Add Other Row Headers to Grid Questions

Other Row Header Example

Similar to how you can and an other, write in textbox to an answer option in a Radio Button or Checkbox question, you can also add an other, please specify row header to grid questions.

Compatible Question Types

You can add an other textbox to your row headers for the following table questions:


  1. First, add a new or edit your existing grid question.
  2. Under the Row Headers section on the far right select to Add x number of "Other - Write In" Rows and click Save Question.
    Add Other Rows to Grid
  3. Before you launch your survey, we encourage submitting a handful of test responses and reviewing how data collected via other rows reports and exports. Make sure to avoid data surprises!

Customize placeholder text that displays in other row header

The Enter another option text will display as a placeholder in the other row header textbox. When respondents click into this field the placeholder text will be immediately removed and they will be able to enter their own text. 

You can customize this placeholder text under Tools > Text & Translations.

  1. Select the language you wish to customize and go to the Messages tab.
  2. Scroll to the option for Placeholder text for table other rows.
  3. Click edit and specify the text you wish to use in place of the default "Enter another option." This will update the placeholder text across your survey.

Prepopulate Other Row Headers

On the Validation tab of your grid question enter your text in the Default answer for other Row Header field or click Insert merge code to select answers from questions on previous pages or to use email invite data. Respondents will still be able to change this text.

Default text is different than placeholder text. Default text in other row headers, if not changed by the respondent, is recorded as an answer. If you do not wish to record your default row header text as an answer you can use placeholder text instead. 

Other Row Headers in Reports

Other row headers will be included in Standard Reports and Legacy Summary Reports by default. Note that other row headers are case sensitive. If someone were to write in "Flower" and someone else wrote "flower", our system would not be able to tell that the two are the same and will enter them as two separate options.

Other rows cannot be deleted from the Standard Report or the Legacy Summary Report. 

Other Row Headers in Reports

Other Row Headers in Exports

CSV/Excel Exports

Each unique value entered in other row header fields will be added as a new column in CSV/Excel Exports. For example, using our social media question from above, three respondents entered Pinterest in the other row, each with a slightly different variation. As a result, a new column in the export was created for each unique variation:

Other Rows in Raw Data Export

Depending on the configuration of your question and number of unique responses in the other rows, this could create a large number of extra columns in your export. You might imagine that this could become quite unwieldy with more unique values.

SPSS Exports

Other Row Headers are not available in SPSS exports. Never fear though, you can export a CSV file and import it into SPSS. Check out our tutorial on How to Open a CSV File in SPSS.

Common Customization

Professional Full Access

Add a row header label to display outside of the textbox

A lot of customers have requested the ability to display the label the other option outside of the textbox. You can do this a little JavaScript!

Add Row Header Label

To do so paste the below JavaScript code into a JavaScript Action on the same page as each grid question you wish to affect. 

  • Change the Please specify text to the text you wish to use.
  • Change the numerical value in i = 5 to the row number of other row header.


//specify the text you would like placed above the other field
var message = "Please specify";
//count the number of rows minus the header and place that number here (where it says var i = #)

var i = 5;

$('.addother tr:eq('+ i +') .sg-first-cell').prepend(message); 

Finally, edit your grid question and go to the Layout tab and and enter addother in the CSS Class Name field.

CSS Class Name

Alternative Solution

If you are looking to design a grid that allows for only open-ended row headers, consider the Custom Table Question Type as an alternative option. Using this solution, you can avoid extra columns being created in your raw data export, though you should still run a couple of test responses and review your reports/exports to make sure you can use the data in the way you hope.


  1. To set this up, add a Custom Table question to your survey.
  2. Under Column Headers add a Textbox type question. Refer to the Custom Table setup instructions, if needed. This Textbox question will serve as the 'other' row alternative.
  3. Create a second column header, in our example this will be a Radio Buttons type that will allow our respondents to share their social media platform usage.
  4. Under Row Headers add as many row headers as needed. Keep in mind that the row headers do need a label. Using our social media question from above, we will label our rows Social Media Platform 1, Social Media Platform 2, and so on.

Our resulting question appears as follows:

Custom Table Alternative Solution

The resulting export will not create new columns for each unique answer, but rather a set number of columns. Using our example, we will see four columns for the four Textbox rows and four columns for the four Radio Buttons rows:

Custom Table Alternative - Data Export

As always, we encourage reviewing test data within Reports and Exports to avoid an surprises with how the data is presented.

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