Improve Email Validation in Qualtrics Forms

I received a Qualtrics form submission where the email field, which is supposed to be required, was left blank. The customer emailed me shortly thereafter about the situation. She let me know what email address she tried entering, but the form kept saying it was invalid. Well, the address she sent should have worked. Therefore, I needed to look into why it didn't and figure out how she was able to submit the form without entering an email address.


The email field was added as a block of fields. The field type is under Text Entry > Form (see Figure 1).

Qualtrics screenshot showing the Form option for the Text Entry question type
Figure 1. Form Option for Text Entry Questions

To help prevent bogus addresses, I clicked the "click here to edit form fields" link and set the email field's validation to Valid Email Address (see Figure 2).

Qualtrics screenshot showing the option to validate email addresses
Figure 2. Valid Email Address Option

I also used Custom Validation to make sure the email, name, and a couple other fields cannot be empty (see Figure 3).

Qualtrics screenshot showing that all fields are required
Figure 3. All Fields Are Required

Solution for "Blank" Email

The good news is that Qualtrics does prevent the email field from being blank. However, it does nothing to prevent a space character from being considered a valid email address. So all a user needs to do to bypass email validation is to enter a space.

To prevent this from happening in the future, I updated the Custom Validation shown earlier. The email field is now set so that it cannot contain the space character (see Figure 4). Note that I typed a " " (space) character in the text box to the right of the "Does Not Contain" drop down.

Qualtrics screenshot showing how to prevent emails with spaces from being accepted
Figure 4. Custom Validation to Detect Spaces

Solution to User Error

I am not entirely sure what happened with the email address the customer was trying to enter into the form. It worked fine during my tests. However, I was able to get the address to fail by adding a space before or after the email address.

Since the space character is difficult to see, I wanted to display an error message as soon as one is typed into the email field. So I added a new Descriptive Text question with the message I wanted to display. I then used In Page Display Logic (see Figure 5) so the message only displays when a space is typed in the email field.

Qualtrics screenshot showing the Display Logic for space character message
Figure 5. Display Logic to Detect Spaces


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