Grouping (Open 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 of their choosing.

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

  1. Grouping (Open Card Sort) - Respondents create their own groups in order to categorize items you provide in this version of the question. This tutorial covers this version of the question.
  2. Grouping (Closed Card Sort) - Respondents categorize items that you have specified into groups (categories that you have created). 
  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 Grouping (Open Card Sort) question when asking your respondents to place options into categories that they provide. 


  • This question is not compatible with Internet Explorer 8 and below.
  • This question is not screen reader accessible.


  1. Click the Question link on the page where you would like to add the Grouping (Open Card Sort) question.
  2. Select Grouping (Open Card Sort) from the Question Type dropdown and enter your overall question text.
  3. Enter your Item names. These are the options that your respondents will be dragging/placing into groups (categories) that they create while answering this question. There will be 2 default item fields. You can delete these or customize them to get started.

    Items can be text or images. Visit the Use Images as Answer Options article to learn how to add images.Add Item Names or Images

Layout Options

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

Adjust Item Display

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

One-at-a-Time Display

Number of Columns

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 (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 other standard messaging for the Grouping (Open Card Sort) question type (highlighted in the image above).

    Learn more about updating standard survey messaging here.

Customize/Translate Card Sort Instructions

Survey Taking

On a desktop the Open Card Sort question works like so.

Survey Taking on Desktop

When optimized for mobile devices the display of the Open Card Sort question is quite different 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. The respondent will key the group they wish to create and it will then show up as the an answer option that is automatically selected.

Survey Taking on Mobile Devices


Grouping (Open Card Sort) questions report as a Grid with a count and frequency for each Item and Group combination. The Groups created by your survey respondents are the row headers and the Items you provided for respondents to sort are the columns. 

Open Card Sort in Reports

 See additional compatible chart types

 See what other report types are compatible

The below grid shows whether the Grouping (Open 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)


The CSV/Excel export will display a column for each item, displaying the group name created for that item by the resopndent.

Open Card Sort in Exports

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