REDCap upgrade Feb. 13 adds new features; expect downtime from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Published: February 6th, 2018

Category: redcap

On the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 the CTS-IT will upgrade REDCap from version 8.0.3 to 8.2.0. You can expect a downtime for REDCap from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm while we complete the upgrade.

The new version of REDCap, scheduled for release on Feb. 13,  has some new features and several improvements to existing features, including:

New action tags


  • Causes one or more specified choices to be disabled (i.e., displayed but not usable) for a checkbox, radio button, or drop-down field after a specified amount of records have been saved with that choice. For example, @MAXCHOICE(0=50,1=75,2=50) would imply that once 50 records have selected the ‘0’ coded choice, that choice will become disabled for any record viewed afterward that does not have that choice saved, such as when the form/survey is opened for a new record, and thus 75 records for choice ‘1’, 50 for choice ‘2’, etc.
  • The format must be the action tag name followed by the choice designations inside parentheses, in which each will follow the format of ChoiceCode=MaxCount with each choice separated by commas. Note: For longitudinal projects, when counting the number of choices saved for records, it will treat all events as separate, meaning that in the example above, choice ‘0’ can have a max number of 50 selections in EACH event in the project.
  • Note: This action tag not only gets employed when a form or survey is loaded but also when a form or survey is submitted in order to prevent users/respondents from going over the max amount specified. If a user submits a form/survey, at which point the maximum has been reached due to simultaneous users entering data just before them, it will not save that field’s value (but will save all the other fields on the form/survey), and it will reload the form/survey and tell the user to make another selection for the field.


  • Allows a checkbox field to have a maximum number of checkboxes that can be checked. If other checkbox options are clicked after the maximum has been reached, those choices will not be able to be checked. The format must be @MAXCHECKED=#, in which # is a positive integer. For example, @MAXCHECKED=3 will allow a maximum of 3 checkbox choices to be checked.
  • Note: This action tag can only be utilized by Checkbox fields, and it does not get enforced during data imports.

New feature

New option to allow respondents to return to a partially completed or fully completed survey response without needing a return code. When enabling “Save & Return Later” for a survey on the Survey Settings page, it will still default to requiring a return code in order for a respondent to continue the survey where they left off. But a user may opt to allow respondents to return to and continue their survey with only the survey link (i.e., without needing a return code in addition to the link) to view and modify their previous responses on that survey.

  • Note: A warning exists in bold text in the informational popup for this feature that states the following: “If you are collecting identifying information (e.g., PII, PHI), for privacy reasons it is HIGHLY recommended that you leave the option unchecked so as to enforce a return code.”


  • For PDF exports of data entry forms with data, if a field that is normally removed from exports due to users having export rights of “De-Identified” or “Remove all tagged Identifier fields” is being used in the Custom Record Label or Secondary Unique Field value in the PDF file, that field value will no longer be piped in the PDF file but will instead be redacted (i.e., replaced with the text “[*DATA REMOVED*]”). This change is made to increase security/privacy regarding de-identification of data in data exports.
  • The action tags @TODAY and @NOW will no longer hide the Today/Now button, will no longer hide the date-picker icon, and will no longer make the field read-only by default. From this version onward, users will need to additionally use @READONLY in order to accomplish those things. For backward compatibility, the REDCap upgrade process will automatically replace all instances of the @TODAY and @NOW action tags with “@TODAY @READONLY” and “@NOW @READONLY”, respectively, to maintain the existing behavior for fields already using @TODAY and @NOW.


When adding/editing Automated Survey Invitations, the “Send after lapse of time” value for “days” may now be 4 digits in length (specifically up to 7300 days = 20 years), whereas previous versions limited the days’ unit to 3 digits. This change allows for a much longer wait time before sending the scheduled invitations.


  • New “compact” option for PDFs of forms/surveys in which a compact-formatted PDF is produced that excludes fields that have no data saved and excludes unselected multiple choice options, thus producing a smaller PDF file. (Note: Section headers and descriptive fields will still be included.) On all pages that offer a PDF download option, there is now an extra “compact” option. The REDCap::getPDF() developer method and the “Export PDF file” API method both have the compact option added as a new parameter that can be passed to the method.
  • Minor aesthetic improvements in the display of PDFs of forms/surveys, such as divider lines between questions and gray background color for section headers.
  • The Help & FAQ page content was updated.