Transform a group into its compact values

Turn a checkbox group into a single element for crosstabbing, etc

Updated at November 10th, 2022

Protobi's "Compact" transform allows you to transform a  group of elements into a single element  with multiple response values.  This works with discrete values like 1 or [6,7] but doesn't work with means. 

This works with any  group that is compacted to set of "top-box" scores, but the most common uses are:

  • Combining checkboxes into a single list of all selected items, or
  • Combining rankings into a single top-ranked items. 

Reasons this can be useful are to:

  • use the combined element as a banner in crosstabs,  
  • use alt/option+press to select multiple values as "Or" constraints, 
  • apply custom sort orders or formats  to responses.


Below is a group of checkbox questions that has been compacted to 'Yes' (see  Compact to: Checkbox example for background) .  

In this example, 79% of respondents selected "Extended release" and 27% selected "Tough/durable design". Each item is an independent element corresponding to a distinct column in the dataset. 

In the data, each column has values 1 for 'Yes' indicating the checkbox was selected, and 0 for 'No' otherwise.  For illustration the first item is expanded to show 79% selected the first item and 21% did not.

This view is fine for many purposes. But the group Q8v1 cannot be used as a banner variable as it is a collection of elements.  

Also, because each item is a separate element, Protobi will interpret presss  filters on multiple items as "And" constraints.

Transform to compact

Press the group's square edit icon and choose "Transform..." from the context menu.  This will bring up the dialog at the top of this tutorial.   

Select "Compact (squash)" from the dialog and select "Hide children", then Press "Ok". 

The element will now appear as a single distribution with each item as a response value.   Because multiple items may be selected, the percentages may sum to more than 100%.

Use the transformed element as a crosstab banner

Q8v1 in its untransformed state cannot be dragged to another element (ex. Q10_1) to create a crosstab. After transforming to compact, Q8v1 can be dragged to Q10_1 and its children (variables) will appear as banners. 

Make "or" instead of "and" queries

In a compacted group of checkbox questions each child element appears as a collapsed variable. Alt/Option+Press ("or" query) does not work between different elements. When pressing on the variables to filter, you are performing an "and" query. 

Below, Q8v1 has not been transformed to compact. We are filtering for respondents who checked "Extended release" AND "Easy to use daily":

By transforming the group to compact, the group is treated as a single element and "or" queries become possible. 

Below we are filtering for respondents who checked "Extended release" OR "Easy to use daily":

Note: The bars for every variable will turn yellow when any are chosen as a filter because the entire element is constrained. This is standard behavior, however the bars are noticeable here because in groups of checkbox questions respondents can check all that apply.

Apply custom sort orders

Another reason to transform a group to compact is to customize the sort order and response labels.

After transforming to compact, each child element becomes a value for which you can edit format and sort order. 

Remove the transform

To return to the original state, bring up the Transform dialog again, select "None" and de-select "Hide children".

When you select a transform to compact, by default Protobi will hide the distributions for the child elements. 

See related

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