REDCap Videos


If you are looking to get a REDCap account, please look on the REDCap Tutorial page to find the link to the online tutorials and dates for the in-person tutorial. You must complete the actual tutorial to receive an account.


We have created a series of reference videos to improve your REDCap experience. The training videos explain all the major parts of using REDCap and are meant for review purposes. The advanced feature videos to an in-depth approach to using some of the more complicated features of REDCap. 


Training Videos

  1. Background Information: Learn more about the background of REDCap at UC Denver, general policies for use, and some REDCap best practices
  2. Login and Project Creation: Learn how to log in to your REDCap account and create a new project.
  3. Project Setup Page: Explore the project home, project setup, other functionality, and project revision pages. Learn how to customize the settings for your projects, set user rights, use data access groups, and move your project to Production.
  4. Data Entry: Learn how to add new records, edit existing records, use advanced data entry features, and navigate between records.
  5. Online Designer: Learn about the basic steps in designing your project. Learn how to set up forms; create a new field; validate fields; code multiple choice questions; use yes/no and true/false fields; create slider fields; and how to use file upload fields, descriptivefields, and section headers.
  6. Online Designer--Advanced Features: Learn how to use advanced features in the Online Designer, such as branching logic, calculated fields, matrices, piping, and the data dictionary. Review some best practices in form creation.
  7. Reports and Exports: Learn how to create a report, review basic statistics and charts, and export a report or full data set.
  8. Surveys:  Learn how to enable surveys, the benefits of using surveys, setting up your survey, and the different ways you can distribute both initial and follow up surveys.
  9. Longitudinal Database: Learn about the longitudinal data collection set up and how it varies from a standard, or classic, data collection instrument. Learn how to define events and assign forms to specific events, use the scheduling module, and advanced calendar features available only in longitudinal studies.
  10. Advanced Features: Learn how to use some advanced REDCap features, including the randomization feature, the logging feature, the field comment log, the data import tool, and the data quality tool.

You can also check out the record of the REDCap User Group Meeting on August 11, 2021 on our Vimeo: User Group Meeting

Advanced Features

  1. Action Tags: Learn how to use the most popular and powerful action tags
  2. Alerts and Notifications: Learn how to use the alerts and notifications feature
  3. Data Imports: A detailed look at use the import tool to import data from another source
  4. Double Data Entry: Learn how to use REDCap's Double Date Entry module
  5. Calculations: Learn how to use simple calculations, if/then statements, nest calculations, and datediff calculations
  6. Field Embedding: Explore how to use the field embedding feature to format data entry and survey forms
  7. Missing Data: Set specific missing data codes for your entire project
  8. MyCap: A participant-friendly REDCap app
  9. PDF Auto-Archiver and e-Consent: Use REDCap's e-Consent framework to consent participants and save PDFs of the consent
  10. Randomization: Learn how to use the randomization feature
  11. Repeating Forms: Learn how to use repeating forms and events
  12. Smart Variables: Learn how to use smart variables in REDCap
  13. Survey Login: Learn how to use the survey login feature
  14. Survey Queue: A deep dive into using the survey queue
  15. Twilio: Learn how to use Twilio to send your survey invitations via text message or allow participants to take the survey via voice call

Updates and Additional Features


Here you can find more detailed information about the most recent REDCap updates, the available action tags, and additional features you can set up in your REDCap database.

  Recent Updates (7/31/2020)

    • Field embedding!
    • Branching logic will offer to update identical logic when you update the logic in a field
    • Survey pages are ADA Section 508 compliant
    • Record level locking
    • Project ID displays at the top of every page--very helpful to give administrators when asking for project help!
    • Allows users to switch between DAGs
    • Survey confirmation emails will appear in the log
    • Datediff equations no longer require the data format parameter
    • Send ASI/alerts after lapsed time from date in project
    • Project Cycle changes:
      • Inactive is now called Analysis/Cleanup
      • The archive folder is now "My Hidden Projects"
      • Completed--the project will still exist, but only be accessible by administrators
    • Alerts and Notifications
      • SMS and Voice calls (with Twilio) are now usable with Alerts
      • Trigger limit options
        • Every time option has more suboptions
        • Set max number of recurrences
      • Edit deactivated alerts
    • Text boxes are now resizable in Survey Queue, Add/Edit Branching Logic, and Advanced Report Filters Log

We hold a REDCap user group meeting for our active users after every major upgrade, twice a year, to discuss the new features. You can watch the recording of our 8/26/2020 user group meeting on Vimeo:


 Action Tags

Action tags are special features that begin with the '@' sign that can be placed inside a field's Field Annotation. Each action tag has a corresponding action that is performed for the field when displayed on data entry forms and survey pages.

