Skip to content

Relevance / Calculation Expressions

Hark survey parts can use expressions based on data from other parts. This can be used for relevance (whether a question should be shown) and for calculated parts (where a part's value is determined by a calculation).

You reference data by the code name you gave that part. e.g. if you asked for someone's age with a number field, and codenamed that age you could use age >= 18 to determine if they were 18 or over.

Supported operators

  • Simple mathematical operators: + - * (multiply) and / (divide). e.g. field1 + field2

  • Brackets. e.g. 1+2*3 evaluates to 7 but (1+2)*3 evaluates to 9. You can nest brackets.

  • Boolean logic operators:

  • && (and) and || (or). e.g. field1 && field2 would mean we require a value from both fields.

  • ! (not) e.g. !field1 would yield 1 if field1 was not given/set empty or zero; and 0 if field1 had data.

  • Comparison operators:

  • <= (Less than or equals), < (less than)

  • >= (Greater than or equals), > (greater than)
  • == Equal to
  • != Not equal to

  • null coalesce operator ??: e.g. field1 ?? 123 would yield the value of field1 unless it was null, in which case it would yield 123

  • ternary/if operator: expr1 ? expr2 : expr3 would evaluate expr1 and if it is truthy (not empty, not zero) return expr2, otherwise expr3

  • cast to number: #expr would take expr and force it to being a number: if it was empty or text or null it would become 0.

Let’s talk about null

Sometimes you encounter null data. This can be the case if a survey question has not yet been answered so there is no data yet, or you've referenced a field that does not exist. Generally speaking: any expression that uses a null will be evaluated to null as well. It is considered that if we find null then we can’t evaluate the expression. So all the following result in null:

  • 5 + null
  • null ? 1 : 2
  • null > 0
  • null <= 4
  • null == null Even this is considered un-evaluatable and therefore null
  • 123 / 0 Division by zero evaluates to null (infinity is not handled)

Options fields

For option values we need to reference the stored value as well, e.g. If you had a Favourite colours question code named colour and some options like red, green, then you could have an expression like which would evaluate to 1 if they selected red, and 0 if they hadn’t.

This works with radios and checkboxes alike. If a checkbox field (allows multiple options) you might have && to identify those who selected both red and green. Because it uses 0 and 1 for not-selected and selected (respectively) you can use any of the above operators, e.g. you could see whether they’d ticked 3 or more options by adding together all the possible options, and use this to open up a new set of questions for rainbow people.

Sometimes you might want to get the stored value (not the label) of an options field, particularly for radios when you might just want the selected value. You can access this using colour._value_ where colour is the code name of your field.

_value_ is a special code that means get the value of the selected item. If you use this with checkboxes where there’s possibly 0 or more items selected, this will return null if nothing is selected, or the first selected option's value if one or more are selected.

_count_ is a special code that means return the number of selected items.


Survey parts have a 'relevance' field (in the Meta tab) which takes an expression. If that expression evaluates truthy then the question/part is considered relevant, otherwise it's hidden.

You can apply these to a single part, or a part that contains other parts, e.g. a group, a page or a section.