Presenter session vs. Keywords

Helpful tip: Before you read on, it might help you to know that most presenters will accept responses using presenter session. Presenter session and activation is the default response mode for all activities made on new accounts, and it is the best method to use in most cases that involve a live presentation. The information in this article is here to give you more insight on keywords, and a high-level overview of the two different response modes. Explore the other articles in this section for more specifics about ways people can respond.

Presenter session and Keywords are two modes that you can use to accept responses to multiple choice and open-ended activities. The main difference between these two modes is that Presenter session requires activation, whereas Keywords does not. This difference creates two distinct workflows for responding. These two response modes primarily affect how participants submit responses to questions via SMS text messaging.

The response mode is set on each multiple choice and open-ended activity individually, so you have the freedom to chose whether to use Presenter session or Keywords on a question by question basis. While both Presenter session and Keywords are available to all users they do contain features only available with a paid plan.

Presenter session vs. Keywords

Presenter session

Presenter session utilizes Activation to identify the activity that is accepting responses. Your Presenter session is identified by your username. Presenter session keywords and Custom keywords are only relevant on multiple choice polls.


Keywords mode will allow your participants to submit a response without joining a session or requiring the activity be active. You can enable Keywords under the Text messaging option of the How people can respond menu. Enabling Keywords will immediately attribute Keywords to the activity.

Keywords work fundamentally the same for all response methods. Participants can respond to a Keyword activity by text or on . On a multiple choice poll, the participant will simply submit the keyword response of the answer option. For open-ended questions, participants respond by submitting the keyword followed by their response in the same message.

Helpful tip: Even though Keywords do not require activation, an activity can still be activated when Keywords are enabled. Activating an activity with Keywords enabled will display the activity on your response page.

What is a keyword?

A keyword (lower case k ) is a code that participants use to submit a response to an activity. There are a number of different types of keywords, and it’s important to note that keywords are used in both Presenter session and Keywords response methods. Here is a quick overview that can help you differentiate between types of keywords, and determine which is right for your activities.

Free users

Presenter session simple keywords: Short keywords like ABC, 123, or T/F that will identify the response options on an active multiple choice poll. You can select simple keywords using the dropdown menu next to the Presenter session selection in the How people can respond menu.

Keywords: Keywords (capital K) are randomly assigned 5 or 6 digit numbers that participants can use to respond to a multiple choice poll or open-ended question.

Note: Keywords are generated as needed, not permanently assigned. If the Keywords you were assigned become disabled (i.e. if the activity Locks or you switch over to Presenter session), you will be assigned a new set of Keywords when you re-enable Keywords on the activity.

Custom keywords: Allows you to modify your Presenter session keywords on a multiple choice poll. Custom keywords must be alpha-numeric, and they are not case sensitive. This feature is available on all paid plans.

Reserved keywords: Allows you to define your keywords in Keywords mode. Reserved keywords must be longer than 4 alpha-numeric characters, are not case-sensitive, and must be unique across the entire Poll Everywhere system. Since Reserved keywords are finite, they are only standard on our most premium plans.

Premium keywords: Similar to Reserved Keywords, but may be fewer than 4 characters long. Premium Keywords are in very short supply, and can only be obtained through our Sales team.


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