A full list of the action tags that can be used in REDCap:

Action Tag Function


Limits the number of characters in a field


Sets a field's initial value. This allows a field to have a specified default value when viewing the field on a survey or data entry form that has not yet had any data saved for it.  For text fields, you may even perform Piping inside the default value to pipe data from another field in the project.
@HIDDEN Hides the field on both the survey page and the data entry form.
@HIDDEN-FORM Hides the field only on the data entry form
@HIDDEN-PDF Hides the field on the PDF export
@HIDDEN-SURVEY Hides the field only on the survey page
@HIDECHOICE Allows the user to "retire" an answer choice and hide it without losing data


Allows text field to capture latitude of user
@LONGITUDE Allows text field to capture longitude of user
@HIDEBUTTON Hides the 'Now' or 'Today' button that is typically displayed to the right of date, time, and date/time fields.
@MAXCHECKED Allows designer to limit the number of answer choices a participant can check
@MAXCHOICE Limits the number of people who can select each answer choice
@NONEOFTHEABOVE A none of the above feature for checkbox fields that prevent the data enterer from selecting multiple options
@NOW Automatically provides the user's current time as value of a text field when page is loaded
@NOW-SERVER Loads the REDCap server's date+time into a blank text field when the page loads
@NOW-UTC Loads the UTC date+time into a blank text field when the page loads
@PASSWORDMASK Masks the value of a text field so that the rue value is not visible on the webpage after it has been entered
@PLACEHOLDER Is used to specify a short hint that describes the expected value of a Text field or Notes field
@RANDOMORDER Randomizes the order of answers in multiple choice questions
@READONLY Makes the field read-only on both the survey page and the data entry form
@READONLY-FORM Makes the field read-only on the data entry form
@READONLY-SURVEY Makes the field read-only on the survey
@TODAY Automatically provides the user's current date as value of a text field when page is loaded
@TODAY-SERVER Loads the REDCap server's date into a blank text field when the page loads
@TODAY-UTC Loads the UTC date into a blank text field when the page loads
@USERNAME Sets a field's value to the username of the current REDCap user. If this is used on a survey, the value will be '[survey respondent]'. Once the value is captured, it will not be changed when visiting the page at a later time.
@WORDLIMIT Limits the number of words in a field

 There are three additional action tags for the REDCap App. They are:

Action Tag Function
@BARCODE-APP Allows the REDCap mobile App to capture the value of a barcode or QR code
@HIDDEN-APP Hides the field only on the form ONLY on the REDCap mobile app
@READONLY-APP Makes the field read-only on the form ONLY on the REDCap Mobile App
@APPUSERNAME-APP Sets a field's value to the app username of the current mobile app user
@SYNC-APP For File Upload and Signature fields. This will cause any image files uploaded to a record to be sent to the app so that they are viewable in the app when editing the record.

 More action tags will be coming in the future!


 Additional Features 

Occasionally, we develop additional features that work to enhance REDCap, called plug-ins or hooks. These are usually developed for specific projects for a fee, but if something is in wide demand and there is time in our schedules we may develop them independently. We currently have two features plug-ins available that anyone may use.

  • The COMIRB plug-in works with the Demographics template available when you create a new project. It will allow you to produce the enrollment status you need for your continuing review, exactly as the IRB wants. Instructions for setting up the COMIRB plug-in can be found here.
  • The Add Record plug-in allows you to link two REDCap projects. By using the plug-in, you can update the information in one project as soon as you save data in the matching record in a second project. Instructions for setting up the Add Record plug-in can be found here.

Because these additional features are outside of what Vanderbilt supplies for the base-model REDCap, occasionally an update to REDCap will cause one of these to malfunction. If that happens, please e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we will try to correct the error as soon as possible.



Citing REDCap

When you are ready to publish your research, please include the citations below to acknowledge the role of REDCap and CCTSI in providing the REDCap service. 


