Calculated variables

Create derived variables by writing functions optionally using other variables

Calculated variables allow you to define and calculate new answers based on other answers present within the flow, by writing simple functions that are evaluated within Formsort.

Common uses of calculated variables include:

  • Formatting answers

  • Capturing conditional logic that cannot be easily expressed

  • Performing math on numbers or dates

Calculated variables behave just like any other answer: they can be used for conditions, templated into most text, and are sent to your analytics and integrations.

Adding a calculated answer

From the Variable tab, select Calculated variables, and click Add calculated variable...

Variable type

Sets the expected data type that we are expecting the calculation to return: string, number, or boolean

Is array?

If Is array? is enabled, then we will expect the response to contain multiple answers.

Getter function body

The Getter function body contains the Typescript code function body for the calculated answer.

For example, the following getter function body will result in the date 6 months from the current date:

// Getter function body
function myFunction(): string {
  const today = new Date();
  const d = today.getDate();
  const future = new Date(today.setMonth(today.getMonth() + 6));
  if (future.getDate() != d) {
  return future.toLocaleDateString();

To use existing answers within a getter function body, add the answers as variables. The following calculated variable will calculate the length of the answer variable labelled first_name

The myFunction() { ... } part of the getter function body is auto-generated and cannot be modified.

For more examples on creating calculating variables, see Useful calculated functions at the bottom of this page.

Optional Variables

If any of the parameters to myFunction are optional, such as in the case of API variables that may or may not be passed in, make sure to check the Optional field next to the variable.

If a variable that is not optional is not passed to the function, the Getter function will not execute correctly!

When are calculated variables evaluated?

If a calculated variable has no answer dependencies, it is evaluated at the time that the flow loads.

For calculated variables with dependencies, by default, calculated variables are only evaluated once all of their required (non-optional) input variables are defined. If any of the required input variables become undefined, the calculated variable is cleared.

Imagine the following calculated answer, which uses the javascript Math.max function to find the larger of two numbers, and we'll call largest_number:

// Getter function body
return Math.max({{number_a}}, {{number_b}});

If only one or none of the input answers are defined, largest_number will remain undefined.

number_a: undefined
number_b: undefined

largest_number: undefined


number_a: 17
number_b: undefined

largest_number: undefined

Only when all of the input answers are defined will the calculation occur.

number_a: 17
number_b: 48

largest_number: 48

For calculated variables with optional dependencies, the calculated variables will be evaluated before the optional dependencies have a value, and will then be re-evaluated whenever an optional dependency receives a value, such as in the case of a responder providing a value for an answer variable.

Blocks advancing from current step?

Calculated variables are handled asynchronously, and the default calculated variable configuration does not guarantee that the variable will be available by the time answer payloads are submitted. For instance, if a calculated variable finally receives the dependencies it needs on a step that will also send a payload (see submission frequency), the user might advance past the step before the calculated variable has time to finish it's calculations and attach the result to the payload, resulting in a seemingly missing calculated variable.

Enabling Blocks advancing from current step? in the configuration menu of your calculated variable will prevent the user from advancing past a step until calculations are finished processing. If no calculations have started yet (i.e. not all the dependencies are in), the step will not wait for the variable and the user will proceed. This ensures that calculated variables are present as the user proceeds through the flow, which helps to prevent logic errors down the line, and maintains data fidelity in the answers sent to your endpoint.

Conditional evaluation

For more control over when the calculated variable is evaluated, you can set a condition using Is conditional?

When using conditional evaluation, you must take care to handle undefined answers within the getter function body.

Using the above example of largest_number, we could add a condition using Advanced logic to run the calculation whenever either number is defined.

// Condition for either number_a OR number_b being defined
  "$or": [
    "number_a": { "$exists": true },
    "number_b": { "$exists": true },

Now that we're evaluating the calculation even when the inputs are undefined, we need to change the getter function body to handle this case.

// Getter function body
if ({{number_a}} === undefined) {
  return {{number_b}};
} else if ({{number_a}} === undefined) {
  return {{number_a}};
return Math.max({{number_a}}, {{number_b}});

Re-calculate on load

If a calculated variable was calculated in a previous session, and the responder returns to the flow, the default behavior is not to re-calculate the answer.

To always recalculate the answer on load, enable Re-calculate on load. This is useful for situations when calculated variables are not idempotent, meaning that repeated invocations do not result in the same result, such as answers depending on the current date or time.

Useful calculated variable function examples

Get age from DOB

We can calculate a responder's age based on the date they enter for answer variable patient_dob in this example.

function myFunction(patient_dob: string): number { // readonly line
  const ageDifMs = - (new Date(patient_dob)).getTime();
  const ageDate = new Date(ageDifMs);
  return Math.abs(ageDate.getUTCFullYear() - 1970);

Calculate amount of days from today

Using this function, we can calculate the amount of days that have (or will) elapse from a date before or after today.

function myFunction(user_defined_date: string): number { // readonly line
  // turns dates (user_defined_date, today) into ms
  const date1 = new Date(user_defined_date)
  const date2 = new Date()

  // one day in ms 
  const oneDay = 1000 * 60 * 60 * 24

  // calculates time difference between two dates, in ms
  const timeDiffInMs = date2.getTime() - date1.getTime()

  // converts ms to days
  const diffInDays = Math.round(timeDiffInMs / oneDay)

  // return absolute value of the number
  // prevents negative number returns 
  return Math.abs(diffInDays)

Check responder answer against a list

This function will return a boolean true/false value, based on whether or not the responder's answer to State is included in a list.

function myFunction(State: string): boolean { // readonly line
  const ineligibleStates = ["DE","HI","LA","MD","MA","NV","NJ","NM","NC","OH","OR","RI","SC","SD","TX","UT"]
   if (ineligibleStates.includes(State)) {
    return true 
  return false 

Calculate BMI

This function requires a height and weight input, and will return a calculation of the users Body Mass Index.

function myFunction(
  height_ft: string, 
  height_in: string, 
  weight_lbs: string
): number { // readonly line
// Convert height to meters
const heightMeters = (parseInt(height_ft)*12 + parseInt(height_in)) * 0.0254;
//Calculate and round
const bmi = Math.round(parseInt(weight_lbs) * 0.45359237 / (heightMeters ** 2) * 10) / 10;
return bmi;

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