.xlsx) when generating a excel dataset via the command line as shown in the example below.

2:  Examples

The following generate commands are all valid:

# Tab Delimited Output of "all" data
generate . all tab > tab_delimited.txt

# Generate Using Python Expressions
generate -p . 'Q1.r1 and terminated' tab > Q1_terms.txt
generate -p . 'Q2.r1.val < 40 and qualified' tab > Q2_quals.txt
generate -p . 'hasMarker("/Concept/C1") and overquota' tab > C1_OQs.txt
generate -p . 'date_range("01-jan-2014", "31-jan-2014")' tab

# Generate ALL Variables
generate -a . everything tab > all_data.txt

# Bundle in SPSS Download
generate . all zip:spss.fw,data.fw myFile.zip

# Generate Partial Data
generate . partials tab > partial_data.txt

# Generate Based on Report Configuration
generate . '$FS1oQ' tab > report_config_data.txt

# Generate Only Certain Fields
generate . all tab uuid date status Q1 Q2r1 Q2r2 Q2r3 > my_data.txt

# Generate Certain Fields Sorted By Record
generate . all tab record uuid data markers | sort > sorted_data.txt

# Generate Completes Between Midnight 14 Days Ago to End of Day Today
generate -p . 'date_days(14, 0)' tab uuid date

# Generate an XLSX Excel 2007 File
generate . all xlsx out.xlsx

# Generate an XLSX Excel 2007 File with Text Answers Instead of Numbers
generate --textual . all xlsx out.xlsx

# Generate an SPSS File
generate . all sav out.sav