Basic Use Question re: applying category combos to data elements after the element has already been created


I’m setting up a new instance and starting from scratch. I’m also a novice at setting these up. My core issue is in my data-entry form. If I create a Data Element and apply it to a data set first, and then later decide to add a category combo (as a “dis-aggregation set” i.e. Gender => Male, Female) the categories do not show in the Data Entry form for that data set. Why is that?

What if I needed to add a category combo/set far in the future, is it not possible to edit that?

I have a feeling I am likely missing a larger concept and should be using something differently.

Any help is much appreciated. I am not at a total impasse as I can simply recreate the data element and apply the cat combo on creation and am fine. I mostly want to understand the reasoning I am experiencing this issue so I can avoid it in the future and to mitigate if I need to edit/update an element’s cat combo (disaggregations) in the future.


Hi @chase.freeman,

I am not so familiar with cat combos but this kind of “not reflecting changes” can be rectified by doing CLL (Clearing the browser cache, Logout and Login). Have you tried it? if not, please do a CLL and check.



@MSP is correct - you nearly ALWAYS have to refresh your browser cache after ANY change to meta-data.

In some cases I have found you might have to force cache updates all along the “channel” data takes from server to client machine: for instance use Data Administration->Maintenance->Clear application cache, or flush the nginx cache (if using nginx), etc. When all else fails, restart your server (seldom required as a result of meta-data changes, but it’s been the solution of last resort for me a few times).

In fact, if you are setting up a new system and making lots of such changes - but presumably have little data yet - then consider turning caching off.



@Calle_Hedberg & @MSP thank you both for your inputs! I apply your advice today and update after.



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@Calle_Hedberg, I had to restart my server for other reasons this morning so I’m not sure if that helped. However, I think I pinpointed the issue:

When I update a data element’s category combo and that data element is already assigned to a data set, the data entry form does not reflect the category change.

To rectify, I have to remove the data element from the data set, save, and re add the data element to the data set.

I am assuming this is expected behavior because I have repeated it many times now with different sets and elements. I think I understand why that is happening (the relationship and updates between the tables) but wish it wasn’t so :slight_smile:

Thanks for your assistance!