Creating Custom Fields | SalesJunction|Web based CRM for Small Business

Creating Custom Fields

The ability to create your own user-defined fields is one of the powerful and versatile features you can use to customize the system to your exact requirements. The system enables you to create custom fields which can be Text fields, Numeric fields, Date fields, Memo fields, Checkbox fields, and Drop Down List fields.


Administrator Authority Required


The creation, changing, and deleting of user defined fields is performed in the System Setup module.  If your user profile is setup with Administrator Authority (SysAdmin), the Setup link will be displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the display screens next to the My Settings and Logout links. If you do not see the Setup link, then your user profile does not have the authority to access the system setup screens.


Accessing The Settings For: User Defined Fields


Select the Setup link at the top of your screen. The System Setup Screen will then be displayed. In the submenu titled Customizable Settings, there are four menu options that relate to creating user defined fields. They are: Detail & Edit Pages, Custom Contact Flds, Custom Account Flds, and Custom Opp Flds. (Note the Pro Edition also includes Custom Case Flds).



There are two (2) main steps to creating custom fields:


  • Step 1: First, you create the field or fields you wish to add by defining the type and size of the field or fields. (The menu options: Custom Contact Flds, Custom Account Flds, Custom Opp flds, and Custom Case Flds are used for this purpose).


  • Step 2: Next, you revise and update the Edit and Display screens for the respective system area where you added the fields. For example, if you add custom fields to the Contact area, then the Edit and Display screens for Contacts need to be revised in order to show and edit the new fields you just created. (The menu option Detail & Edit Pages is used for this purpose).


Creating A Custom Field Example:

In the example that follows, we will add a new field to the Contact database, then edit the system’s display screens to include the new field.


STEP 1: Define & Create Your Custom Field


First we select the menu option: Custom Contact Flds. The following screen is displayed:



This screen lists the user defined fields that have already been created for the Contacts database. As shown above, there is currently one user defined field: Newsletter_YN.


We will add another field, so next we select the New Button. The following screen is displayed:



For our example, we will create a checkbox type field called ASampleField. We enter this name into the Field Name box, but we also add the suffix _YN to the name of the field.  Doing so notifies the system that the field will be a ‘checkbox’ field. (Likewise, if we wanted to create a field for a custom drop down list box, the suffix _LST would have been added to the end of the field name, i.e. ASampleField_LST).


For the example, we edit the rest of the information as follows:



Checkbox fields store either a ‘N’ or a ‘Y’, so the length of the field is set to 1. (If you were creating any other type of custom field, you would want to set the length to at least the longest length of the information you will store in it).


The Description should indicate what the field is for – in the example above we have over simplified the description, but you should enter a description for the field that will help you remember how the field is used or what is being stored in it.


To save the entries, click the Finish Button.


The system returns to the list of user defined fields, note however, the screen now contains the text message that the Database needs to be Regenerated.


When we need to regenerate the database, as shown in the screen below, we simply click on the Regenerate DB Button:



After selecting the Regenerate DB button, the system presents an information screen to confirm the action. As indicated below in the sample information screen, it’s important that other users should not be accessing the database while the update takes place.



To acknowledge and proceed with the database regeneration, select the Apply Button. After the database has been regenerated, a status screen will be displayed:



Select the Finish button, and you will be returned to the updated user defined field listings as shown below:



After creating the new field, the next step is provide a way for users to view and/or edit the information for the new field. This means editing the page layouts the system uses when viewing and editing information. Select the Close Button to return to the System Setup Screen.


If you had created a custom field that was for a dropdown list (_LST type), after regenerating the database, you could begin to enter you own list items for the field.  See the topic: Adding Items To Custom Drop-Down Fields for more information.




STEP 2: Update & Customize The Edit and Display Pages To Show Your New Field


Next, select the Detail & Edit Pages menu option. This displays the following screen:



For maximum customization capability, the system utilizes separate page layouts for the displaying of information and for the editing of information. There are separate layouts for the Contacts, Accounts, Opportunity and Case databases. You can begin customizing the screens in any order, but it is usually good practice to begin with the ‘Edit’ screen first, then the ‘Display’ screen second. This lets you get a screen up that you can enter data into (Edit screen), which will help you later when testing your Display page since you’ll have some real data in the new field to view.


In our example, we’ve added a new field to the contacts database, so the next step is to revise the contacts edit screen to display the new field information. In the section titled: User-Defined Edit Pages, select the Edit Contacts Button.


The system provides a full featured page editor as shown below:



We will be adding the new field next to the department information, so we simply click on the location where we want to add our new field, and then click the icon. A listing of fields is then presented for us to select from – as shown below:



In the example above, we select the new field we just added: ASampleField_YN, and then click the Insert HTML Button.


In the screen detail below, notice the field definition has now been added to the screen:



Next, we simply reposition our text cursor to the front of the database field, and use the common text editing commands to add the Sample Field: text to the screen:



To save the changes, click the Save Page Button.




Next, we will update the display page layout. In the section titled: User-Defined Display Pages, select the Edit Contacts Button.


As before, the system provides a full featured page editor as shown below:



We will be adding the new field just below the Newsletter field, so we simply click on the Newsletter text, right click the mouse to bring up a context sensitive menu, and select the Insert Row Below menu option as shown in the screen example below. (Note how we also have the optional grid lines display turned On to see the table more clearly).



After the row is inserted, we select the cell below Newsletter and type in the ‘Sample Field’ text description.



Next, we click the cell to the right of the new text description, and then click the icon. A listing of fields is presented for us to select from:



The field: ASampleField_YN is selected, and then the Insert HTML Button is chosen. The new field is inserted into the page layout as shown below:



If needed, use the font, size, format, and style options to customize your layout, or to match the style and format already in use:



You can find out what format options are being used for other parts of the screen by simply clicking on the location and viewing the settings.


When finished, click the Save Page Button.


The new field and the updated display and edit screens for the contact information are now ready for use.



As you begin to tailor the system to your own needs, you can remove fields that you do not use from any of the edit and display screens. There are, however, a few fields that should NOT be removed from the screens. They are: the Account ID field, theOwner fields, and the Name fields (contact name or opportunity name).  If you remove these fields, and try to use your edit or display pages, you will receive an error. (However, if you do delete them, you can easily put them back on the form again).



Custom Field Suffix Listing. The following field name suffixes can be used when creating custom fields:

_YN is used to designate a checkbox style field.

_LST is used to designate a drop-down list box style field.

_PH is used to designate a formatted phone number field.

_CONT is used to designate a field with a pop-up window containing the Contacts for the respective account.

_ACCT is used to designate a field with a pop-up window containing a listing of Accounts in the system.

_USER is used to designate a field with a pop-up window containing a listing of your users.



Be sure to view the Flash Tutorial for creating user defined fields too. It’s available on our website in the Support section – which you can always get to by just clicking on the Help link.