REDCap: eConsent - Formatting Tips

Adding pictures, videos, links and using HTML may be helpful in your eConsent to provide additional information for your participants and to make it more visually appealing. However, formatting does not always work when an instrument is converted to a PDF format. The eConsent Framework will create a PDF once the survey is completed.

It is HIGHLY recommended that you test your eConsent as a survey and then view it as a PDF to ensure items render appropriately. Then make changes as needed.

Below is a list of examples with additional information on what will or will not appear on the consent form when rendered as a PDF.


Length of Descriptive Fields

Sections of your eConsent form should be kept short to ensure the PDF renders appropriately. If a descriptive field is too long, the text will run over onto a second page of the PDF and the header & footer information will be lost on that page.

If you have a long section of text, it is recommended that it be split into 2 or more descriptive fields.

Formatting Long Field
Example display of long Descriptive field on a generated PDF from REDCap 

Formatting Long Field Close Up
Example of long descriptive field writing over and covering header and footer text in generated PDF


Images will render on the PDF when set to 'inline image' within a descriptive text field.

Each image should be uploaded to a separate descriptive field.

Formatting Examples Picture
Example of Descriptive Field images rendering on generated PDF


Tables created using HTML, Field Embedding and Shazam will not render on the PDF, but a picture of a table will.

If your consent form includes a table, it is recommended that you create the table in Word and then take a screenshot/picture of the table and save it as an image file. Then upload the image to a descriptive text field.

Formatting Table
Example of using an image as a table instead of generating an HTML table


Videos will not render on the PDF.

If using a video in your eConsent form, they cannot be uploaded as a video file (e.g. AVI, MOV, MP4, etc.). A video link is used instead and must be available on a website with an accessible URL (e.g. You could include the URL in the field text so participants can view it on the PDF at another time.

Formatting Video
Video links will not render on a PDF.  If video needs to be referenced, consider adding the link as text in a field. 

HTML - Bolded, Color, Hyperlinks, Bullets, etc

HTML is very helpful in creating a finished looking eConsent survey for your participants, but those HTML elements will not render on the PDF.

HTML elements may include bolding, color, headings, hyperlinks, bullets, etc. This includes any items that are altered using REDCap's Rich Text Editor.

If you need to include a hyperlink to another website or a staff contact email, it is recommended that you include the actual URL or email along with the text used as a hyperlink.

Formatting HTML Examples
Example of HTML not being included in final PDF output

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Keywordsredcap, format, tables, pictures, video, eConsent, consent, bullets   Doc ID107525
OwnerAmy S.GroupSMPH Research Informatics
Created2020-12-03 09:48:58Updated2024-04-02 07:52:02
SitesInstitute for Clinical and Translational Research, SMPH Research Informatics , SMPH Research Informatics TEST
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