Building your first project in PublicInput

A first time user's guide to creating a project or survey

McKenzie avatar
Written by McKenzie
Updated over a week ago

10 Steps to creating a project:

Use the table of contents to jump to any step:

Step 1: Log in

Go to and click LOG IN in the top menu bar.

Type in your email and password and click Sign in.

Step 2: Select Create new item

Once in your department, click the Create New Item button.

You'll then select New Project from the dropdown menu. Of, if you'd like to explore and possibly adapt an existing project, click "Template Library" to explore available project templates.

Step 3: Setup your project

You will be prompted to enter:

⓵ The project's Department*

*if your organization has departments

A title for the project

You can edit the title at any time after you've created your project.

Page Format

Content + Questions – this is the most common format, & can be used for surveys, landing pages, engagement forums, and can host additional content, meetings or events, timelines & project milestones, documents, & external videos
Question Series – Shows one question after another (poll series)

(has no extra content)

Note: you can change the Site Format of your project at any time!

Click the green Create Project button.

You have now created a project! 🎉

Project Metrics are shown under the project title:

These numbers will populate once participants engage with your project.

The project will be in draft mode by default. The draft arrow will be indicated in blue:

Step 4: Add an Icon and Top-of-Page Banner Image (optional)

All optimal image sizes are listed. Just click the Upload button to add an image.

Featured images only appear on your organization's Engagement Hub page. This will be disabled for accounts that do not have a hub.

Note: Images must be uploaded as they should appear, meaning they cannot be re-sized once uploaded. If you're image doesn't fit, you'll need to crop/edit/resize it with your own image editing tool (e.g. Photoshop, Monosnap, Snipping Tool, etc.) and upload the edited image file. Check out the article on image design standards to learn more, or reach out to your organization's graphic designer for assistance.

Step 5: Add a project description

Click inside the Description box to add description content. You can add any elements you want with the content editor that appears. This allows for text, headers, and links. It's best practice to keep the description relatively short, and limit the use of tables or large images – you can add those to your project in the Project Questions & Dynamic Content Section below!

Step 6: Project Questions and Dynamic Content

You will create your engagement activities here on the Page & Survey tab:

You can opt to add a sidebar after you create your project if you choose.

Click the Add Question button to view the question menu & select a question type:

Check out the full list of engagement activities you can add here!

Need some inspiration? Click the yellow Examples Library button to search existing questions and copy them to your project.

You can edit a question or change the question type (single answer, matrix, comment, etc.) at any time by clicking the gear icon.

Click the black Add Content button to add text, images, and/or video to supplement the engagement activities.

To edit a content box, simply click inside the box. If it's text you'd like to add, just start typing. The WYSIWYG rich content editor will appear, allowing you to modify text, and add images, links, or video content.

Be sure to click the blue Save Changes button that appears in the bottom right.

Check out our article on adding images to content boxes.

Add a step (optional)

To make your project multiple steps, Click the plus symbol to the right of Step 1 at the top of the content area. You can change the name of your step(s) at any time.

You can also add documents, youtube videos, meetings, and other assets to your project by clicking the Add Other button:

Project arrangement

You can change the width of engagement activities, content boxes, or document boxes with the plus ➕ and minus ➖ buttons.

You can also reposition them to change their order.

Just hover over the 3-lines in the top left corner until your cursor becomes a crossbar, and drag and drop the box to the desired location. 

Note: full width boxes will take up an entire row (default), while smaller boxes can share a row. This space will be made smaller if a sidebar is enabled.

Step 7: Preview your Survey

On the right you will see the View live site button. This opens a new tab so you can preview your page. This is what the published page will look like to the public.

Step 8: Before you publish, test your survey

Want colleagues to give you feedback or take your survey for a test drive? Share the login-free access link with them! This feature is only available when the project is in Draft mode.

Click the Share login-free access button. This will open the project in a new browser window. Copy the link and share it with your test group. Anyone with this link can take the survey before you publish it.

You can clear all project views and responses before you go live.

Step 9: Publish (Go Live)

Click the Publish project button:

Congrats! Your project is LIVE! 🚀

Now you can opt to list or feature your project on your Engagement Hub (if enabled,) as well as schedule a close date to stop collecting responses for this project.

You can always come back and manually close this project by clicking Close project to responses.

Step 10: Sharing your project's URL

You can see all URLs, including custom URLs associated with the project by clicking the dropdown menu to the right of the View Live Site button:

Alternatively, you can click the View Live Site button and copy your project URL from the browser window. Note the number in the url bar – it’s unique to this project, and it's how participants will find your project. (pid=yyyy, or

You can also create a unique URL or "shortcode" to customize your project, or build a as many custom links as you need to create versions of your survey in other languages.

Once your project is complete, copy your link(s) and share it with your participants!

You can also embed the project into an existing website.

Tips & Best Practices:

📝 If your project is in Draft mode, don't forget to click Publish Project when you are ready to go Live.

🔘 Test responses will be counted in your project metrics! If you want to start fresh after sharing login-free access for testing purposes, be sure to clear all project views and responses before you go live. Otherwise, you can delete individual responses on the Participants tab (meaning people you know were in your test audience.) Blue responses mean you've already answered this survey (your answer choices), and thus cannot respond a 2nd time from the same device or IP address.

🖥 If you're testing the survey yourself, it's best practice to open it in a private or "incognito" browser window after making further changes, or clear your response data. This will give you a "blank slate" & allows you to see the survey as a participant would, rather than as you would while logged in as an admin.

📋 If you need to add paper survey responses, use the data entry button under the Meetings & Offline tab to add participants' responses individually.

↩️ Need to make a change? No problem! Nothing in the system is ever set in stone.

🤯 If you get stuck, don’t get frustrated! Click the little chat button on the bottom right to talk to one of our customer support team members or email us at

Want more? Check out our step-by-step Academy course:

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