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Poll Everywhere: Polls (Responding)

Resources in support of your use of Poll Everywhere, a dynamic "audience response system"

Responding To Polls

Ways to respond

There are several ways an audience can respond to polls:

  • SMS text message responses
  • Web responses via the presenter’s custom polling page
  • Web responses via private link

The presenter can decide which ways the audience is able to respond to polls. To do this, open the poll you would like to change. Select “How people can respond” on the right side of the poll to expand the menu. Check all of the ways you would like the audience to be able to respond.

Choosing Presenter Session vs. Keywords

There are two response modes you can use to allow the audience to text responses to polls: Presenter Session or Keywords.

Presenter Session allows your audience to use short responses like ABC, 123, and True/False. The audience must first text your username to the number shown on the poll to join your presenter session. After they’ve joined your session, they can simply text in their responses (e.g. True, A, or Yes) to all the remaining polls in your session, for up to 24 hours.

Presenter session MCP

After your participants have joined your session, they can respond to an open-ended question by simply texting. There is no need to enter a long code with each response.

In most cases that involve a live presentation, Presenter Session is the way to go. It is available to all users on all plans, including the free plan.

The alternate method is Keywords mode. Keywords mode allows audience members to enter a unique auto-generated code for each response. This 6-7 digit code will be displayed on the poll. Keywords are special, because they do not require the poll to be active for your participants to submit a response.

Keywords MCP

You can also choose to use a reserved keyword, like HOUSE, instead of a code, if this feature is included in your plan. Note: While Keywords mode is available on all plans, reserved keywords are only allowed for premium paid plans. Please see our Plans and Pricing Page to see which plans include reserved keywords.

Reserved keyword

Keywords mode is better for polling that may not be conducted live. Each response option has a unique code that can be texted, without having to follow along with the presenter.

Presenter Session and Keywords modes only apply if your audience will be responding via text; web response options will be unaffected.

You do not have to commit to Presenter Session or Keywords for your entire presentation, or entire groups of polls. You can decide, poll by poll, which mode to use. Here is how to set it up:

  1. Log into your Poll Everywhere account and go to your My Polls page. This is the page that lists all of your polls.
  2. Click on the title of the poll to open to the live chart
  3. To the right of your poll, look at “How people can respond.” If you want people to respond by text message (SMS) then select the appropriate checkbox
  4. Once this has been selected, you will have the option to choose Presenter Session or Keywords. Presenter session or Keywords

Presenter Session: The Details

Before participants can begin to respond, they must first join your presenter session by texting in your unique username custom PollEv page to the number listed on your poll. Audience members do this just once at the beginning of your session. For example, if your custom PollEv page is, your audience will need to text johnsmith to the number shown on your poll (usually 22333 in the US). They will receive a text message informing them that they have joined John Smith’s session.

Join session

After the audience joins your presenter session, they will text the letter corresponding to their response (A, B, C, etc.) to the same number as before. You can choose whether the options are labeled ABC, 123, or True-False by clicking the drop-down menu under Presenter Session, in the “How people can respond” panel. On certain plans, you can also customize the ABC labels with custom keywords, such as ‘Blue’ to vote for blue.

In order for responses to count, you must have activated the poll. You control which poll is accepting responses, by controlling which poll is activated. If you have not activated a poll, your audience will not be able to respond.

Participants who have joined a presenter’s session will stay logged in to that session until texting “leave” or after 24 hours of inactivity

Keywords: The Details

If you wish to substitute a reserved keyword for the auto-generated response codes, you may need to upgrade your plan. Keep in mind that all reserved keywords come from the same globally shared word bank. This means you may only reserve keywords that are not currently in use. You can usually resolve this issue by adding a number or letter, such as HOUSE1 instead of HOUSE.

You can assign reserved keywords to your poll response options while in the Edit menu of each poll. This menu can be accessed by clicking a poll’s Edit link on your My Polls page or by opening a poll and selecting Edit on the bottom right side of the poll. You can also click the ‘Customize code’ link under the Keywords option on the ‘How people can respond’ panel.

Reserved keywords: step 1

In the response code column, you can type in the custom keyword you would like to reserve for each option. The system will tell you if the keyword is available.

Reserved keywords: step 2

If you are not able to type in a keyword, it means you are on a plan that does include reserved keywords and will need to upgrade to use this feature.

Premium keywords are special reserved keywords with three characters or less. They make responding even simpler, and therefore are in high demand. Premium keywords can be reserved for $5 each, subject to availability, with a minimum of $25 per order. Email our sales team for more information.

Your custom response page

The easiest, most elegant way to respond to a Poll Everywhere poll or a survey is on your page. The audience visits your presenter page from a browser on any web-enabled device, and responds to the polls as you activate them. Because it works with any browser, this response option is recommended for international audiences who may not have appropriate texting and long distance plans.

On certain paid plans, you can customize your page from the Settings page. Your username must be alphanumeric and between 4-15 characters. To access your Settings page, click on your current username and then click the link for Settings.

Access your Settings page

In the box after ‘’ type in the word you would like to use as your response page. This word will also be your username. Many presenters choose usernames that are concise and relevant to their presentation. If it is available, it will be your username and response page for as long as you have an account, or until you choose to change it.

For example, if John Smith were setting up his own response page, he would type ‘johnsmith’ in the box after, and his audience would respond to his polls by visiting

When you activate a poll, your page automatically updates to show the poll that you activated.

Web responses without a custom polling page

If the presenter is using keywords the audience can still respond Once there, they type in the keywords or codes that are displayed on the poll instructions. This works for multiple choice polls and open-ended polls.

Q&A polls, Ranking Polls, Clickable image polls, and Surveys all require the presenter’s PollEv/you-username response page.

SMS text message responses

Members of the audience can respond using SMS text messages from any cell phone. Standard text messaging rates apply, which means that some participants may have to pay their carriers for text messages (e.g., if they do not have unlimited SMS text messaging plans).

  • Multiple choice poll: The participants send a text message to the number displayed on the poll instructions (22333 in this case). In Keywords mode, the text message should contain the code or keyword associated with the answer they choose. In Presenter Session mode, the text should contain first the presenter’s session name (username), and then a short ABC/123 response for each subsequent poll.

Multiple Choice poll texting

  • Open-ended poll: The participant sends a text message to the number displayed on the poll instructions (22333 in this case.) If you use Keywords mode, the text message should contain the code or keyword that corresponds to that individual poll, followed by their message. If you use Presenter Session mode, the first text message should contain your username, followed by their message. Responses to subsequent open-ended polls need only contain the response message, in Presenter Session mode.

Open-ended poll texting

The audience can SMS text their responses to polls, even if they are not based in the United States. We provide a list of countries where we believe the SMS text option will work, and a list of our various international phone numbers. On the page, there is also a way to test for yourself whether responding by SMS text works in your country.

Clickable image polls, Q&A polls, and Ranking polls do not accept text responses. The presenter must have a response page to use these poll types.