Please cite the REDCap project when publishing manuscript using the following language:

Study data were collected and managed using REDCap electronic data capture tools hosted at [YOUR INSTITUTION].1 REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, web-based application designed to support data capture for research studies, providing: 1) an intuitive interface for validated data entry; 2) audit trails for tracking data manipulation and export procedures; 3) automated export procedures for seamless data downloads to common statistical packages; and 4) procedures for importing data from external sources.

1Paul A. Harris, Robert Taylor, Robert Thielke, Jonathon Payne, Nathaniel Gonzalez, Jose G. Conde, Research electronic data capture (REDCap) - A metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support, J Biomed Inform. 2009 Apr;42(2):377-81.


Please acknowledge the support by CCTSI in any publications with the following text:

This [publication, patent, project] was supported by NIH/NCATS Colorado CTSA Grant Number UL1 TR002535. Its contents are the authors’ sole responsibility and do not necessarily represent official NIH views.

REDCap Tips

Welcome to REDCap Tips! Here you'll find posts about features you may not have discovered, little-known "tricks", and other things that come up now and then, but may not be covered in the Help & FAQ in REDCap. Check back periodically to see if any new tips have been uploaded!

Tip #34

You can use conditional logic in your database by using an "if/then" statement in calculated fields. See the Help and FAQ page for details.

Tip #33

If you have multiple instruments that you want to send out as a single survey, combine them onto a single REDCap form. You can insert page breaks between instruments using the Section Header field type.

Tip #32

REDCap allows you to customize field labels or survey invitations using "piping". This means you can insert the response to one field, e.g. first name, into the label of another field or into a survey invitation text. To do this, just put the variable name in square brackets where you want the customized text. For example, if the respondent's first name is in a variable called "fname", you can add it to the label of another field like this: [fname], what is your favorite color? Similarly, when you write a survey invitation, you can use: Dear [fname], please complete the attached survey. Whatever name has been entered in the field fname will appear in place of the variable name.

Tip #31

When setting up a Longitudinal project event grid, if you are not using the Scheduling module, you don't need to set specific "days offset", but you still need to enter something to tell REDCap the order of your events. If you leave all zero's, REDCap will put your events in alphabetical order. So, you can just put 1, 2, 3 etc. You may also want to use increments of 5's in case you later need to insert a new event.

Tip #30

Using the "automated invitations" feature, you can schedule survey to be sent at a specific date/time as well as based on a specific response to a previous form or survey. See detailed instructions on how to do this in the Help/FAQ page.

Tip #29

Section header fields follow the branching logic for *all* fields until the next section header, so to hide a section header, all fields until the next section header must also be hidden.

Tip #28

REDCap allows some customization of form appearance using HTML code. These include font size, font color, and spacing/indentation of field label text.

Tip #27

There is a visual cue to tell you whether a field is a radio button (single option) or a checkbox (choose all that apply). Radio buttons are round, checkboxes are square.

Tip #26

When you move your project from Development to Production, you have the option of keeping or deleting any exisiting records. NOTE: the default setting is to delete any records, because the assumption is that they are dummy data for testing. Be sure to UNCHECK the option if you want to keep your data. Your choice will be confirmed in the form you complete prior to moving to Production.

Tip #25

Checkbox, or "choose all that apply", fields are coded slightly differently from other categorical fields, such as radio or dropdown. In those, each option is set to equal a unique value, e.g. 1=red, 2=blue, 3=green. Because any or all of the checkbox field options can be selected, each option is treated as a separate field that is either checked or unchecked (coded 1 or 0). In your exported dataset, you will see that each option has become a separate variable with the number of the option as part of the variable name, e.g. color(1), color(2), color(3). When using options from a checkbox field in a calculation or in branching logic, instead of writing "color = 3", for example, you need to write "color(3)=1", meaning that option 3 of the variable "color" has been selected.

Tip #24

Project changes made after moving to production must be reviewed prior to being implemented to reduce the risk of data corruption due to a change. However, if you make a change that cannot possibly impact existing data (e.g. create a new field), once you submit the change for approval, it will be approved automatically - you won't have to wait for manual review and approval by the administrator. To view whether you changes create potential issues, while you're in draft mode, go to the "view a detailed summary of all drafted changes" link.

