Grouping (Closed Card Sort) Question Type

The Grouping (Card Sort) question type is interactive and allows respondents to categorize options by clicking and dragging Items into Groups. In the Closed version of this question, the items and groups are determined by you as the survey builder.

SurveyGizmo offers three versions of the Grouping (Card Sort) question:

  1. Grouping (Closed Card Sort) - Respondents categorize items that you have specified into groups (categories that you have created) in this version of the question. This tutorial covers this version of the question.
  2. Grouping (Open Card Sort) - Respondents create their own groups in order to categorize items you provide.
  3. Quick Sort - Respondents categorize items that you have specified into predetermined groups. After being placed into a group, items are no longer available to be rearranged.

When to use it

Use the Closed Grouping (Card Sort) question when asking your respondents to place options into categories of your choosing.


  • This question is not compatible with Internet Explorer 8 and below. Use the Ranking Grid question as an alternate accessible version.
  • This question is not screen reader accessible. Use the Ranking Grid question as an alternate accessible version.


  1. Click the Question link on the page where you would like to add the Grouping (Closed Card Sort) question.
  2. Select Grouping (Closed Card Sort) from the Question Type dropdown and enter your overall question text.
  3. Enter your Group names, these are the categories into which respondents will be placing your items. There will be 2 default group fields. You can delete these or customize them to get started.
    Closed Card Sort Groups
  4. Next, enter your Item names. These are the options that your respondents will be dragging/placing into the groups that you created in the previous step. There will be 2 default item fields. You can delete these or customize them to get started.

    Items can be text or images. Images can be added via the add image icon highlighted below.

Enter Item Names or Images

Layout Options

On the Layout tab, you can adjust how your Items are initially presented to your survey respondents.

Closed Card Sort Layout Options

By default, all available Items are displayed to the survey respondent. If you prefer to show only one item to your respondents at a time, select Only show one item/card at a time. This will result in the following configuration:

One-at-a-Time Display

Number of Columns

Depending on the number of groups that you have created, you may choose to adjust how many groups are displayed per row. Adjust the Number of Columns option to select the number that best suits your display needs.

Customize Question Instructions

SurveyGizmo provides the following default instructions for the Grouping (Closed Card Sort) question: "Drag items from the list below into the appropriate categories."

  1. If you prefer to provide your own custom instructions, the default text can be edited. Go to Tools > Text & Translations. Select the language where you want to make this text change and select the Messages section.
  2. Locate the item labeled Card Sort Instructions and edit the item to provide your own custom instructions. You can also update the text seen by respondents when there are no more available items to categorize. Empty is the default text provided by SurveyGizmo.

    Learn more about updating standard survey messaging here.

Customize/Translate Card Sort Instructions

Survey Taking

The Closed Card Sort question displays like so on a desktop or laptop:

Survey Taking on Desktop

The display of the Closed Card Sort question is quite different on mobile as mobile screens are much smaller and dragging and dropping is more difficult. As you can see each item is displayed one at a time and the groups that you can "sort" into are displayed as answer options.

Survey Taking on Mobile Device


Grouping (Closed Card Sort) questions report as a Grid with a count and frequency for each Item and Group combination.

Closed Card Sort in Reports

 See additional compatible chart types

Within the Standard Report there are various chart types available for visualizing your data. The below grid shows which of the our chart types Grouping (Closed Card Sort) questions are compatible with. 

Chart Type (Aggregate)

Pie Chart
 (Individual Rows/Items*)
Arc ChartArc Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Donut ChartDonut Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Vertical Bar ChartVertical Bar Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Stacked Vertical Bar ChartStacked Vertical Bar Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Horizontal Bar ChartHorizontal Bar Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Stacked Horizontal Bar ChartStacked Horizontal Bar Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Spiderweb ChartSpiderweb Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)

Line ChartLine Chart

Spline ChartSpline Chart

Area ChartArea Chart

Area Spline ChartArea Spline Chart

Scatter PlotScatter Plot

Word CloudWord Cloud

Collapsed Response List


Diverging Stacked Bar Chart

NPS ChartNPS Chart

Contact Cards

DIY Grid/Cards


Chart Type (Longitudinal)

Longitudinal Line ChartLongitudinal Line Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Longitudinal Area ChartLongitudinal Area Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Longitudinal Spline ChartLongitudinal Spline Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Longitudinal Area Spline ChartLongitudinal Area Spline Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Longitudinal Vertical Bar ChartLongitudinal Vertical Bar Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Longitudinal Stacked Vertical Bar ChartLongitudinal Stacked Vertical Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Longitudinal Stacked Area ChartLongitudinal Stacked Area Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)
Longitudinal Stacked Spline Area ChartLongitudinal Stacked Spline Area Chart (Individual Rows/Items*)

*See report on grid rows/items separately to learn how.

 See what other report types are compatible

The below grid shows whether the Grouping (Closed Card Sort) question is compatible with each of our report types. If you plan to do some specific analysis within SurveyGizmo, this report compatibility chart should help you choose the right question types.

Report Type
Legacy Summary

(not available as source question)

 Learn how to report on Card Sort Rows/Items separately

In Standard Reports the rows/items of Grouping (Closed Card Sort) questions can be reported on separately as various chart types. Here are the steps to set this up:

Click the Insert button between any two report elements and select Question Chart from the dropdown menu. In the next dropdown menu look for your card sort question. Instead of selecting the overall question title, select the first row/item of the question, seen below, and click Add Question. Continue adding each row of the grid question.

Select Individual Row of Grid Question

This will display the rows/items of the table in chart format. Beautiful!

Select Individual Row of Grid Question


The CSV/Excel export will display a column for each item, displaying the reporting value of the group into which the respondent placed the item.

Closed Card Sort in Exports

Basic Standard Market Research HR Professional Full Access Reporting
Free Individual Team & Enterprise
Feature Included In