Tip #23

If your categorical variable has numeric response options, be sure to assign a value that is the same number to avoid confusion in analysis. For example, if the question is "How many times did you ....", and the options are 0,1,2,3,4,5, you should assign values of 0-5 (note: you cannot use the auto-assign feature of REDCap because it will start with 1).

Tip #22

Anyone creating projects should attend a tutorial (see schedule on Tutorials page) which focuses on project creation and REDCap use policies. If you have attended a tutorial, you can request limited accounts for others who will not be designing/managing projects, but only doing data entry, data export, etc. To request an account, email the REDCap administrator with the person's name and work email address. By doing this, you are also taking responsibility for training them.


If you are including survey responses in a calculation but don't want the respondent to see the calculations, create a separate data entry form and put the calculation fields there. The calculations will be triggered when the survey is submitted.

Tip #20

When using a greater than/less than (>,<) condition in branching logic, don't put quotation marks around the value, as you normally would when using equal to.

Tip #19

If you are concerned that survey respondents changed their answers before submitting their survey, e.g. to try to qualify for a study, you can check their responses in the Logging Tool.

Tip #18

You can use the logging tool to troubleshoot issues that arise that may be due to a change in a data value, calculations and branching logic no longer working, etc. In the log, you can filter by record, user, and event type.

Tip #17

Use dropdown field types instead of radio buttons for categorical variables on your data entry forms. REDCap allows you to type the first character of a label to select that option in a dropdown, which is much easier than having to individually select each radio button with your mouse.

Tip #16

To test branching logic or calculated fields, enter a test record into your database or survey. These functions do not work on the Preview screen. You can remove all test records when you move to production.

Tip #15

If you are using calculated fields, avoid creating second-level calculations, i.e. using the results of a calculation as part of another calculation. These fields will not reliably calculate - even though values may appear in the field onscreen, the field may be blank in your exported dataset. Keep in mind the general recommendation to do calculations as part of analysis, and keep only raw data in your REDCap database.

Tip #14

You can track who has responded to a survey by using the Participant List option. In addition, you can identify individual responses using the Participant Identifier feature. Both of these options are found in the Manage Survey Participants section of your project.

Tip #13

If you are using online surveys, you can schedule them to be sent automatically at certain dates, or based on specified conditions being met. See Automated Invitations in the Online Designer for instructions.

Tip #12

When creating a survey, you must complete the “Modify Survey Settings” section to activate the survey url.

Tip #11

To include an "Other" option in a multiple choice question that will allow respondents to write in an answer, add a text field that is only displayed when the Other option is selected.

Tip #10

In a Longitudinal Model database, if you accidentally delete an event, your data will not be lost, just hidden. When you restore the event with the assigned forms, the data will also be restored.

Tip #9

It's a good idea to test your database or survey before moving to Production by entering a few records of either real or fake data. When moving to Production you can choose to keep or delete these records.

Tip #8

To display an image on your data entry form or survey, use the descriptive text field type which has a filed upload feature.

Tip #7

If your project is in production and you need to make several changes, consider making a copy of the project (which will be in development), making the changes there, then using the data dictionary to implement the changes all at once in the production project. Alternatively, you can ask the REDCap administrator to move your project back to development.

Tip #6

It is now possible to edit or delete survey responses. To do this, check the Edit Surveys option in the User Rights section.

Tip #5

Before submitting post-production changes for review, you can see whether they will cause any problems by selecting the "view a detailed summary of all drafted changes" link located next to the Submit Changes for Review button.

Tip #4

If you add a calculated field after you have collected the data used in the calculation, you will need to resave the form containing the calculation to trigger REDCap to perform the calculation and populate the field.

Tip #3

When you set up a REDCap database, your record identifier, e.g. Participant ID, must be the first field on the first form so that REDCap will link all following data on all forms for that record. There is no need to repeat the record identifier in each form.

Tip #2

To make your data entry screen bigger, click on the vertical line dividing the left panel showing your forms and applications from the main data entry area. This will hide the left panel so that the data entry section takes up the entire screen.

Tip #1

Although you can make changes to your project fields after moving your project to Production, keep in mind that changes to coding for categorical fields will impact your existing data. For example, if you have a field with Yes/No responses that are coded 1,0 and you change these to 2,1 then what was originally coded as Yes will now be No - since you have changed the meaning of the value 1.



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